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Worthwhile Wisdom: A Reflection on Generational Learnings

Posted By Amanda Slichter | she, her, hers , Friday, November 30, 2018
Earlier this week in a departmental meeting, a thoughtful colleague led a beautiful check-in for the team. She asked everyone to share something they learned lately from someone of a different age than themselves, suggesting that viewing things from a different generational perspective can be eye-opening. 
Folx shared revelations from moments with their infants, insights from preteen angst, and advice from wise grandparents and family friends. I was stunned by the warmth and knowledge that filled the room. You could feel people relax a little and refocus their day. There was so much love, and the wisdom was genuinely profound. 
For me, the learning moment that I shared came from my mother-in-law. Although her children are much older than my tiny four-month-old, the lessons are pretty consistent. No matter what quirky, over-protective rules I share regarding her granddaughter, she patiently responds with a knowing smile, “You’re the parent.” Someone isn’t allowed to hold her? A request to sanitize her hands for the 43rd time? “You’re the parent, what you say goes.” It sounds like a small thing, but for a woman who is insecurely learning how to develop confidence as a first-time mom, it means everything to have a more experienced mother assure me that somewhere deep down I DO know what’s best for my kid.
I’ll admit, age is a facet of identity I’ve given much less thought. I often have a hard time relating to people much younger or older than me. But that check-in activity reminded me of something I’ve been repeatedly taught by our field of work— spending time with people who are different than you is always worthwhile. 
This isn’t a long post, and certainly isn’t groundbreaking. We know this already. Sometimes we just need a reminder to listen, reflect, and value the experiences from all walks of life. I certainly did. 

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