I have had quite a few humbling experiences recently. I don't think I give people enough credit for their tech smarts, specifically parents and older adults.
This dawned on me yesterday when I was Skyping with my mom and explaining to her how to use the website I set up for my dad's shop. I knew she knew how to make a blog post and a few other things but after only showing her how to do a new task once, she had remembered and skillfully executed it moments later.
I have to be honest, I was somewhat surprised. I figured there would be a learning curve of some sort, but no, she just turned right around and performed the same task just as quickly as I had shown her.
I really should give her more credit.
Same thing goes for my dad. The man is an expert at creating things. He can build everything and anything that you can think of. He will watch a show on HGTV or This Old House and then, within minutes, without blinking, he'll go out into his garage and construct it. And he's so skillful with it, never cutting corners. And he has such patience when other people are making things haphazardly (like me!). He always is trying to help you be more efficient so the final product is perfect, but doesn't step on your toes too much so that you never learn things.
The man sweetly let me build a three-legged neon yellow stool once. Three legs people! What a truly patient man to let me make some horribly-designed project while still encouraging and supporting me to finish it.
And, you know what, I used that wobbly three legged stool to sit on every time I was out in the garage helping him as a kid.
Or when I was living in San Francisco and decided to use the headboard of an old bed frame to make a bench out of. Frankly, I have no idea what I was thinking. In fact, I probably wasn't, considering I used a hand saw to cut my cheap plywood and covered it in mint green paint. But when it came time to move, I'll be damned if my dad didn't try his hardest to make sure that bench came home with us. To this day, it still sits proudly in my parents backyard.
I am often reminded of this Mark Twain quote:
“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
And every time I hear it, I laugh at how true it is. The older we get the more we think our parents learned, when really they probably knew it all along, we were just too blind to see it.
It's true not just for our parents but for everyone.
We are all experts of certain things. I am reminded of this especially in the age of Pinterest, Youtube, and Ebay - where people all gather to show off the things they are great at.
And every day we encounter an expert in something: Guitar, woodworking, technology, painting, writing, teaching, listening, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, applying band aids, reading stories, making funny voices, burping the ABCs,
The list is endless. The problem is we don't always take the time to see what people are experts at. We are too busy thinking about all the things we are experts at that we are too blind to see that other people are experts too.
In conclusion, people deserve more credit.
So I challenge you to take a few minutes to think about the experts in your life, the ones who have influenced you, and the ones who have supported you so that you can become an expert in what you do.
And next time you meet someone new, don't be afraid to ask them what their talents are - most likely they will love sharing and talking about their passion with you.