Why Bother Learning From the Experienced?
Although it has been said that experience is the best teacher, I would like to rephrase that particular statement. I agree that we do learn from our experiences, yet I wonder if learning from the experienced, is a better way to master a skill.
I once had a friend named Mary. She was at least twice my age. I met her when I was in the throes of raising teenagers. She, on the other hand, was a widow. Her children were grown and her grandchildren were teenagers. I met Mary at church and even though there was a great age gap between us, we were drawn toward friendship.
Mary lived in the neighborhood and welcomed my random drop in visits. Morning, afternoon or evening, whenever I rang her doorbell, her front door always opened wide to me. She would clap her hands, and smile. Not only did she love having company, she most always had time to sit and visit. Sometimes we plopped in her comfy living room chairs propping our feet on the coffee table. Other times we ate cold sandwiches and drank iced tea at the dining room table. If I visited on a Saturday morning, we took our coffee to the back porch swing and sat, admiring the view of the distant mountains while sipping our steaming cups of espresso. I counted on Mary to make room for me in her life and whenever I showed up at her doorstep, she did exactly that.
What I liked most about Mary was that no matter the particular trial I told her I was enduring with my teens, she could enlighten me with one of her stories. Experiences with her own children gave her a treasure trove of wisdom that she generously and willingly shared with me. Already well versed in the ways of adolescents, she knew the ropes well.
Her well grounded and respectable adult children had once been teenagers too, she told me. She also assured me that all adolescents have similar characteristics. They think they know it all, use selective hearing and show great disdain for any adult who tries sharing an inkling of common sense with them. With a wide knowing grin, she related, “Your sons are not acting out of the ordinary, but they are calling for extraordinary love and patience from you.” How right she was.
Mary was a well seasoned mother and lived to tell of her trials of training up her own youths. With great fondness, she could look back at the season she had once lived through and offer her perception to another mom of teens. Listening to Mary helped me to skip out on attendance at the school of hard knocks. Instead, I gleaned the skillful wisdom of someone with experience.
Why bother learning from the experienced. As a novice, it might be worth connecting with the well versed. We just may find them to be better tutors than just the experience.