|Mentor I am.|
My father lost a very close friend this weekend, a mentor of sorts, a bit of a father/older brother figure at the same time. My father is a very quiet, private person and this gentleman was much the same. They enjoyed fishing together, and talking about money and politics and the world. It's interesting to find out that, as we grow and age, we never stop learning. I don't think of myself as young, by any means, now that I'm pushing forty... but to see my father at 67 still learning from people older and (at least, he feels) wiser than himself, it's a very inspiring thing. His friend and mentor will be dearly missed, and he most definitely left his mark on this world. As great a man as my father is, I know he feels that he's a better man for having known and learned from this wonderful friend of his.
At the same time, our middle son finally decided to move back home from attempting to live on his own with his older brother and some friends. He has learned a few things while he's been away -- mostly what we all learn, eventually: that our parents are not complete idiots. (Well, most of them aren't.) He came back today and is willing to live by the rules of the house so that he can get back on his feet financially and to start over once again.
It takes a lot of courage to do that, no matter what age you are. Particularly when you're young, because you're so full of the desire to prove others wrong, and to do what you want to do and make it work no matter what. Life often has other plans, however. I remember being the wisest teenager on the planet, absolutely certain that the "man" who asked me to marry him when we were sixteen and seventeen would be the man I would spend the rest of my life with. For eight years, I battled with all of the 'idiots' who told me otherwise, parents included. And then I finally gave up the fight, got divorced because I was miserable and was only making him miserable along with me, turned around in the right direction, and started over. I couldn't be happier with the man I'm with now, the man I was supposed to have married all along. My life is beautiful and blessed, but I never would have learned that if I hadn't made mistakes and then taken the time to finally listen to the ones who were trying to guide me the whole time.
Learning from those who are older (or even younger) but definitely wiser than we are is an extremely important thing for each of us to be able to do. The recognition that we're not an island, and that we don't know it all, is sometimes difficult to process and then to fully admit but, when we can get to that point, healing and true wisdom can begin.
To my father this weekend, and to my son, I'm extremely proud of you both.