Sunday, August 29, 2010

Teachable Moments

Not long ago, my dear friend F sent me an email that went something along the lines of:

"I took my cat to the vet yesterday morning to have him de-matted: they gave him what they call a Lion Shave...everything except his tail, paws and head is completely bald.  Of course, I took pictures. Maybe my son will help me get them posted on Facebook.  Or maybe he'll just ridicule me for not knowing how to do it myself.  Maybe that's how we should have responded to THEM when they were little: "OH MY GOD! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GOT A KNOT IN YOUR LACES--CAN'T YOU DO ANYTHING?" Or maybe, "EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW TO DRINK OUT OF A CUP--I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DON"T KNOW HOW TO DO SUCH A SIMPLE THING!"

I thought this was pretty funny until I asked my own college-aged son to help me launch this blog.  Of course, he was too busy, and couldn't understand why I needed help anyway.  After all, kids these days are fully versed in the ways of blogs and the Internet, and have little patience for fumbling moms who don't know the difference between a tweet and Twitter.

I decided to share F's comments with my offspring, reminding him that there were plenty of times in the past when I dropped everything to help him tie his shoes or reach a drinking cup.  My logic didn't set well: he argued that I'm an adult who should know how to post pictures, whereas he --at the time--was an innocent four-year-old.

True enough.  But no matter what age we are, we're still learning.  A teacher can be anyone from a grizzled octogenarian to a two-year-old who demonstrates the oh-so-Zen value of staring at ants crossing a mound of moss for a good twenty minutes just when his mom is in a hurry to get to the bank.  We learn from our children, and they learn from us--it's a two-way street. (You needn't wear an orange robe to be a guru--
someone who brings light to darkness--which reminds me of a book I just finished called Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merrulo--great read!) 

Well, my friend did post her pictures on Facebook, and as you can see--with the help of my fabulous son--in the end I did manage to start this blog.  Yes, there are times when we have to buck up and figure things out for ourselves.  But there are also occasions when we should feel free to ask for help, just as there are times when we need to be patient with and compassionate toward people who may not possess our particular nugget of knowledge.  We're all simultaneously teachers and students, no matter our ages. The bottom line is: Nobody has all the answers, and sometimes we need a little help from our kids.


  1. I agree that kids ought not mock their parents, but it's also true that many people of our generation just assume anything to do with computers or the internet is impossibly complex. It's not. Interestingly enough, the elderly have adapted to such things much better than baby-boomers.

  2. Reminds me of a story about a naked fakir who walked down to a stream with his begging bowl to get a drink. Upon observing a dog drinking in the fashion typical of dogs, he threw the begging bowl, relieving himself of his one last possession. No, not advocating we should rid ourselves of all our possessions. The moral of the story is one can learn from any source, including a dog. Of course, having a dear little dog for a constant companion I can attest to this concept whole heartedly.

    Regarding the computer world, my kids are out of the loop. Oh, and you forgot to credit moi for telling you how to post photos on your blog.