(At campsite Monday morning)
I am now old enough to use the phrase, “back when I was your age” a lot more than I thought I would. Camping this week is again bringing those words to my lips.
Yes, I am camping in a tent…outside….and this time no one forced me. It was actually something I thought of on my own. And I am enjoying it more than my hard head will ever allow me to admit.
This morning as I walked with my son to the water faucet so we could wash our hands and face I handed him a bar of soap and said, “do you know how to use a bar of soap?” I wasn’t being sarcastic. It occurred to me that in his lifetime he has used body wash for bathing and liquid soap for hand cleaning. Bars are from “back in my day”.
It is during times like these that I find myself trying to provide him life lessons. Because we have very limited electricity (enough to power my lap top and phone this time) we have talked a lot about how things were when I was growing up. I have also offered a few stories I remember my parents and grandparents telling me about when they were growing up. One of my favorite from my mothers memory was a time when a war was going on and the city required everyone to turn out all the lights as a drill for possible air raids one day. My grandmother wouldn’t turn out the lights because she had an infant. My mom told me how the police would come by and urge the requirement. While those stories mean more to me now than when I was “his age” that is when I heard them.
I assume they were stories with hidden meaning by my parents because they saw how much I had (more than them) and hoped I didn’t grow up being a spoiled brat taking advantage of things. When I was in elementary school learning spelling I was privileged to do so through the fun technology of the Speak and Spell. My mother had to learn standing at a chalkboard with a nun at her back. It wasn’t until I was a mother of a child learning in far more advanced ways than I that I could ever understand the hidden meaning of those stories.
In the curriculum I continue to work on and implement with my clients I talk a lot about the generation gap. I believe it is important to understand our family dynamics in order to understand ourselves better. In doing so I find that recognizing the differences in generations of the family to be significant. I certainly live in a different world than my mom when she was 41 and my son lives in a different world at 9 than I did at that age. Without recognition of those differences, I will fail to understand the people in my family, thus, failing an ability to communicate with them…..which will lead to the success or failure of our relationships. It is simply summed up in the adage, “don’t judge another until you walk a mile in their shoes”……
Even if he rolls his eyes behind my back, I will continue to tell him the stories and hope some will stick.