It’s plain to me that we humans cannot understand the point of view of other human beings until we “walk a mile in their shoes” I think it holds true for almost everything. A person doesn’t understand Japanese cuisine until they eat it for the first time, no matter how much it’s described to you. Especially those big old flames that shoot up from those Hibachi grills!
It especially holds true for a person’s point of view as they accumulate years.
My Mom was 20 years older than me, my Daddy was 22 years older. Barely a generation. They were youngsters when they had me, just as Paula and I were youngsters when we married and had children.
I remember looking at them as a little child, and they were my whole world. Everything that came to me, came through them. My food, my clothes, my toys. Everything. They seemed to me as a four year old, which is as far back as I can remember, as almost super human. As I grew older, of course that point of view changed.
As an older child they seemed less super human, and more authoritarian. Always telling me what to do, and when to do it! How irritating that sometimes seemed to me. I didn’t care if it was a school day, and my bedtime, I didn’t think it was necessary to put that comic book down, and go to bed. But, there were consequences if I didn’t obey, so I put down the “Spiderman” comic book and jumped under the covers.
As a teenager, I thought I knew it all. I can’t remember when I learned it all, but I thought I knew it. I didn’t think Mom and Dad were right about anything. I didn’t think they knew much about life. Heck, who were they to tell me I couldn’t stay out past midnight? Who indeed?
As a young adult with children of my own, it seemed to me that Mom and Dad got a little smarter again, somehow. The advice they gave me about the kids was pretty accurate, especially the parts about how to handle them when they were misbehaving! And then, as my children grew into teenagers, and into adulthood and had children of their own, I looked back with new eyes at my parents. I looked back with more respect at how well they had handled my upbringing and that of my brother. I looked back with admiration at the help they had lent me, and the love that they had unselfishly given me…for free.
Now, as I sit here and watch the wind blow through the trees, and the rain start to fall in sheets from the sky, I am just now beginning to understand their viewpoint as “older” adults, as “senior” citizens. I don’t feel any differently then I ever have really, but I think that’s because time creeps up on us so incrementally that we don’t notice the changes that it causes until we walk by a mirror, or start to get up from flat on the floor after helping your little three year old granddaughter build a “block tower” Then you notice.
I just have to whisper a thanks into the air sometimes at night to those folks….thanks Dad and Mom. I appreciate it.