As our children grow up and away, our parenting skills adjust to the new reality--the recognition that they don't need our hands-on advice and guidance anymore, unless they ask for it. And yet, here we are, able to see and assess situations and challenges more clearly. We kind of feel in our bones the rightness of the old adage that age brings wisdom.
It turns out, age brings a lot more than that--a shift in perspective. Carl Jung put it this way: "We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie."
Something to bear in mind not only in the living of our lives but in the advice we give our children. What seems to us like a mighty hill for them to climb today, we saw as an easy climb in our prime.
Here's another observation on a similar point, this by Nicholas Delbanco, author of Lastingness: The Art of Old Age. In youth, he suggests, "it's the reception of the piece and not its production that counts. But to the aging writer, painter or musician the process can signify more than result; it no longer seems as important that the work be sold." A reviewer of that book, Brooke Allen, sees this as a profound observation: "with time and age, the act of showing becomes increasingly subordinate to the act of making and gratification turns ever further inward."
If this is how our outlook is evolving, we might want to inculcate it into our mindset when we offer our grown children the benefits of our wisdom.