How I longed for an older woman to mentor me as a young mother, but found none. So I struggled to figure out mothering for myself. Radical — that was me. I would parent better. I would do it “right”. Such folly. But that’s the folly of new parents — no matter what age.
My point? Recently, I entered a thread on Facebook regarding a young mother’s plea for advice about how to teach history to her second grader. History to a second grader? Did I read that right? Indeed, I did.
Thus, as an experienced mother, grandmother, homeschooler and educator, I, of course, stated my opinion along with the others. A plethora of suggestions streamed in. However, for some inexplicable reason, one of the mothers who posted targeted my post. What was my suggestion, you may wonder?
Here it is: “From my experience, the most important areas on which to focus at this age are reading and basic math. This is the foundation on which all other learning is built. All else is fluff. However, if you feel you must include history, reading biographies to your daughter is a good way to introduce history. After all, that’s what history is about, the people.”
Well, my dear readers, “fluff” apparently struck a chord with this young mother because her second-grader is a history buff. (Yes, you read that right. An 8-year old history buff.)
“Who made YOU an expert!?” she demanded.
Hmmm, did you read the word “expert” in my post? Do decades of teaching, parenting and grandparenting make me an expert? You tell me.
What makes an expert anyway? Perhaps experience?
Then about a week later, I experienced another similar incident. It concerned the developmental stages of babies. Once again, I expressed my views. Once again, I hear the same stabbing remark, “Who made YOU an expert?”
Hmmm. Did I claim expertise? No. Does raising several babies make one an expert? You tell me.
Experience and age accomplish wonders in a human being. First, we learn that we don’t know much about the great mysteries of the universe. You know ... God and such. Then we realize that we actually do know quite a bit about people and the careers/hobbies we honed for decades.
On this end of life, we experience the privilege of looking back. We realize that we didn’t know much as we were raising our families, but we tried our best with what we knew and who we were at the time. That’s all a person can do.
However, now we realize that we would do some things differently. Maybe many things. Through the process of living — struggling, failing, succeeding, struggling, failing, succeeding — we gained experience that young and new parents lack.
Admittedly, there are always exceptions. Those people who never learn from their mistakes. Who steadfastly trudge on in their narrow-mindedness. Nevertheless, for many, we have acknowledged our folly and learned our lessons in life.
My point? Why not heed the advice from one’s elders? Why not glean from our wisdom & knowledge? Young parents, you have nothing to lose, but much to gain.
“He who keeps the company of wise men [and women] will himself be counted wise.” — Proverbs
What makes an expert? You tell me.
Terri White is a veteran homeschool mom from the ’80s and ’90s and is the founder/director of T.E.A.C.H Cleburne. She
can be reached at teach