I had a little mental scuffle with my oldest son last weekend. I was trying to impart wisdom to him and he was emphatically doubting my ideas—with tears. I lost the skirmish; it turns out that his ironclad grip on delusion and his sad little face were stronger than my years of experience.
It got me thinking though about the things that I have learned over the course of my many years that my kids are convinced they know better about. I made a handy little list that I can stow away and pull out in 30 years to show them that I was right all along.
1. Being edited makes you a better writer. Being edited can also feel like the worst thing in the world, but it almost always improves what you produce. This is the scuffle I had with my son last weekend. I'll give you one guess as to who was editing whom.
2. Sleeping in is awesome! One of my kids sets his alarm clock for 6:30 on weekends so he won't accidentally squander valuable lying around time by sleeping. The other two have no need for alarm clocks, waking naturally at ungodly times of the morning. I don't know when kids finally learn that it is a crucial part of life to pursue sleep at all times and all costs, but I wish it would happen already.
3. Napping is awesome! See above.
4. We know you're awake in your room after bedtime reading with a flashlight. We're okay with it. In fact, as long as it doesn't go on too long, we encourage it.
5. Time goes too fast; don't try to rush it. Even if you want your birthday or Friday to come faster, you should enjoy being young. Trust me, you'll be an adult before you know it and you will miss all of those random Thursdays that you wished would go faster.
6. Even if you are given the opportunity to eat a whole bag of cookies, you probably shouldn't. There are very few instances where an entire bag of cookies is a good idea. To be honest though, it took me a long time to learn this one.
7. Enjoy school. My youngest son gets sad a lot because the school day is so long. If only he knew how much more fun school is than all of the stuff you have to do as an adult.
8. You will grow up to shake your head in embarrassment about the silly things you are doing now. I hope my kids' future selves don't feel too silly though because they are the most charming human beings I've ever met. (What they should really shake their heads in embarrassment about is the way they are going to act during college.)
9. It is worth enduring discomfort to experience something wonderful. That photo up there is of my husband trying to explain this to one of my sons. The something wonderful was a walk around Alcatraz in the San Francisco Bay. The discomfort was a gale force wind. My kiddo eventually agreed to go for the walk—after I gave him my coat. Proving my point, I still had a lovely time.
10. How can I be so old and wise and yet they still get their young and adorable ways more often than I care to admit—but I am willing to let them hate me for my decisions when it really matters? Oh, that's right, it's because parents will do everything in their power to make their children happy and successful.
Jean, a.k.a. Stimey, writes a personal blog at Stimeyland and runs an autism-events website for Montgomery County, Maryland, at AutMont. You can find her on Twitter as @Stimey and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Stimeyland.