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Life Lessons

Every Christmas since my kids were little, my Mom and Dad would write a letter to their 13 grandchildren, who this year range in age from ten to twenty-seven years old. The letter shares with them a series of seven life lessons, which don’t actually change from year to year; in fact, the content of the letters stays much the same.

My Dad starts by asking what they would want kids graduating from Guilford High School to know - the big important stuff - and he collected their ideas over the course of a year or so. He honed them down to what he considered to be of primary importance and in a different post, I will share them with you.

Today though, I want you to think about what your life lessons would be. Mike Regan, who is now Principal at Adams, and was then a Social Worker at GHS, shared with new mentors like me, when I attended the Adolescent Brain Development training for mentors back in 2007, that adults always want to try to save kids all sorts of trouble by offering advice and sharing their life experiences, but what kids really need is to figure things out for themselves.

I certainly see times that kids learn things the easy way and times they need to learn things the hard way. It’s their job to separate from the adults and to form their own identities. And yet I also see times - lots of times - that kids are hungry to learn from adults (particularly those who aren’t their parents) and that they really appreciate the benefits of their mentors' life experiences. I can remember instances of feeling both ways as a kid and I have had both sorts of reactions as an adult, trying to help a kid learn and grow up a little bit. Some of the best lessons have come from taking a leap of faith and more often than not, they’ve worked out fine.

What’s your experience?

Lisa Ott

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