Recently, I consulted my young adult children about a problem. I needed another set of eyes and generational perspective to help me debrief my situation.
Reaching out to each of them felt paradoxical. For so long, I sought to ask questions and offer up guidance as we worked together through unexpected circumstances. Much of the time, my efforts came in the form of sharing wisdom learned from life experience, that bittersweet combination of trial and error.
This time, the tables turned. Since the situation occurred in the midst of working with high school students, I thought that they might have insight that I am missing. In the midst, I thought of a common observation made about the ways relationships between parents and young adults appear to change from their past.
Often, people remark that young adults see their parents become “smarter” as they progress through their twenties. Something happens when you experience “adulting”, that transforms how you understand your new role and the expectations that go with life, in all its wonder and complexities. Obviously, parents do not suddenly gain instant wisdom. But young adult children begin to resonate with and appreciate their parents.
So while there is something funny about that common epiphany of young adulthood, perhaps we, as parents, can flip it the other way. Sometimes we need their wisdom too.