“Boy, he sure got your nose.”
“Oh my, she has curls just like you!”
“That impatience, totally you.”
When you have children, days are filled with comparisons. There seems to often be great debate about what traits, good and bad, each child received from each parent. Instead of making our children out to me more like us by constantly assigning them our own attributes, perhaps we would be much better off if we were in fact, more like them. We are too busy showing them how to do things that we don’t stop and think that perhaps, they have a great deal to show us as well.
So today, I took the whole day and just focused on what I could learn from them. Instead of teaching them, this is what I learned. It became quite clear that they are a whole lot smarter than me.
Enjoy the breeze.
Just look at this picture. Could there really be any feeling more freeing than just riding a swing, feeling the breeze in your hair, and the sun on your face? She could swing for hours if you let her. With cell phones buzzing constantly and everyone needing something, when was the last time YOU had this look on your face? We can learn so much, just by watching.
Sing your heart out.
Literally, just sing. It is really hard to stay in a bad mood if you just let loose and belt out a few notes at the top of your lungs. Kids don’t care what other people think. They don’t care about “offending” anyone or who might judge them. They don’t care who mocks them or who talks behind their back, they just sing and they don’t much care who hears them because it makes them happy. We can learn so much, just by listening.
Dig in the dirt. Feel the mud. Get all sticky. Make a mess. Yes, you will probably end up being the one to clean it up in the end but once you do it, you will see that it was totally worth it. Just like my kids, life can get pretty messy sometimes. Roll up your sleeves and dig in. Before you know it, you might just be having the time of your life. We can learn so much, just by participating.
I know that I am super lucky that my kiddos are total snugglers. They love crawling up on my lap for cuddles whenever they feel the need. When was the last time you did that? When did you just reach out for someone who needed a hug or even a pat on the shoulder? When did someone reach for you? We tend to be so concerned about “boundaries” that we let that take precedence over what should be our first reaction when we see someone hurting, lost, or scared. We can learn so much, just by feeling.
Be a Princess.
This one is totally underrated. As adults we forget what it is like to get lost in a world of make believe. “Wasting” time in an imaginary world where everything was perfect and exactly right, that sounds magical to me. Isn’t that what having dreams is all about? Living in a world of pretend helps us to image the possibilities that we never thought possible before. Be a princess, be a hero. Don’t limit yourself to reality. Dream big (after all, what bigger dream is there than to be a princess?!?) and you can make it happen. We can learn so much, just by pretending.
I’ve gotta say, having a 5 year old means I hear this question literally a million times a day. More often than not, I have no idea what the answer is, but that doesn’t stop the question. Perhaps if we asked this more, we might actually have some of the right answers. We accept certain things as the “norm” because that is the way it has always been without actually understanding why. Answering that question is the first step to making any real progress to understanding some of the more difficult questions in life. We can learn so much, just by asking why.
Next time you are lucky enough to be home playing with your little ones, ask yourself the same question.
What can they teach me? After all, we have so much to learn…