Can you remember as a child or teen thinking that your parents were old and out of touch, and they didn’t know what they were talking about? I know I sure can. As a matter of fact, I know first hand how it feels saying to yourself, “This is exactly what mom and dad said would happen if I did something dumb or stupid.”
Oh, if I just had those many embarrassing moments, classroom timeouts, speeding citations and groundings to do over again, I’d do what mom and dad said to begin with and avoid putting myself in those situations in the first place. I can even remember the point in my life when the lights of common sense and reality finally came on. I can remember suddenly realizing my parents weren’t old out of touch people trying to rule my life, but they were actually people who loved me and only wanted to help.
I finally realized they were the people who had the battle scars and years of experience; the people who had been there and done that and the people who got the T-shirt for all the mistakes and regrets made in their lives. Being an adult means opening your eyes and realizing that life doesn’t revolve around you. Life offers lots of opportunities from which to learn from. One crucial part of growing older and wiser takes all human beings listening and looking out for one another. Just because someone tells you something you don’t understand or don’t want to hear, doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.
And to the young children and teens out there who think getting older means getting dumber, hear this. Getting older may mean slowing down physically, but it has nothing to do with slowing down mentally. Just because your eyes get older and the wrinkles in your face get deeper, doesn’t mean you can’t see any clearer. Seeing and realizing things clearer and sooner doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with vision. Getting older normally means getting wiser and seeing and understanding situations clearer because of life experiences.
Things don’t necessarily get worse with time. Like wine, wisdom comes with time and experience. Take time to listen and learn from someone with wisdom and experience, especially from your parents. They may not be able to get you there quickly, but they can get you there in one piece.
In closing, coach John Wooden, the former coach of the men’s UCLA Bruins basketball team, used to tell his team “to be quick, but don’t hurry.” Take time to smell the roses. Going 1,000 miles per hour will only cause you to miss many of life’s experiences and lessons.
Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.