10/21/07

Teaching Over a Box of Pears

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.)

20 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Beautiful post and such delicious-looking pears! YUM!

Barb said...

I second that! Such cute women, all three of you! Plus such great food for thought!

A Woman Who is: said...

Lovely pears. Lovely day. I am adding you to my blog if that is okay with you?

Nunnie's Attic said...

Beautiful! If you ever read anything I have written you'll know that we're always cooking in my house. My niece lives right down the road from me. Now while she's only 12, we have cooked more meals together than I can count. It's a passing of the torch so to speak and I love it.

Thanks!
Love,
Julie

ValleyGirl said...

Boy, I'd give anything for a YOU or a DEE in my life. Both sets of parents live 6 hours away and I tell ya, that's tough. The lack of exactly this type of mentor is the biggest reason we're considering leaving our church. That's how important it can be.

Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

This is a subject so close to my heart. I feel the need to be mentored by an older woman so strongly. I know that this is a crucial area for young mothers, our lives can be so isolated yet we need this kind of relationship - I know I yearn for it.
My mother is fantastic at doing this type of mentoring, but I live so far away. I am thrilled for the young mothers she is able to influence. And I am thrilled for myself that I had 20 years of being in her house to learn.

I hope that you have the opportunity to spend many more of these type of days with Addie.

-Andrea

Nadine said...

I've taught younger women in our church to cook. I find it very rewarding and lots of fun. It doesn't take much time and they are always so appreciative. Your pears came out lovely.

GiBee said...

I wish you lived closer, because I really want to learn how to can. I want to make homemade applesauce, but haven't a clue as to how to can it so it doesn't spoil!!!

momrn2 said...

What a beautiful relationship/friendship you have with your niece!! Truly something to treasure.

I remember when my husband was away for 10 weeks in police academy, and then as he worked evenings and nights as a police officer, I would invite the teen girls from the church over.

We would make a complete dinner together and then sit and enjoy it. We would set the table that usually also included centerpieces.

It was so much fun to watch those girls learn to cook, learn the finer art of getting the food all ready at once, setting a table, etc. What precious memories those evenings hold in my heart.

Plus, I had 2 babies at the time which they also enjoyed loving on. I was also able to squeeze in lessons on diaper changing and other "mommy" joys. :-) It was a break for me and a treat for them. (At least I made it appear that way) tee hee hee....

Felicia said...

What a wonderful experience for you both :)

Tammy said...

What a beautiful blog you have! Thank you for sharing! I am going to bookmark your blog and follow you along on your journey....You are inspiring!

Tammy in MN

Tammy said...

First of all, I was scrolling down, and can't believe how far behind I've gotten! I missed out on the blogaversary giveaway and everything...but congratulations on one year of being such a blessing to everyone who reads you! :)

Actually, home making skills just weren't passed down to me that much...except for my Gammee (dad's mom) who did everything from making afghans to canning. She tried, but as a 12 yr old, I don't think I was as interested in canning as I am now. So, in spite of my age, I wish I could be under your tutorship, too! :)

All that aside, I love the heart of what you're saying here. So beautifully written, as always! :)

Jenster said...

Great post! Mentoring and being mentored is so important. And the benefits for both go both ways. God sure is smart, isn't he??

All you ladies are beautiful and the pears look delicious!

Gosh, you've had a lot going on! I haven't been making the rounds for a little bit and looks like I've missed a ton.

By the way - I love your Balcony Girls. They're pretty awesome.

VAIL said...

Oh, how I wish I had someone when I was growing up to teach me things such as sewing, knitting, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, canning, etc . . . .
My parents were divorced, my mom too busy working to provide for my sister and me - to teach me any of that stuff.
I am trying to play catch up on some of it, but some is lost forever for me.
You're doing a GREAT thing!

Christine said...

You make me want to learn things I have never been taught! Now to only find someone to follow around the kitchen...


:)

Redneck Nerdboy! said...

GASP!

What an absolutely delightful, beautiful blog! I found you through Nunnie's Attic.

Always!
Jas...

Jolene George said...

The bottled pears look beautiful!
It seems that you have some wonderful people in your life....probably because of the type of loving person you are. You attract others who are like you.

Lovella said...

Your canned pears make my mouth water and I'm thankful I have a nice cold pear waiting for me in the frige.
I just smile as I read your post and feel a kindred spirit with you once again.

Kathleen Marie said...

I canned pears last week as well. Wonderful and today and canning apples! The smell is amazing! Love your photos!

Wendy said...

Just found your blog and I love it! Thanks for sharing!