You’re growing up right before my eyes. I’m sure every parent can relate. It seemed like just yesterday that you were just a baby and now you’re headed off to middle school soon. Before I know it, you’ll be driving (egads!).
I know what it’s like to be a teenager. Believe it or not, I was once one myself. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience as a teen in the hopes of preparing you for this transition.
Teenagers (Think They) Know Everything
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. I was a know-it-all teenager once. I know what it’s like to think that your parents were absolutely clueless. As a teen, you have such clarity when it comes to, well, everything. Once you’ve got that 13 or 14 years of experience under your belt you suddenly see the world from a new view. It’s as if you’re on a mountaintop and you can see everything below you.
You may not realize it (you know it, though – you know everything) but your parents understand this as well. We know you know everything. That’s why we ask you so many questions. Questions like:
- Where were you after school today?
- Is your homework done?
- When is your assignment due?
- How are your grades in science this semester?
- Who did you send 10,234 text messages to this month?
I know they’re annoying questions. But, unlike you, we don’t know everything so please bear with us as we learn from you.
My Teenage Epiphany
I remember it like it was yesterday (I just turned 40). I was 18 years old. I was just about to graduate from high school. I was standing in the foyer of our house, getting ready to leave to go to work. I was talking to my dad about an upcoming trip that I was going to be taking to Europe as part of a foreign exchange program. It would be the longest I’d be away from home in my entire life.
My dad was bestowing some wisdom upon me about spending money for the trip. At that moment, my brain just froze.
Something happened. I looked at my dad; he looked the same as he always did, but I saw him differently. He wasn’t stupid after all. He was actually rather wise. The stuff he was telling me about making sure I carried some cash but not too much actually made sense.
Holy s*#@, my dad knew what he was talking about all this time and I was just now realizing it?
Knowledge vs Wisdom and Understanding the Differences
My dad was wise. He knew a lot about a lot. From the age of 13 until I was 18, he would provide me with unsolicited advice and I would often scoff and proclaim, “Geeze, dad, you just don’t understand!” The truth is, he probably understood (me) better than I did.
Now, later in life I find myself calling my dad all the time asking for advice. Even if I don’t agree with his advice, I appreciate it. I know that his advice comes from years of experience. That experience has turned into wisdom. Children won’t always follow their parents advice, and that’s okay. Sometimes you need to make your own mistakes to truly learn a lesson. But just remember, your parents are smarter (and more knowledgeable) than you give us credit for.