A Mile In Your (old) Shoes

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornLet me tell you, we're talking about a really big "if."

If I think about it long enough and hard enough, I can remember what it was like—what it was like long, long ago—to be a kid.

For starters, the piano practice was torture. I'd be sitting there, plunking out tunes on black and white keys even though I thought my fingers looked much better on the orange of a basketball.

And my mom, the human metronome, would sit beside me on the bench, tapping the end of a pencil against the piano to help me keep rhythm. It drove me crazy.

If it wasn't piano lessons that had me in misery, it was homework—hours of multiplication, history, and grammar keeping me away from the South Carolina skies that were calling my name.

It was bad enough that I had to spend my days in class, but what was the point of all that time at a desk if I still had to do school stuff when I got home?

Adding insult to injury, there was one more constant to complain about: even in the moments when I wasn't practicing Chopsticks or doing long division, I was expected to somehow keep myself healthy on the inside and clean on the outside.

"Eat your vegetables." They tasted sick.

"Stay out of the mud puddles." Then what are bikes for?

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Sometimes it amazes me how much the tables can turn in a lifetime. Twenty, thirty, forty years later, as a dad, making use of my memory can be a really big "if."

These days I tap-tap-tap tempos of my own. I check assignments. I dole out broccoli. I make threats about the consequences of grass stains. I am a grown-up now—and to think that there was once a time when I walked miles and miles in my kid-sized shoes!

Kids don't know everything, of course, and that's why they need adults in their lives. After all, somebody's gotta keep them from watching TV all day, making meals out of Oreos, and toddling their way to tumbles down the stairs.

Still, there are times in parents' lives, I think, when our adult-ing does nothing but take the fun out of being a kid. We advise and we chastise. We wag our fingers and shake our heads.

We sigh with frustration. We lecture about responsibility like people who forgot long ago that candy tastes great, play is more fun than work, that being quiet is hard or that worms are cool.

Kids are kids. There's no use expecting them to be adults. If you're frustrated or irritated with your children or if your patience is wearing thin—if you've had it up to here lately, maybe it's time for you to pause, catch your breath, and remember.

Maybe it's time to lace up some kid-sized shoes, so to speak, and walk a mile in them.

Remind yourself what it used to be like. Think about the things you loved when you were younger. Think about the things you couldn't stand.
And the next time your kid gripes about those flute lessons or that asparagus, before you get on your soap box about exercise or antioxidants, keep in mind that you probably felt the same way when you were still a kid.

I bet you'll find yourself taking a softer approach. I bet it'll be better.
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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