Old head, young shoulders





Do you remember things that your parents or ‘elderly’ relatives used to say when you were growing up? In my family there was definitely a special language…sayings and quotes that were passed down through generations, some were common, well known phrases and some that we think were made up, and used only by those connected to the Dixon family.

My Mum and her sister Maud spent a lot of time together during my early adolescent years. Mum was running the bakers shop in Great Harwood and Aunty Maud just lived down the road and used to come and help. I used to listen to them chatting on the special occasions I was allowed to, and I loved it.

Their conversations intrigued me, and they invariably got on to the subject of their youth and how things had changed.  

Some of their expressions and sayings come to mind more and more as I reach the grandmother/'older' aunty stage, and I understand the meanings of some of them much more clearly. When Mum was trying to give me advice as a young girl, and particularly when I didn’t want to follow her suggestions, my Aunty would say ‘Kathleen, you can’t put an old head on young shoulders’.  

How true is that? I didn’t quite understand the meaning as a youngster, but I sure do now.

It’s not that age brings total wisdom, not at all. And it doesn’t mean that parents always know best. But as I observe younger family members I often wish I could save potential hurt or discomfort by making a suggestion (and sometimes I do!) Wouldn’t it be great if all the experience and wisdom that mattered from our lives transferred through osmosis to our offspring ?

But it can’t be.

And one day they too will understand and maybe say that on young shoulders an old head won’t fit.