Ask the elders…
An unexpected trip to the grocery store came when I realized I had not planned a meal for dinner. My daughter leaped at the opportunity to join me for the ride. She’d do almost anything to get out the house and away from homework. I’m sure she was thinking of all the things she would put into the cart for her own pleasure, not planning to assist me. As we drove to the store, I spoke out loud the few items I was preparing to grab. “Almond milk, salad, fruit, veggies… All the while Mia was in the back seat yelling out a few additional items she wanted to grab as well; fruit snacks, fries, spaghetti and a few other things.
When we arrived at the store a quick look at the sales paper shifted my focus a bit. For some reason, I now wanted some tacos and Mia was asking for chicken. Now, don’t be fooled… I am a vegan, so our meals look quite different than meat eaters. As we are switching up our dinner plans, I said to Mia “What kind of chicken are you wanting?” I was surely thinking she was referring to the kind of “chick’n” that I have cooked on several occasions. She replied, “the kind Gi-Gi cooks”. I knew I was in trouble because Gi-Gi cooks, wait for it…. fried chicken. I have NEVER cooked fried chicken. The look of disappointment on my face was nothing but shame and fear.
I couldn’t bring myself to let my daughter know the horrific truth, but I had to break it to her. As I turned to face her, I couldn’t help but wonder what was going to be her reaction. After what seemed like forever, I gathered enough nerve to do it. In my most fearful, shameful voice I said to Mia… “ I don’t know how to cook fried chicken.” She looked at me with shock and said with authority… ASK THE ELDERS! My face shriveled up like a raisin in disgust. “What do you mean, Mia? Who am I supposed to ask what?” She said it again but this time she was not as aggressive. “Ma, you have to ask the elders. You have to ask GiGi and Auntie Rhoda, they will tell you what you need to know. They will teach you how to fry chicken.”
This moment was so pivotal for me, because not only was she right but I have noticed that the older I get the more I find myself wanting to learn from others particularly someone with wisdom like the elderly. Whether it’s an important conversation with my mother or an opportunity to sit at the feet of my grandparents I love to glean from the elders. I find myself asking questions about the past and recently completed a search about the Indian tribe that I belong too. Wisdom is defined as having experience, knowledge and good judgement. Sometimes we don’t always make the right decisions or use good judgement, but if we/ you desire wisdom, ask for it. If you’re like me and you want to learn to cook a particular dish or fry some chicken… Simply put…Ask the elders.