Sometimes I am absolutely committed to learning the slow, difficult way.

Today I was involved in two separate, unrelated conversations in which I thought or commented aloud that I occasionally miss that part of my life when I used to see things as either/or, black/white, right/wrong– so clearly defined and beyond question– that time in life before I had learned many life lessons. Things were so uncomplicated back then.

I used to have firm convictions about what parenting entailed.  Then I became the parent of a high schooler who had her own priorities.

I used to think there were straightforward solutions to most of life’s problems. Then I faced quite a few complex situations that simply didn’t have a right answer but instead required making decisions based on a what-is-going-to-be-least-awful approach.

I used to believe if you just tried HARD enough at anything in life…  Well, you get the idea… Then I discovered that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t fix a person who was broken, undo words that had been said, or overcome the truly insurmountable.

Those are all lessons I learned in slow, deliberate fashion.  They’ve stuck– believe me!

It’s somewhat challenging to be involved in a casual conversation that touches on lessons you’ve learned the through life’s trials.  You tend to come across as an aggressive zealot, when really, you just know the other party hasn’t learned the life lesson yet and you hope to spare them the time and effort.

But– good for them that they don’t know! They have an innocence in life that few can maintain for long.

Good for them that their parenting experiences have been free of the frustration of intense resistance from a strong-willed child.  Good for them that life hasn’t kicked them in the teeth in the areas of health or finance and left them bleeding and broken.  Good for them that their life has been a series of successes large and small.  I mean it! (Not being sarcastic here.)  Imagine a life that easy… Good for them.

I am okay with my hard-won understanding about some things in life, though.  I can honestly say, it’s made me a much more understanding, less rigid person in my interactions with others who have human failings.

Because, by definition, we all do. We are human. We fail sometimes.

And the world is a probably better place when we all understand that.

 Edit: Ugh. I re-read this morning, and this sounds so negative! The thing is, people were being so critical of parents who were trying hard but not succeeding– in both leadership and finances. I jumped to their defense and am still emotionally feeling like standing right there, ready to take up their cause.  People face circumstances we may never know, and we need to not be so quick to criticize.