Wednesday, May 06, 2009
I have always said that I have learned the most in my life in the school of “hard knocks”. The song from Little Orphan Annie comes to mind, It’s a Hard Knock Life. At age eight I was cleaning floors, cleaning bathrooms in full, scrubbing our bathtub, sink, toilet and floor from top to bottom. On Thursdays I cleaned the upstairs, Friday the downstairs. Our kitchen floor seemed very large, on my hands and knees cleaning it, wiping it from one corner to the other.
I was taught reading, writing and arithmetic but did not have a teacher in what I call “street” smarts. I was quite sheltered as a young child working to fend for myself in a very large family.
Much of what I learned was from trial and error. Yes, I had guidance and rules to follow but some of it did not make sense. When it came to making decisions in my life, I depended largely on myself to make quick decisions in each and every situation. I either sank or swam. If I did not succeed I contemplated the process and learned better ways to do things. I learned what to do and what not to repeat.
Looking back on my life I see that my past decisions have made a large impact on who I am today. If I had not gone through one tough situation or another, I would not have learned the many valuable lessons. Like many of you, I feel I could write a book based on wisdom, on how to avoid unnecessary mistakes, and how to make the most of life as smoothly as possible. I wish I had read such a book as a young girl.
Where are the wise words of today? Many of the youth of these days seem to have the idea that they are smarter than adults. Look at the programming they have received. As a child I watched Leave It to Beaver and Father Knows Best where the father was portrayed as the leader of the family, with the mother showing common sense as well. Our children have been exposed to shows such as Married with Children where the family is dysfunctional with parents that are far from good parental role models. Then, there is The Simpsons whereby the daughter, Lisa, is depicted as quite a bit smarter than her father, Homer. And, the mother, though brighter than he, seems out of control. Do younger generations who grew up with this and other such shows, really feel they are smarter or know better than their parents? Is it worse now than when we were kids?
We, now more than ever, need to take on our responsibility and impart our wisdom – our lessons to those younger. It feels good to help another person to avoid the same kind of mistakes and to make their lives flow more smoothly.
As a parent I have seen the cycle that my children went through, where many times especially through their teens, I thought they did not listen to me. I see them now as kind, helpful young adults and realize they did hear me.
In June of this year I will be a grandmother, this is hard to believe. I still feel like the little girl at my grandparent’s farm helping my grandfather to harvest his vegetables. They were so good. Those were the days. From my grandmother, Helen, I learned that being a strong and skilled young woman would ultimately bring me much happiness later in my life. Now at the doorway of grand-mother hood, what message will I impart to my grand-child?
I will suggest, always be true to yourself and your own convictions. Do not let others sway you and do not feel compelled due to external pressures to do something that you do not want to do.
Remember that the one person that you will live with for the rest of your life is you. You need to be able to face yourself each and every day and be proud of who you are. Love yourself for being the strong, helpful person that you are.
Make it your day, your week, your month, and year to share your wisdom with another. Write that poem, share your story, your inner wisdom that makes you who you are today.
Leave your enlightened footprints for others to learn from and follow.
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