When to step back

When I was a teenager, Dad wanted me to learn how to drive the old 2-stick Mack dump truck so I could haul gravel for road making. I was shown how to shift without using the clutch. The gravel pit was on the lower property. While hauling 10 ton of crushed rock up the hill, I never got over second gear. I’m sure I could have walked faster than I was driving. At least that is what it felt like, but Dad didn’t say anything, though he could handle the truck much better than me.

After I got married and had children, Dad’s example of letting me learn became a model for me. There were so many times when my children wanted to do something themselves—but it would have been much faster, cleaner, more efficient, and easier if I’d done the job myself—so I’d think of Dad.

I didn’t want to close that window of time when children happily want to learn. And, the more I let the children learn how to do new activities and skills, the better I got at being patient and the longer that window of wanting to learn stays open.

The same tactic goes for adults. I’m still learning and I appreciate everyone who stands back and lets me learn, though I may call on their expertise at some points.

The same goes for my husband. When we first got married, it perturbed me to no end that he was a helpless nincompoop when it came to cooking, cleaning, or laundry. His mother did all the housework, but it wasn’t her fault. I realized, I was contributing to the problem by not teaching and allowing him to learn how to do housework.  We all can learn even when it’s a different times in our lives. And, he now contributes a lot to the household.



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