Catching up with my younger sister Jackie the other day, we got to talking about how we learn stuff. The mother of two kids, 10 and almost 7, Jackie knows there’s a fine line between telling kids what to do and teaching them what’s right. Such as:
It’s not good to talk with food in your mouth.
Brush your teeth.
Wear a hat.
Leaving wet towels on the floor makes your room smell.
Put socks on before your shoes.
While these basic lessons may seem obvious to most, there are some adults who never learned them. I’m sure you know a few. Then there are the other lessons, the adult ones, the ones we’re somehow supposed to instinctively learn along the way.
The first time I was pulled over, I was driving Edna, my first car, a blue Chevy Citation. Edna and I had been together only four months.
“License and registration,” said the police officer.
“Was I speeding?”
“Do you know that your inspection sticker expired three months ago?”
I got the car the summer I turned 19, a gift from my parents. Mom said, “Drive safely.” Dad said, “Peek over your left shoulder before changing lanes.” No one said anything about a sticker. And neither did the folks at Driver’s Ed, who seemed only concerned with the dangers of drinking and driving.
As the oldest of three girls I’ve made it my responsibility to pass lessons down to my younger sisters, learned from simply being around longer. These lessons run the gamut.
Never travel on a plane without a scarf.
Measure twice, cut once.
Avoid paying retail.
Some advice my sisters listen to, other times they think I’m just being the bossy oldest child. I don’t think they realize how lucky they are. I wish I had had an older sister to tell me stuff like “Oh that thing? That’ll go away.” How else do we learn if not from the experience of others who came before us?
But the best lesson, the one I’m constantly sharing? It’s that no matter how old we get, we never stop learning new ones.
Have any great life lessons to share? Please do!