Chances are after you moved out of your parents’ house and started taking care of yourself
you learned some valuable lessons.
After years of being told not to put my hand down into the garbage disposal I had a disgruntled but kind property manager tell me I could as long as I didn’t turn it on while my hand was still down there. I imagine she still tells people about her 20-something tenant saying, “But my mom told me not to.” That was one time I listened.
Parents know how many times they have to repeat themselves before the child realizes the parent might know what they’re talking about. For some it is the number of repetitions, for others it may be a decibel level. My dad likes to tell people, “It is amazing how smart I got after Jennifer turned 25.”
There are just some lessons that are better learned firsthand.
My oldest son knew everything when he was in high school. He was still pretty knowledgeable after high school graduation. It was his first month of college when he learned how much he didn’t know.
One evening I got a phone call from him. “How many times do you scan an eight-pack of Gatorade?” he asked. I paused and may have giggled before I responded with “Just once.” It turns out he had scanned all eight bottles in the package as he went through the self-checkout at his local supermarket.
I taught him several things before he left home but apparently I forgot the one about how to ring up his favorite beverage at the store. I asked him if he went back to get seven more or ask for a refund. He did not. I probably wouldn’t have either. Better to just go back to the dorm and nurse your pride back to health at that point. He really is a smart kid but there are just some lessons that require a trial by fire to learn.
That trial may be knowing how far you can push your truck’s gas gauge past E before the engine is going to die. That was a lesson learned by my youngest son this summer. He’s lucky it died half a block from our house. He’s also lucky the gasoline smell dissipated from my car overnight because he sat the gas can in the passenger seat after he filled it. I’m not one to be bothered if I smell
like a filling station but my co-workers might mind after a few hours.
Learning is a lifelong endeavor and few of us are lucky enough to get several decades to work at it. Anytime my oldest son tries to throw his considerable knowledge around all I have to say is “eight pack” and I get his attention with one try.
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