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Adulting and Learning the Hard Way....

Now I understand why people older than me would often say, “I guess they will have to learn the hard way.” That phrase used to really bother me. I would fervently encourage my friends and loved ones to follow the “right” way in dealing with a situation, i.e., to learn from my mistakes. Not make their own.

But it doesn’t matter how passionate my attempts, people typically did (and still do) what they want.

I can’t be too upset. Looking back over the years, I realize how I’ve learned the hard way, and it’s been quite effective.

Here’s an example: third grade. I was at a birthday party. We were playing some version of hide-and-go-seek, and my friend – who was also the birthday girl – CHEATED. Righteous indignation welled up within me. So, I resorted to what I thought would take care of the situation: I put my angry arms out and pushed her.

Do you think she wept with remorse before all the other little girls, apologizing for being the cheat that she was and promising a changed life?

Heck no. She pushed me back.

Let’s just say I learned that day that violence is not the way to handle my anger. My parents taught me this for years; but that didn’t keep me from testing the waters when justice needed to be served. I had to learn ye olde hard way and see for myself that my physical fighting probably won’t right the wrong. As a result, I’ve steered clear of violent anger ever since.

I think as we age, it’s important to STILL encourage others to learn from our mistakes and not make their own. But we should also realize that it is sometimes the ONLY way people learn and to keep the “I told you so” stuff to ourselves and give them compassion*. Since we’ve all been in their shoes.

*Thankfully, that’s exactly what the Moms at the birthday party did. They scooped me and my friend up and loved on us and listened and worked out a solution to the problem.

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