“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
— Mark Twain
How true is that?
Of course, it’s not really the “old man” who learned all those thing. It’s the individual he brought into the world who’s climbed the learning hill.
Most of us have had similar experiences with our parents. Dad and Mom were dumber than dirt when we were kids. Then at some point, a miracle occurred. For me, it came around the time of my 25th year.
I was a new parent at the time myself. The younger of my two sons had just been born. My wife and I were seeking our way in the world. We couldn’t really know, of course, where our journey would take us. It’s taken us to plenty of places. We’ve been able to see and do many things we never dreamed of doing when we both were kids.
But right about the time I started my own on-the-job parental training, I began to realize the difficulty that my parents went through to rear my sisters and me. And I began to realize they weren’t so dumb after all.
This wising up happens to most of us. When it does, benefits are spread all around.
Mom and Dad seem smarter than they were. You definitely are smarter than you were. The shared wisdom accrues to everyone.
The greatest payoff of all is when you realize on these days when we honor our parents — such as Mothers and Fathers Day — that you’ve done your job well.
The journey my wife and I have taken together for the past nearly 44 years has included watching our own sons grow into fine men. Did they think of us the way ol’ Sam Clemens and I thought of our parents? Sure they did … and although neither of them ever articulated as such to either of us, it’s part of growing up.
That’s OK. We’re all past that now.
They’ve made us proud every step of the way.
All of us have gotten smarter, too.