She Taught Me Everything She Knows

The Poobette in Montreal

Personal insight is a funny thing. More often than not, it's harder to see things about yourself than for others to see them. This phenomenon isn't a mystery. The same thing happens in many situations. For example, writers need editors because they've plowed the same ground repeatedly and lose sight of what's most important about the story. The editor can see the holes immediately and help make the story stronger by pointing them out.

Many people go to therapy for help with personal insights. I do. For $85 an hour, you hire a professional friend to listen and reflect the different perspectives on your inner-most thoughts and feelings. This facilitated reflection can bring you to a better understanding of who you are and why you do what you do. But sometimes, hiring a professional friend isn't necessary. If you pay attention, you can often use examples from real life to help you learn about yourself.

I have a 16-year old daughter. Almost from the time the Poobette was born, she began teaching me things - sometimes unpleasant things, but more often, practical things.

From her, I learned the value of consistency and patience. I learned that if I set expectations early, things were generally pretty smooth. We started taking her to restaurants when she was only weeks old. From the beginning, we made sure she behaved in a way that didn't disturb others. When she was an infant, that consisted mostly of taking her outside if she needed to cry. When she began understanding concepts, we simply taught her that misbehavior wasn't OK. When she did act up, Mrs. Poobah or I simply had to say, "Do we have to go outside?" to get immediate results. It worked well and she rarely challenged the limits because we didn't threaten punishment, we carried it out.

Poobette also taught me things I could use in my job. When she was learning language for the first time I was working on a project to develop a controlled language that made translation easier and cheaper. By watching her progress, I learned many things about how language naturally develops that I could apply to my project. The results live on today as an industry-wide standard in commercial aviation. If I could dedicate the work to anyone, it would be her. Without the insight she provided, I'm not sure that whole idea would've worked. Not many kids make those kinds of contributions at three.

The Poobette continues to teach me today. She shows me the value of the things she's taught me in the past with a close and open relationship in the present. She's rarely surly or secretive. She appreciates what she has and frequently thanks us, and others, for it. The respect she shows us has also extended itself to her. She sees the value of her life and thoughts and participates in the with a gusto I certainly never had at her age.

So I guess I'd just like to say thanks to her. She's taught me many more things than I've passed to her and that seems such a natural thing now.

Good going kid. I couldn't have done it without you.

The is an exclusive Omnipotent Poobah Speaks post.

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Saturday, June 17, 2006

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