Is age necessarily a good indicator of experience?
Without taking too much liberty, I would assume that most would agree that maturity in age results in mature experiences.
This sounds logical…and in many instances, there would be little to argue against.
Who wouldn’t agree that if you want to learn the pitfalls of real estate, you would talk with a seasoned real estate professional?
In fact, I wrote a post a while back that encourages dads to seek out mature, wise counsel.
But, does this mean that youth immediately disqualifies a person from offering useful insight?
A Fatherhood Spin
How about in fatherhood? Can you be young and still offer something of worth?
This was actually a topic of conversation for me recently.
Among some heavy dialog…and some lingering self-loathing…the idea of youth and expertise came up.
Specifically, I was posed with this question: “How do you feel about being a young dad while teaching a parenting class at your church?”
It was a fair question, and I really had to think about how I felt. With my oldest being a 5 year-old, I still have a lot of parenting ahead of me.
Maybe I was in over my head!
Could I, in my relatively inexperienced and hopelessly naive age of 31, teach and instruct those that are my senior? I mean, I really should wait until my kids are grown before I can add to the body of thought…right?
As ridiculous as that sounds, it’s not far off the norm for people to assign prominence to those that have already surpassed certain stages in life.
It happens in business and the academic world…why not in fatherhood as well?
Bucking the System
As far as I’m concerned, I think that the status quo needs to be challenged a bit!
However, there are a few things to keep in mind before racing off to change the world.
- You may need some assessment. Having a unique ability in a specific area (teaching for instance) will go a long way in overcoming a perception of youth. Determine what you’re good at and then use that to build credibility.
- Make sure you’re willing to listen. No amount of talent will overcome a fast mouth and a stopped-up ear. Good ideas don’t come from a rampant tongue, but more from a willingness to observe (both visually and audibly).
- Don’t be afraid to add to the dialog. Your youth does not mean that your ideas or experiences are void of credibility. If you have something to add, then add it!
- Be relevant by being yourself. Your contribution is best received when you’re authentically…you! Don’t pretend to be something you’re not…most people are wise to the posers out there.
- There is power in being studious. We don’t receive knowledge through osmosis. If you want to be a capable father or a valued team member at work, then be willing to put in the time and learn about your craft. Lazy minds have done little to bring about growth.
With all that youthful experience can provide, there is still a lot to learn from those that have come before us.
The point is to be convinced that you have something to contribute, not to be blinded by youthful arrogance.
There will be plenty of time to express your expertise…and just many opportunities to keep your yap shut.
It is an art to discern the difference!