Monday, January 29, 2007

Growing Up

At what point does one feel grown-up enough to be an expert at anything?

When I was a teenager, I obviously knew EVERYTHING. (That fact is still discussed in some philosophical circles, but we are not debating that today.) ANYWAY, I have a "history", if you will, of knowing it all. Then I became a working girl. Yes...I had the difficult challenge of working at Anthony's department store one summer. I was hired as a department head of the lingerie and accessories department. (My intelligence was SO obvious that, from day one, I was in charge of putting pantyhose on the shelf according to the color-coded diagram. NOT an easy task, my friend.)

At the tender age of 19, I realized that with age comes credibility. (Granted, I was VERY "in-the-know" about anything and everything, but for some reason, this isn't always accepted from a teen.)....(Y'all know I'm being sarcastic, right? Kinda!) I decided that the best age to be...the age to where one is seen as an adult was the age of 21. I mean, you can legally buy alcohol....that means maturity, right? WRONG!

After 21 came and went, I decided that SURELY 25 was the magic year. FINALLY! I'm 25, I'm not some young-whipper snapper. I wasn't living with my parents. I had been married for 4 1/2 years and I was gainfully a copy company, but I made good money...for back in the day.

The age of 25 lasted only a year (as they usually do) and I still felt like I had no business sharing my wealth of knowledge, my pearls of wisdom, my wit and my talent. One day, when I was about 27, I went to see an "expert" on some such nonsense....the "expert" was 25. WHAT?!?!? HOW CAN YOU BE AN EXPERT WHEN YOU ARE YOUNGER THAN I AM? I know the logic is a bit jacked-up, but I still feel the same. On Friday, I am officially old. (Well, it's the number that I decided MUST be old....I don't feel old, but since I stated it SO long ago...and I was....ahem...AM so smart, then it must be). I will be 36. *sigh* Old enough to be an expert, right? OK, whatever.

I had a teacher training yesterday. I had 13 (well....supposed to be 13, 2 couldn't make it) Sunday school teachers come to the church at 8 in the morning (early for some, but they showed because I told them to) and listened to me say things like, "You need to remember to check in." "You must do this, and you should do that." I even taught on the 5 love languages. I SPOKE like I KNEW what I was talking about.

Last night, I was talking to hubby. I said, "I see older women" (of which I'm officially a group) "who impart their sage advice and it is GOOD! They need to be listened to." Then I asked, "At what point did they feel that that was their place? When do they become an expert?"

I guess if it comes from experience and training, then I have to be in. I've been married for 15 1/2 years and I have 4 children. I'm a teacher (not just in my desire...I mean a certified teacher), so I know how to get a class of 35 kids under control.

SO....happy birthday to me. May the words that I speak exhort and lift up those who happen to think that I am an expert.


Anonymous said...

Was this a shameless plug to announce your birthday???!! Ringo told me it was your birthday! Happy Birthday again!

Mommy Spice said...

Well Happy Birthday to you!! I'm cringing that 38 comes this summer for me. Even with a college degree, 10+ years of teaching experience, many years of ministry experience, motherhood...foreign adoption under my belt...I still wonder what I'm going to be when I grow up. Do we ever feel "old enough?" I hope you have a great birthday!!

Anonymous said...

Interesting observations on age.

I've been doing some reading on "older women" from a Biblical perspective and thus far have concluded that what makes one eligible for that designation is the fruit evidenced in one's life.

My sister and I once had a "lively" discussion about this topic and she asserted it was Biblical that older women teach the younger women. Well, of course the Bible says that. I told her I believed an older woman, Biblically speaking, must earn the right to teach me.

It was early in my Christian walk when I said that and though I said it with a degree of obnoxiousness and unteachability in my voice, I still believe that but hopefully the attitude has eroded somewhat. If a woman is 60 years old, has raised kids that couldn't wait to get away from her, and has little control of her impulses and emotions, she really has nothing to teach me. "Experience" doesn't always cut it.

On the other hand, I have met a woman in the group you speak of who is about 15 years my junior, yet I esteem her wisdom and maturity in the Lord so that I opened myself to correction from her if need be. (I'm 43.)

Titus 2 outlines proper behavior for older women and the decree to instruct younger women.

I do feel a responsibility to help any younger woman as instructed by scripture and I must admit it is a daunting thought process to ask myself if my lifestyle is worthy of emulating.

My "fruit" would be a happy marriage, respectful and successful kids who, at 16 and 19, haven't rebelled and still attend church.

But if someone watched my every move, would I still be eligible for membership in the Biblical "older" women's club. Whew! It's a challenge I hope and pray I can live up to. It's one that I think is sharpened with accountability.

The "older women" in my life are my 90-year-old mother-in-law, who definitely earned the title and a dear friend at church in her early 70s and believe you me, she has corrected me a time or two! LOL!

Happy birthday and many, many, many, more!