May-June 2010 Selected Content
Publishers' Notes - Helen Hegener
Learning From My Kids
Parenting is really all about becoming a much better person, learning and growing along with your kids
I've often claimed that I've learned much more from my kids than they ever learned from me. It makes sense mathematically: there are five of them and only one of me. It makes sense because they've grown up with some amazing tools in their lifetime, such as computers and DVD players and cellphones, which they seem to feel quite comfortable with while I can barely make them function. It makes sense because their knowledge and information sources long ago outstripped what I grew up with half a century ago. I remember getting dizzily excited about my first calculator, for gosh sakes, when calculators were still something new and special and important.
My kids have taught me how to send text messages and program my TV to tell me when a program I want to watch is coming on. But my kids have also taught me how to look at life, and living, and what's important and what's not, and how to tell the difference.
It hasn't been easy for them, because I haven't always been a willing student. I came of age in the heady sixties, in a generation which was certain it had most, if not all, of the answers. We might have nodded appreciatively when Dylan said they were 'blowin' in the wind,' but no, really, we knew the answers to life's questions. Or at least we know how to find them.
I was probably among the worst, because I was a writer, and writers have a certain edgy need to have answers. But over time, my kids have made me see that I certainly don't have as many answers as I once thought I did, and in many cases I'm no longer even sure of the questions.
I mentioned in my opening that I've covered this ground before, so I'd like to share a little of something I wrote many years ago about what my kids have taught me:
"They taught me that life makes us all learners, and that while some of us learn easily, others learn with more difficulty. They taught me that it's okay to skip knowing something. They taught me that there will never, ever be enough time to learn everything I'd like to learn, to do everything I'd like to do, and that's how it should be. My kids taught me to listen with an open heart, and to see without making judgments. They taught me patience, and perseverance, and persistence , but they also taught me to know when to quit. They taught me that love does not bring conditions with it, but just is, and they made me a much better person than I'd have ever been without them."
I think being a parent is really all about becoming a much better person, learning and growing along with your kids, developing a perspective that can only come from parenting, and finding questions and their answers along the way. I see the process continuing as I watch one of my sons learning from one of his own kids.
We are all teachers, students, tutors, pupils, leaders, learners, gurus, grasshoppers.
© 2010, Helen Hegener
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