This month on YAOTL we are talking about getting schooled. I immediately started to think about all the times I've been fairly and unfairly put in my place. And then, just last night, my husband and I were watching an episode of Parenthood called Sore Loser and it was full of people being straightened out by someone else. Particularly entertaining was one of the Braverman grandkids, Sydney, who had never learned the art of losing. Over the course of the episode Sydney discovered you can't always win and when you can't, you need to be gracious about it. But she wasn't the only one learning something, her parents also figured out that they'd made a mistake in never letting her lose to start with. The temper tantrum scene, outside Sydney's bedroom door, is fabulous.
Thinking about that episode and realizing that I've had my own personal learning curve across the span of my life, reminds me that "getting schooled" is never reserved for just the young--to be handed out by the more experienced--even though with age there often comes wisdom.
More often than not, the act of getting schooled, reminds me of a Mobius Strip--one side, one edge. Just when you think you're leading the way, you learn that you're actually following someone else. It's a never ending story.
When you teach or you have children of your own, or even when you're writing for them, you realize they come into the world, knowing very little and needing lots of help. The number of things I find myself having to break down into a flow chart for my own kids, sometimes feels mind blowing. They didn't know how to brush their teeth or cross a road or play Monopoly. And those were some of the less complicated things on the learning curve list. They also didn't know how to bury two grandfathers, change schools unexpectedly midyear or lose a beloved pet.
So when you begin to understand what impressionable blank slates children are, it's easy to lose sight of how frequently they DO know things that we can learn from. I'm often astounded at how often I'm in the middle of some adult meltdown moment and my kids look at me and suggest that I'd be a lot more mature if I simply handled things like a child. They are usually right.
I need that some days--we all do.
It's a Mobius Strip--you can't be a great leader without knowing how to be a great follower. You can not be an impactful teacher until you know how to be a student. You can not be heard until you know how to listen.