When I first saw the CHBM prompt, “What do you wish you were taught growing up?” I wasn’t sure how to answer.
I mean, everyone’s upbringing is pretty much a festering bed of things we felt we missed in our lives; of things that we felt shortchanged in or things that we wished our parents had done for us. In a way, that is what teenage angst is all about, isn’t it? You’re eternally wishing your parents were cool and enforced only rules and regulations that allowed you to be the coolest kid in school, such as "Why can’t my mom make me wear really tight leggings and lots of eyeliner and why can’t she understand that I NEED the big can of Aqua Net and the Gucci watch with the interchangeable face?" (this-was-the-90s-so-shut-up-okay-whatevs)
Some of us probably wished that our parents were more strict in TV viewing or homework responsibilities.
Some of us probably wished we’d learned more domestic tasks, such as cooking better or learning how to mend, darn, starch, press, iron or sew on a button. I was talking to a friend a while back who lamented that she’d never asked her mother to teach her how to make crafty things because apparently her mom can whip up a Scarlett O’Hara dress-type thing out of two sheets of jute. Going through the different responses from the CBHMs, I could particularly relate to Mama Zen’s plaint of not having been taught sports by her dad. Hell, if anything I was taught to fear and despise sports and thanks to my hypochondriacal grandma I was also given a free pass out of P.E. for a few years on account of my "asthma". *wink wink*
The good news, however, is that we can try to fill in those bits of instruction and guidance we think we may have missed bit by bit. There is an inordinate amount of things to learn, and part of growing up and maturing is realizing that we are not bound by our childhood or adolescent selves.
You didn’t learn how to throw a ball? Go join a softball league and learn, or feel okay realizing that not knowing how to throw a ball is one of those things you can do without in your life.
You didn’t learn how to change a tire? There are many community colleges that offer automotive repair and maintenance, so you can get your rocks off with the lug nuts (oo!). Or just accept that sometimes it’s better to pay someone to bail you out rather than get that manicure all dirty and chipped.
You never learned how to mow a lawn? Is that a serious excuse? Really? Okay. You turn the mower on and then you push and pull. Or you put your broken dialing finger in a splint and dial a gardening service and voilà!
You never learned how to control your portions? Lucky for you there are Weight Watchers at every mall in the country, and people there who are happy to teach you how to do just that; plus they also lend support and a shoulder to cry on as well. Trust me: Weight Watchers works. Of course, you may also realize that there is little joy in eating half a cup of anything, and well…. it’s a slippery slope folks.
It’s better to focus on the glass being half-full, on its slow and steady way to being filled with as many good things as you can collect, rather than seeing ourselves and our upbringing as these desolate and deficient times in our lives. Because now that we’re parents we realize that as much as we may want to do everything and teach everything to our kids, it’s impossible to do so.
And sometimes you just don’t want to.