Lessons from a Thirteen Year Old
Funny what we remember. I was a high school freshman visiting my grandmother. She hugged me and whispered, “You’ll never know how much I love you.” I wriggled free, mumbled that I loved her and then asked if I could borrow $20! I recently recalled that moment when I realized that on May 29 my “buddy” Finn turns thirteen.
I’ve had many unexpected things happen in my life but Finn could very well be the most unexpected. One night his dad called in desperate need of a babysitter and I agreed. I had a blast and soon became Finn’s official babysitter. Finn is one of the best things to ever happen to me – for so many reasons.
He’s taught me to be observant. Seriously, I’ve never known anyone who’s found more money on the street than he has! And then there were the times we’d go to a parrot shop and he’d be perfectly still while watching a bird. The parrot and Finn would size each other up and I was convinced they were telepathically communicating with each other.
To look. To see. To pay attention to the ordinary – because there you will find the extra-ordinary.
He’s taught me to take risks. Yes, sometimes he’d fall, hit his head and shed some tears. But then he’d race off to another adventure. He reminds me that hitting your head is part of taking a risk; it’s not a reason to stop taking risks and exploring.
Although I teach and coach, I’m not someone who likes to answer questions. I prefer to ask the questions! With Finn, his questions – about so many things – force me to think in ways I’m not accustomed. He’s taught me that the word “because” is not a real answer.
I’m something of a snob. I prefer to hang out with people who are creative and can turn what is routine into something different. Kids have that wonderful ability and time spent with Finn has never been routine. He’s shown me that even a trip to Gelson’s can become an adventure.
I work with professionals who are wonderfully competent at what they do, yet, over time, they’ve grown creatively constipated, slow to laugh, and woefully un-curious. As odd as it may sound, I think I’m able to help these folks, in part, because of Finn. He reminds me that the secrets to leading a successful life are learned early in life.
Because I’ve taught high school I know that the teen years are an adventure unlike any other. OMG! And so my birthday wish for Finn is that he’ll continue to learn by encountering life head-on, with a full embrace. And, actually, that’s my wish for all my clients.
Please send your questions to JP Reynolds at: firstname.lastname@example.org