03 Jul A Real Teachable Moment
Certain things are best learned at certain times. For example, learning to speak is best learned, say, between ages 2 to 4. I don’t know the exact numbers but an amazingly high percentage of our vocabulary is typically learned during these years. However if for some reason a child does not learn to speak during these opportune years, learning to do so later on is possible but much more difficult.
Last month I opened the topic of the family life cycle (to resounding crickets!) but even at the risk of another silent response from you, I want to follow up on the topic. Each phase of the family life cycle is an opportunity to learn certain things – a teachable moment if you will. As a professor told me, each specific phase has certain tasks to be mastered and, like the child learning to speak, this is most easily accomplished during those specific phases.
Think about it. As a young married couple, what are you supposed to be learning? I’m talking about such things as learning how to communicate effectively, compromise efficiently, make and maintain clear boundaries with in-laws, establish some sense of career and financial goals, and so on. If you master these things during this first phase, then you are much more prepared to move to the next phase I’ll call the couple with an infant child. All you parents know that having a baby throws a learning curve at you that is freakishly steep! Now imagine a couple in that second phase that has not learned to communicate well or set boundaries. Imagine the difficulty they will have trying to learn all about parenting while still learning how to be a high functioning couple. You see my point.
Of course life does not operate in the clean straight line and heaven knows that sometimes the next phase comes along before we have tied the previous one up in a pretty bow. Even then, though the job may be more difficult, we are charged with learning and growing as a person, couple, and family. I guess my point is this. Life is a teachable moment. Sometimes the lessons are learned at opportune times and sometimes learning is more a trial by fire. Either way, the learning goes on. Where are you in your family’s developmental journey? What are you supposed to be learning about life during this phase? School is always in session!