I don’t usually think of myself as older, but today I did. My niece came over today to learn how to can pears.

I remember as a child watching my mother’s hands work a knife – she had such a talent for peeling a pear perfectly, wasting very little. I found myself standing alongside of Addie as we peeled 2 lugs of pears. My pear skins came off a little smoother than hers, but I’ve had more practice over the years.

It’s a wonderful feeling to teach someone younger something that you value and have learned as an adult. As our friendship is based on love, affirmation, and encouragement, there is no competition involved. There is no room for criticism or judgmental attitudes. We build each other up. We take delight in each other’s achievements. We have a mutual respect for one another. You would never even know our age difference, except that I can peel a pear better than her!

So how do we teach the younger? I chose to take the time out of my busy schedule to teach Addie something she desired to learn about. It seems to me that few, too few, of us older women really take the time to teach younger moms different aspects of homemaking.

We think of “mentoring” or “teaching” in a more formal situation, but my answer is short and simple: it is best done over the natural course of life. By finding someone that you connect with and a shared interest.

I rarely think of “teaching” as a conscious thing that I want to do. Or, when I hang out with older friends, I’d much rather observe and absorb the spirit in which they live, the example in how they love their husband and treat their family.

A dear friend that I have known for almost 20 years comes to mind. Dee has been such a precious gift in my life. While she took great interest in my life long before I became a married woman and mother to 3 children, I was able to observe her humility before God, her spirituality and practicality in daily living, and her love for her family.

She has always encouraged me to use my gifts, even though mine were different than hers. From the very beginning of our friendship we had an instant connection.

Here is a nugget that I gleaned from Dee: Wait until advice is requested. I don’t think Dee ever told me what I was doing wrong. And if I did ask for advice, Dee would base it on her life experiences.

I understand that there is wisdom in years, but I never want to lose my passion for loving others, because I think I have “arrived.”

I adore the fact that I can learn from younger people, and I am thankful for the time that Addie took to be taught today, but little did she know what she taught me in return.

As she shared about life’s ups and downs, as a new mom and a baby on the way, Addie’s perspective has always been to look for the advantage, and then to build on that.

Back in my kitchen, we finally finished our pears and boxed them up for her to take home to her family. Another beautiful fall day passed with a great lesson for both of us. We gave each other a hug and went on with our busy days as mommies do.

(The love of entertaining can definitely be caught and taught. For a further glimpse into my life, you can read one of my previous posts, Catch the Passion.)

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