Let Your Children Teach You

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

Now, on to my blog:

Father & Son on Tandem Bike

I often get advice from my son who is an adult with children of his own.  He’s bright, and I learn from him. He enjoys counseling me, and I enjoy our interaction.

No matter how old your children get to be, it’s hard for a parent to switch from the teaching mode into the learning mode.  I’ve heard parents say to their adult children something along the lines of “Don’t tell me; I’m your father (or mother).” What does that have to do with hearing sound advice?

I suspect that what’s really going on is a power struggle. The parent doesn’t want to admit that their child may surpass them in any way. It’s also a sign of aging which so many distain–passing the baton when a child is old enough to be the adviser to a parent. But the flip side is that it allows the aging parent to have an adult-to-adult relationship with their child. This scenario can be extrapolated to any relationship between an aging person and a much younger person whether it be an aunt/uncle relationship with a niece/nephew, a boss-employee relationship regardless of which person is in which role, and so many others.

What a wonderful gift to receive at this stage of life. Embrace it! Be grateful for it! Don’t push it away just because your ego becomes a little bruised or you don’t want to give up being the pack leader.

It’s also a wonderful gift to your child. It lets him/her know that you admire them and have confidence in them when you listen to and/or accept their counsel. What an empowering experience for a child to know how much they’ve succeeded in their parent’s eyes. What a boost to their self-confidence. That’s probably one of the things they crave the most.

Remember to thank them. Remember to verbalize how proud of them you are. Too many parents forget to do so. Be aware of the gift you are giving each other. Not all parents get such a reward in the later stage of their lives.

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6 responses to “Let Your Children Teach You

  1. Sheila Sauber

    Good one! Just sent it to a friend back east with A note to read it. I think her daughter doesn’t speak to her because she doesn’t want her help or opinions….wants to run her life her way. My very capable friend needs to respect that her daughter Can plan a Bar Mizvah without mom taking over! We offer advice because we’ve lived longer, but they Really don’t need us, Saw a new Prius commercial. What happened to YourS which I thought was so good? Are you due Any more money from showings I missed? Sheila

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. The only thing I know regarding the Toyota Prius commercial I was in is that it got over 1,600,000 hits on YouTube. I don’t know if that’s all they plan on showing it, or if they’ll show it on regular TV stations, too. Since receiving the initial base pay, I haven’t received any residuals
    . We’ll see if I do.

  3. I hope u get some residuals, LGG. After that many hits, u deserve some. I really liked this blog! I’ve always wanted my children to exceed my accomplishments. That’s how familial progress is shown. I wrote a song about it called “Pass the Baton”. The chorus is:

    I’m going to take my place.

    I’m going to run the race.

    I’m going to carry on.

    I’m going to pass the baton,

    Pass it on.


  4. Ruth Phillips

    Lee Gale….I don’t agree with you in allowing my children to treat me like a person that doesn’t have the wisdom of age to voice my opinions. Two of my three children invite my opinions and respect them. However, my eldest, a daughter, often dismisses my ideas and gives me the feeling that I am too old to understand the way the world is today,.and that with all my successful background in business, achievements and marriage, that it is the time for me to be old…to be helped down the steps….to rock on a rocking chair…to wait patiently in G-d’s waiting room. I welcome their advice if I ask for it…and only ask for her to respect my opinions and discuss on equal terms our differences. I am not dead until I die!!! Ruth S.

    • In the scenario you described, I agree with you. Being willing to listen to counsel from our children does not mean abdicating our own self-worth or value. No adult-to-adult relationship involves one judging the other and finding them lacking. Mutual respect for each other’s opinions, abilities, etc. is imperative.

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