You learned to tie your shoes a long time ago. We all learn to tie our shoes.
Like learning to walk or crawl, we all got it at some point, competitive parental anxiety notwithstanding. So I admit to being not a little skeptical when a TED talk purported to offer a better way to lace. But I’m game – I like to learn new things – so I invested the three minutes. So should you.
Having taught them once, I was determined to teach my sons again about tying their shoes – the right way. It was the week before Thanksgiving, we stole a few days for a family trip to Manhattan before joining the extended family festivities. We were riding the subway and I was trying to describe how this method was better than that one I had so laboriously learned and taught myself.
A man, his work boots well-worn and notably well-laced, sat across the car watching us. He seemed weary but attentive, curious; a little baffled by the conversation. The car was relatively empty and he looked like the kind of guy who had things to say, so I wasn’t surprised when he finally ventured, “Nobody never taught you to tie your shoes?”
My son laughed a warm, light laugh, flashed a bright, wide grin and replied, “Apparently not.” Then he took up the task of trying to demonstrate this new skill to the guy on the train. It didn’t take, but it was a wonderful conversation, the two of them and the rest of us murmuring and chuckling on the sidelines. I thought I was teaching him a small life lesson, but he is teaching me a much larger one: sometimes the most delightful interactions come from the most unexpected places, if you open the door.
Life Lesson #2: You are never too old to learn new tricks.