As parents, we consider it our responsibility to teach our children well. However, we can learn a lot from our little ones, too. Over the years, my daughters have taught me many valuable things. They’ve shown me so much more than the value of patience. Here are some life lessons from kids — young voices speak volumes.
1. Curiosity Is the Spice of Life
“Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs have four legs when we only have two? What do they fill jelly beans with?” I wish I could go back and collect some of the kooky questions my darlings have asked me over the years. Sometimes, yes, the grand inquisition grows exasperating — but this is how their minds develop. I want to encourage them to keep questioning the world around them. Curiosity is the spice of life. It inspires us to keep learning and growing, and this is one of the most impactful lessons I have learned from my kids. My girls’ inquisitive minds even help me out in the workplace. When I’m stuck on a challenging assignment, and I don’t know what to write, I try to put myself in my reader’s mind. What needs do they want me to address the most? Sometimes, to find the right answers, you have to learn to ask the right questions.
2. Getting Messy Can Be Fun
You see dirty dishes piled in the sink, and you can feel your blood pressure start to rise. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you were getting so upset? After all, while you want to maintain a tidy home, the ceilings will hardly crash to the ground if you leave them to soak in the sink overnight. My girls taught me to check my perfectionism at the door, and it makes me a happier, more relaxed person. I long ago accepted that I’ll have to wait well over a dozen years to have everything pin-drop neat again. Plus, getting messy can be fun. If you haven’t sat and made mud pies with your children, why not do so today?
3. You Can Turn Off Your Filter Sometimes
As adults, we need to guard against saying something inappropriate nearly always. Therefore, we can feel inhibited expressing our needs. Children haven’t developed this filter yet, and while their spontaneous outbursts can prove embarrassing at times, it’s a reminder that sometimes you need to speak your mind. While I don’t like tantrums more than any other parent, I remind myself that I want my girls to grow up assertive and able to stand up for what they believe is right.
4. Movement Feels Glorious
When I train for races, sometimes I go so hard that I start to resent my daily workouts. Then I see my girls delight in running, jumping and skipping. It reminds me that movement feels glorious, and it doesn’t always need to have a goal attached to it. For example, I’ve introduced my oldest daughter to some basic yoga moves, and even though you won’t find the poses in any studio class, we still have a blast doing them together.
5. Life’s Too Short to Stay Sad for Long
If I go to lie down because I feel overwhelmed, it never takes long before my eldest seeks me out to see if I’m OK. Invariably, she tries to cheer me up, and she usually succeeds. Kids are masters of mindfulness — they live in the here and now, and they can’t see any point in crying over something that isn’t happening at the moment.
6. Boxes Make the Best Toys
Like most parents, I felt dismayed on holiday mornings when my girls decided the boxes were more fun than the gifts inside. However, the simplest things provide the perfect exercise for your imagination. When we have a snow day, for example, we’ll make blanket forts and camp out in the living room. It’s a fabulous reminder that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make memories.
7. Chicken Soup Is Healing
When one of my girls feels under-the-weather, a hot bowl of chicken soup always makes them feel better. It’s the little comforts in life that make it worthwhile. Sometimes, it’s OK to indulge in the little things that make you smile when you’ve had a rough day.
8. You’ll Feel Better After a Nap
I wish that my girls always went down for a nap without complaint. Most of the time they do, and it sometimes gives me a chance to grab some shuteye, too. I’ve shared with them the health benefits of napping in an age-appropriate way, and I let them know that sometimes, grownups also need time to rest.
9. The World Is Full of Wonders
When the world is too much for me, I try to look at it the way my daughters do. I might see a city park that’s badly in need of a cleanup crew, but my girls see a wonderland where they can go on an adventure. I see a messy room — my daughters inform me that no, it’s an obstacle course for their dolls. Learning to look at things in a more positive light is one of the best life lessons kids can teach.
What Life Lessons Can You Learn From Your Children?
I’m forever grateful for the many things I have learned from my children. Take some time today to reflect on all the life lessons you can learn from your kids.