As my children have been getting older and their personalities are beginning to really develop and shine through, I’ve tried to see the world through their eyes more. After all, I’m responsible for molding them into future adults who will contribute to society. What I have also learned is that my children are teaching me about being more like them, instead of me teaching them to be more like me. There are so many lessons that children can teach us if we take the time to soak them in. It amazes me to think about some of the things that we all probably did as children, but have lost somewhere along the way. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from my children:
Lesson #1- Be kind without anything expected in return.
My son will go out of his way to help others, with absolutely no expectation of getting anything in return. He could care less if someone says thank you or acknowledges it. He will still skip away, completely satisfied with himself. He also has no qualms walking up to another child and asking if they are okay or if they need help. How many times have I seen someone who may need help and I’ve waffled, wondering if I should get in their business or not? We should all strive to be helpers, without being asked and without expecting recognition.
Lesson #2- Take delight in all things new.
Watching my children take in the world has been one of the biggest privileges of being a parent. They take absolute wonder in all things.
Christmas lights? Most awesome thing ever!
Tasting brownies for the first time? Most awesome thing ever!
Getting a new puzzle? Most awesome thing ever!
Looking at the ads that come in the weekly circular? Most awesome thing ever!
Children seem to take joy in the simplest of things, whereas I know that adults tend to shrug it off as just another mundane thing. It takes incredible things to get our attention and to create delight. Children find it everywhere. We should all find joy and wonder in our everyday lives; after all, the everyday things are the things we will encounter the most.
Lesson #3- It’s okay to ask questions.
I read somewhere that curious children will ask upwards of 70-90 questions per day (and most of these will be “Why?”). They want to know how the world works and why things are the way that they are. I, and most adults I know, try not to ask questions. Why? I think it’s because we become conditioned to believe that excessive questioning is a sign of being either nosy or not intelligent. If we ask loads of questions at work, it could be seen as not knowing our jobs. Asking questions to our friends could be seen as being intrusive. Of course, there is a place and time for questions, but I think we should absolutely be questioning why things are the way that they are, in society, our families, and at work. We cannot continue to grow if we don’t ask questions. We should be more curious about the world like our children.
Lesson #4- You can dance if you want to.
My children will begin boogie-ing at the sound of any beat. They don’t care who’s watching; if they want to dance, by golly they will dance. This teaches me to be less self-conscious. I don’t when we start to lose that air of not caring what others think, but I feel like we should all try to hold onto it longer. If we are free to be who we are without judgement, I feel like we would all be happier in our own skins. I do like the idea of random dance parties everywhere in life. I hope that continues in my world, and that my boys never lose the desire to just enjoy the music and dance.
Lesson #5- It’s okay to be comforted and to ask for help.
At least five times a day, one of my sons will run to either myself or my husband asking for help. They will also run to us when they are crying and want comfort.
We do teach independence and critical thinking, but children seem to innately know their limitations and will seek out help to complete whatever it is that they are doing. They have accepted that there are things that they simply cannot do on their own now, and will find someone who can help them move forward. I know that this has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as an adult. I have always told myself that I could work through any problem on my own, and to ask for help would be seen as weak.
When my children are hurting, they know to seek out the arms of an adult who loves them to be comforted. As an adult, I have taught myself to internalize my hurt. Don’t let other’s see that they have hurt me. Hide the sadness, the anger, the pain. Why can we not all be more like my son who will not hesitate to let anyone know that they have hurt his feelings?
It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to share your feelings and to seek comfort.
Lesson #6- Forgive and forget
My children also have this uncanny ability to completely forgive someone who has caused them pain or hurt feelings. The child who bit my son on four different occasions at school? He’s one of the first that my son will reach out to when he is seeing if people want to play. Children don’t hold grudges the way that adults can. Yes, they may not always forget, but they always seem okay with giving multiple chances. So often adults will cut off anyone who has hurt them without giving them a chance to right the wrong. Or they hold a grudge without attempting any kind of reconciliation.
Of course, there are things that someone may have a hard time forgiving and forgetting. There may be things that are unforgivable. Those are one thing, but we should be working to undo small grievances, and to give more chances.
As a parent, I know that my children are teaching me just as many things as I am teaching them. They push me everyday to be a better person.
I will be forever thankful for the lessons that they teach me and the love that they freely give.
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