Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I am old and wise, my children are neither

So, it happened.
Just like I predicted, I turned 50.
That is half a century of roaming this earth, soaking up knowledge and storing it in the vast intellectual vault that is my brain.
OK, I will admit a lot of that knowledge is absolutely worthless. Did you know cockroaches have teeth in their stomachs to break down their food? Now you do.
Just another useless tidbit of information I have archived over the years. I could barely remember the information in a book I am studying, but I do know all bananas have a very low level of natural radiation.
But I am much wiser now that I was 20 or 30 years ago.
There is a difference between being smarter and being wiser.
Smarter will help you figure out quantum mechanics, wiser will help you realize you are not smart enough to do it.
There have been many instances when I have passed my hard-earned wisdom on to my children – only to have it completely ignored.
Not because it was poor advice based on years of experience, but because teenagers know everything in the world worth knowing.
Junior recently bought a truck. A great, big four-wheel drive that is much more truck than he required.
A co-worker asked me why he needed a truck that big.
メHe didn't 'need' one that big, he 'wanted' one that big.”
And to a teen 'want' and 'need' are very often the same thing.
While the truck is in pretty decent shape, it needed new tires before long
Wisdom told me the rubber would be expensive, to which Junior replied, “I know.”
I told him they would cost more than $1,000.
メI know.”
I told him with the bank loan, insurance and his social life, coming up with that kind of money will be hard.
メI know.”
Well, the time has come for the rubber to hit the road and that rubber is going to cost a bundle.
When I mentioned it is almost time to replace all four tires, he replied “Ya, but they are expensive.”
To which I had the great pleasure of responding with, "I know."
My son is very smart, but he is not very wise.
What teenager is, really?
I wasn't at that age.
It has taken five decades to accumulate such a vast wealth of knowledge and intelligence. Well, knowledge anyway, I have never claimed to have an abundance of intelligence.
But I do feel a lot wiser than I used to, so I am growing in that department.
It is a shame you cannot download all that wisdom to your children, saving them from making he same mistakes you made at that age.
Because it is the first time they have done or experienced something, teens think it is something completely new and us 'old people' wouldn't understand.
What the kiddies don't appreciate is us 'old people' have already walked that path, we have already experienced what they are now just discovering.
I am sure my own father wished he could have injected his wisdom into my teenage brain, just like his father did and his father before him.
But before you can be old and wise, you must be young and stupid.
I admit, I took the stupid part to new heights on occasion (well, new to me anyway), but what teen didn't do stupid things in the name of adventure and excitement?
Wisdom teaches you it is not smart to try and jump a barbedwire fence with your dirtbike. Youth says 'Go for it, dude.'
Wisdom also knows new tires for a big truck are expensive, eating fast food several times a week is not good for you, the world will not stop rotating if you do not get the latest and greatest gadget and all sorts of other things that a wise man knows.
Not all 'old people' are wise, and I have some peers who are still making some very dumb decisions. Fortunately, I am now wise enough to not make the same choices.

Copyright 2015, Darren Handschuh

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