10 Lessons I Could Learn From My Children
Children see the world differently than adults. Though we may not always like what we hear from them, it’s usually the honest truth…according to them. Right now, I love listening to my four-year-old. He’s an affectionate little guy that likes to tell me how much he loves me. I know he’ll out grow this phase so I’m basking in it while it lasts.
There are so many great things to be learned from children.
Simple Things are Awesome
My daughter spent a good six months obsessed with plungers. Everywhere we went she would point out the plungers. She even told me, “I know a lot about Santa Claus, Christmas lights, and plungers.” Now, I am not about to start being amazed by plungers but there is a lesson in there somewhere about finding wonder in everyday things.
The same daughter spent another six months deeply interested in rocks. So much so that she slept with them in her bed. I tried to take them away but the resulting tantrum wasn’t worth it. Once a week I cleared out the rocks, washed her sheets, and we’d start all over again. I’m kind of glad she outgrew both the plunger and rock thing.
Isn’t it fun to watch a child be fascinated by a snail, caterpillar, or slug? Taking a walk with my kids is like heading out on an adventure. They will stare, poke, and prod anything and everything. The foxglove that grew to be over six feet tall was a wonder every time we walked passed it, which was at least once a day. A centipede or even a huckleberry bush becomes something to be celebrated.
Sometimes adults get so busy that we don’t see the flower by the sidewalk, the butterfly floating by, the helicopter seeds tumbling down like magic. I don’t know about you but I could do with a little more magic in my life.
A Nap is Always a Good Idea
One of my boys used to put himself down for bed if it was past his bedtime. He would do the same thing for his naps if he got really tired. Then, when he woke up, he would be a completely different and happy boy.
What a good idea. When you’re tired, slow down and take a nap. How many times have you pushed yourself beyond your exhaustion point? Okay, sometimes you don’t have a choice but most of the time you do. Stop and take a nap. You’ll be doing yourself and everyone around you a favor.
So Are Snacks
Kids or no kids, never leave the house without a snack in your purse. Period.
Anyone is a Potential Friend
Kids make friends with just about anyone. They see differences but they don’t let those differences stop them from making friends. Going to the park always turns into a social hour. When we leave I often ask my kids the names of the kids they made friends with. They never know their new friends’ names. Who’s going to waste time on names when there’s fun to be had?
I could learn from that attitude. I tend to wait for people to come to me to make friends. Being friendly and reaching out to the people around me would be a better way to make friends.
Honesty is a Good Policy Most of the Time
My daughter once told me my forehead looked like a peanut butter cookie. I was 26 so pretty sure the wrinkles weren’t that bad. A week later she told me it looked like a maze. Now, this kind of honesty isn’t all that helpful. However, most of the time, if we would be honest with others and ourselves, we would clear up misunderstandings and prevent hurt feelings.
Parents get so used to their kids chattering to them constantly that they stop listening. I know I do it. Inevitably, my oldest will say, “Mom, are you even listening to me?” Sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m not.
Listening to our children will let them know their voice is heard and that their voice and opinion are important. Not necessarily right, but important enough for us to listen.
The same principle applies when talking with adults. How many times have you had a conversation with someone and been planning your response instead of listening to what they are saying? I know I have.
Listen to hear, not respond.
If You Want Something You Have to Say So
My kids don’t assume I’m a mind reader. If they need something, they tell me loud and often. As adults, or maybe it’s a woman thing, we don’t always clearly communicate what we need or want. Kids aren’t like that. They know what they want and they say so.
People aren’t mind readers so speak up.
Say You’re Sorry and Mean It
There is nothing more infuriating as a parent than trying to teach your children empathy and how to apologize. The kind of empathy that motivates them to sincerely say they are sorry. One kid will hit another and when I tell them to say sorry, I get a mumbled response that has no feeling behind it.
When you say you’re sorry, mean it. and act like it. My sister-in-law has the sentence ‘The best apology is changed behavior’, posted in her house. Yes, that really is the best apology.
Laugh When You Want to Cry
I’m not sure if everyone does this but when one of my kids falls or gets hurt and they are on the verge of tears, we’ll often try to make them laugh. Nine times out of ten, it works and they laugh their way out of crying.
Finding something to laugh about helps a bad day look brighter and it feels a whole lot better.
Love Should Always Be Shared
My adorable four-year-old always kisses my hand and tells me he loves me. He also tells me that I’m in his heart. He freely gives of his love. We tell our kids that we love them all the time. Are we always so open with the others we care about? Our spouse, parents, and siblings? I hope so.
Children give their love openly and freely. Instead of holding back, we could offer compliments and words of encouragement.
As parents, it would be foolish to think that we are the only ones teaching lessons in the parent-child relationship. Children teach us humility, forgiveness, and other lessons simply by being themselves. I’m not always grateful for the comments about the state of my forehead but I am grateful that I have four kids that keep me grounded and continue to teach me how to be a better person one day at a time.
This post was written in response to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop question 10 Lessons Your Child Could Teach You for a Change.