While I have never had any children of my own, I have had the privilege to watch them in action. From my own nieces to interacting with children as part of my employment, I have learned a lot. Kids are incredible. They are trying to figure out a world with complicated societal constructs and have fun at the same time. They are innocent, adorable, and sometimes obnoxious, but at the end of the day, profound. Rather spending all day trying to teach your children life lessons, take a step back and let them teach you. Maybe next time you’re home with your sick child, you’ll learn a little bit more about business, or maybe when you’re at the park, you’ll remember how to make new friends. Read on for 7 profound things you can learn from your children.
I once watched a mother turn around too quickly, accidentally knocking over her child. In tears, the child ran towards her for comfort, even though she had been the source of the harm (he really was ok, in case you were wondering). If you watch, children fight all the time. Whether it’s over a toy, whose turn it is on the swing, or one is breathing the other’s air, there is something to argue about. But if you watch, ten minutes later, they’re best friends again as if nothing ever happened. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all adapted that forgiving philosophy.
Exercise (But Don’t Think of It as Exercise)
Kids love to run around outside, but they don’t think of it as something that they have to do, rather something that they get to do. Children are never sitting still. They are dancing, skipping, jumping, playing, etc. unless they are sleeping. We need to treat exercise as a fun game rather than a chore. While we don’t have recess at work like we did in school, find ways to sneak exercise into your everyday life. Jump up the stairs rather than walking up them, jam out to your favorite tunes while cooking, and if you don’t know what to do, just start playing with your kids. They’ll teach you how to run again.
Enjoy the Little Things
My niece lived the first two years of her life on a beach. When her family moved, she experiencing seasons for the first time. The most magical thing I have ever seen was watching her discover fall leaves for the first time. At first, she just leaned over to smush them gently with her fingertips. Then, she started crunching them, throwing them, stomping on them, and eventually let out a deep grumbly “Wow,” her sound reserved for the truly remarkable. We too, need to start noticing the little things around us, the sights and sounds of this incredible world. We can’t just rush on by, or we will miss so much beauty and wonder.
Listen to Your Intuition
Kids are an amazing judge of character. They will tell you if someone feels creepy, (children are rarely afraid of people, and if they are we should listen). Kids just know things. They readily trust and believe everyone, including themselves. Re-learn how to do that.
Ask For Help
Children are not afraid to ask for help, for the most part anyway. There are a few stubborn ones that want to do it all by themselves, and that’s ok too. Even they know when they have reached a limit, and they reach out for help. I used to work in a daycare, and one day one of the 2 year old boys walked out of the bathroom sans pants. He looked at us, and in his little voice said “Um, can you help me?” As adults, our pride stops us from asking when we need help. We don’t want to be perceived as weak, so we pretend that we have everything under control, when in reality, we are swimming in stress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Stop Caring About What Others Think of You
Have you ever watched a 3-year-old dance? They’re terrible. They shake their little bums, throw their arms up into the air, bob their heads, and they really don’t care what other people think. They just dance. If you haven’t watched a three-year-old dance lately, lookup Zhang Junhao performing his Random Dance on Amazing Chinese. During the interview from the judges, he is asked why he dances. He says “When I dance, my mom laughs. My mom says laughing is happiness.” We too, need to adapt this carefree attitude. The things that we imagine that people think about us are rarely what they actually think about us. People are too busy thinking about what other people might be thinking about them to be thinking about you anyway.
Try New Things
My little brother and I are dorks. Both of us are adults, but the moment you put us in a room together, we revert to being five years old. So one day, we were all together as a family, waiting for the subway, and my brother and I started talking to each other in gibberish. We thought we were funny, but the rest of my family was a little annoyed. After a while we turned to my niece and asked her a nonsensical question. She quickly shot back “Blahger baggah!” We laughed so hard. The amazing thing, though, is that she didn’t tell us we were being weird (like everyone else in our party), or fear looking silly, she just jumped in. Again, our adult pride stops us from trying new things because we are afraid of looking dumb. Try them anyway.
Darci Maxwell is a walking contradiction, and she loves it. You are just as likely to find her outside tearing up a mountain as you are to discover her curled up at home with a steamy cup of herbal tea watching Dr. Who. She is terrified of heights, yet she is the first one to run to the edge and marvel at the spellbinding sight. As an introverted extrovert, writing is her favorite way to connect with many people while still enjoying the comforts of her own home. Her favorite quote is “Here’s to the movers, the shakers, and the mischief-makers.”