“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” ~ Albert Einstein
I am a Mom to two awesome boys. They have taught me more in the last 7 years than I could have learned in the 25 years I was without children. Here are,
10 Valuable Life Lessons to Learn from Children
1. Keep Discovering. Keep Exploring
From discovering their hands and feet as infants to discovering that monsters really do not live in the closet or under the bed. From exploring letting go of what held them up and finding out they can put one foot in front of the other to walk, to exploring a new sport they were so intimidated by before and finding out they are really good at it. They have taught me to keep exploring and keep discovering.
Discovery can be so rewarding, but we have to be willing to open ourselves to it. We have to continue to spark our curiosities and to stop assuming we know the answers. It is amazing what happens when we approach life knowing we actually know nothing at all.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~ T. S. Eliot
2. Be yourself. “…those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind”
My oldest son has dressed himself since age 2. One summer day at age 3 he decided to wear his bright orange bubble vest along with some shorts and rain boots. We were going to get ice cream and that is how he wanted to go. Hand in hand, we went.
There were plenty of people there and all of them looking right at him and smiling (some laughing). He was very comfortable with the attention and was more into the ice cream than at the kids who were staring at him.
He was himself. To him, it was about self-expression and it did not matter who laughed or pointed. He was comfortable in his own skin, orange bubble jacket and rain boots. That day, he taught me to be comfortable in mine as well.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~ Oscar Wilde
3. Dance like no one is watching.
Put some dance music on and watch how children react. Most of them don’t think twice about it, they just dance. At weddings, at school dances, at parties, they always dance. They dance with whatever rhythm they may have and they don’t care who is watching.
What do the adults do?
They stand around and watch the kids or continue their conversation. I have joined my oldest son many of times on a dance floor full of kids. It was fun, I danced with whatever rhythm I thought I had and I danced like nobody was watching.
“Dance as though no one is watching you, Love as though you have never been hurt before, Sing as though no one can hear you, Live as though heaven is on earth.” ~ Souza
4. Cuddling is underrated.
It is my pleasure to cuddle with my children. I enjoy having their little hands in mine. I enjoy feeling their little arms around my neck and having them curled up on my lap. Whenever they want to cuddle, I CUDDLE! It is those moments I treasure most because one day, they will be too big to curl up on my lap and too cool to put their arms around my neck.
I asked my son what he wanted to be when he grows up and he said a DJ and a Car Designer. He has elaborate plans on how he will achieve this. He is 7 years old and this dream is completely attainable for him.
I admire this and have told him I support him in whatever he wants to do and to let me know what he needs from me so he can become what he wants to be. As adults, we become so distracted by our responsibilities (job, children, etc) that we have let go of our long lost dreams of becoming whatever it was we wanted to be.
I understand being an astronaut may be far-reaching for many of us now, but studying astronomy is not. Looking through a telescope and admiring the universe is not. You had dreams of becoming a musician? Pick up an instrument, take some lessons and sing away! Show your children that dreams do not have to stay dreams.
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~ Walt Disney
6. Have Patience.
I have learned patience from the day I found out I was pregnant. From those long 40 weeks of pregnancy to the 15+ labor hours with my first and a nice 8 labor hours with my second. Patience is learned early. Patience was also learned while up at 4 am with a wide-awake infant and while teaching my 5-year-old how to read the words Cow, Car, and Dog. Although I have not mastered patience, my children are sure to help me every single day.
“Our patience will achieve more than our force.” ~ Edmund Burke
7. A messy home is not the end of the world.
I would not consider myself OCD, however, I feel a clean home is a happy home. I say this knowing my children and the dog completely disagree. I like things in their place, my floors spotless and the kitchen sink free of dirty dishes. With this said, I also now understand, toys are best all over the place and keep the kids entertained while I try to prepare dinner.
Muddy paw prints on the floor make for a good laugh after the fact and the mess made by the kid’s fuels exploration, imagination, and discovery. A mess is just that, a mess, it can be cleaned up and is not the end of the world.
8. Take risks.
Jumping from couch to couch, dangling off of monkey bars upside down, rolling right off the bed without the slightest concern of the drop to the floor, attempting to jump into the pool before I make it in to catch them, you get the picture. I am sure there are many more events to come that will give me minor heart attacks, but the fearless attitude a child possess is something to be admired.
Although my oldest child is a bit more cautious than other children, the risk-taking that children feel comfortable with should be a reminder to us that we will never know the result unless we try it. I am not talking about the skydiving or bungee jumping risks, I am talking about the job change or even that new haircut risk. Assumptions do not do anything but create a false sense of security or self-doubt.
Stop assuming and do it. If you fall, get up clean yourself up and either try again or move on to the next risk you have been contemplating over.
“Children have a lesson adults should learn, to not be ashamed of failing, but to get up and try again. Most of us adults are so afraid, so cautious, so ‘safe,’ and therefore so shrinking and rigid and afraid that it is why so many humans fail. Most middle-aged adults have resigned themselves to failure.” ~ Malcolm X
Although this seems cliche, the unconditional love I have for my children is something I only found to be true when I had children. It is so hard to verbalize. It is a love encompassed by so many other feelings.
To name the ones I am able to verbalize best: joy, admiration, respect, appreciation, reward, pride, anxiety, worry, adoration and amazement. I am so very grateful to be able to feel and do the unconditional love I have for them and am even more grateful and humbled that the love I give to them, they return to me every day.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon
The most important lesson I have learned from my children (so far) is the immeasurable value of time and to treasure and enjoy the time given to you. The last 7 years of motherhood have gone so very fast. The quote “The days are long, but years are short” is an understatement. Yes, those sleepless nights with my youngest makes my days very long; but he is now on the verge of walking!
When did that happen??
Yes, those days when my oldest has an attitude because he would rather play a video game than head to the park for some outside play are long; but he is headed to the 3rd grade in the fall. When did that happen??
Time is constant, the hours pass, the years pass and I am consciously making an effort to ENJOY my time with my children. I enjoy the time I discover and explore with them; the time I am not feeling so good about myself and my oldest tells me I am the most beautiful woman in the world, the time we have a dance party in the kitchen; the time we all cuddle as a family in pj’s watching a movie; the time we share our dreams and talk about our plans to reach them; the time when my patience is tested and I get through it a little more patient than the day before; the time I try to clean the house, step on toys and trip over a remote control car; the time when I watch my oldest try to swim from one side of the pool to the other unassisted for the first time and the time I hear I love you thiiiiiissss much and I reply
“I love you more!” and hear back
“I love YOU more!”.
Time is a gift given to us, we have the responsibility of doing something wonderful with it. Create memories, give love and most importantly, ENJOY.
What lessons have you learned from interacting with children? You can share one of these lessons with us in the comment section below 🙂