Thursday, January 6, 2022

We teach each other always


New to me in 2022, I am joining a community of writers who offer a little window into their spiritual lives on the first Thursday of every month. (Thank you, Denise Krebs, for connecting me with this writing circle.) Margaret Simon kicks off this year of writing with a post about 'one little word' that will guide her in the days to come; her post provides links to other writers' words. Here's my post this first Thursday of January 2022 . . .

Today finds me lost in thought, with one small yet wonderful 'trigger' memory; let me share:

Mom took one look at the bland-looking, soft, pureed pile of novelty that I had set out on an appetizer tray with some crackers and vegetables, and wrinkled her nose a bit, as if debating whether or not to try it. She saw me glance her way and then quietly commented, "Well, if Maureen put it out, then it must be good, so I'll try it."

This was circa 1990, when my mother dared to taste hummus for the first time, at a get-together at my house. I don't recall whether she liked it - it certainly wasn't anything she purchased at the grocery store ever, even once, but I do remember being so amused by her self-talk that day. As if I had ever convinced her of anything! I figured she was trying to "save face" in front of her young grandchildren, to do the right thing - eat what was served.

What did I teach my parents? Seriously, I wonder. 

When I was teaching, I learned amazing things from the children. 
Those preschoolers - oh my, they taught me 
all about having confidence and how good it is to take risks, 
how dancing makes you feel better, 
how if you are feeling it so strongly, then let your feelings out!

When I am with my granddaughters, I have a new lens on their father, my son. It makes me smile to see how they are changing him, in both subtle and clear ways. I'm not surprised to see him pitch in, to be a true partner in the work of raising children - he always likes to be busy, to do stuff, to get things done. He's always been very organized. I think I'm surprised by how the children bring him out of his quiet reverie. He's a very introspective person; yet, with the girls, he is laughing and chatting, seemingly at their beck and call. To see him be so present, to be playful and to guide them, honestly this is not the little guy I raised. He was the center of our universe (for 2 1/2 years, before the universe expanded, hahaha) and we did our best to be 'present' with him, but not necessarily vice versa. When he was growing up, he was always lost in thought, thinking about other things, 'on a mission' to figure something out. Those girls are changing him, I have no doubt - they are his mission now.

I think about how my boys changed me. 

I think they helped me to speak up in times of conflict. I learned to do it under their watch, because speaking up was not a welcome trait when I was growing up. I most certainly did not debate or argue with my parents. With my boys, I wanted a different style of parenting - and they certainly gave me lots of practice on resolving conflicts with more of a give and take, both parties discussing the problem. They most definitely kept me playful. They taught me to see things more broadly, more diversely - three kids, a spouse, oh my, there were always at least SIX perspectives, right? One more than the number we were?

They definitely taught me to treasure my quiet alone time. (I'm a lot like my son, I like to have time to be lost in thought every day.)

I don't know what made me think of this today. I hope my Mom learned about more than hummus from me - ha! I wonder what my Dad learned from me? 

I know learning is often presented as something the younger, less experienced person receives from the older, more experienced. Teachers know it doesn't always work that way. We are always learning from our students. We know - we learn -  the more challenging the student, the more eye-opening the learning. 

We affect each other, all the time. 
Every moment. Every word. Every step. 

What are people teaching me today?
What are others learning from me?


  1. Such a good topic to reflect on, what others teach us and what they learn from us. Welcome!

  2. I love that you brought up this thoughtful topic. I learn from my students every day. Like you, I am watching my own children become parents. I am learning so much from them. Thanks for joining the roundup today.

    1. Thank you, Margaret! I know I am learning so much from watching my children as parents.