I have a theory about kids. They make brilliant teachers. If you pay keen attention, you’ll notice their natural tendencies makes up what we call ‘hero material’ (no fear of failure, focus, keen observation, etc.).
If you observe them, you’ll notice what children instinctively feel and observe; adults don’t. It may be because years of social conditioning or rote learning has restricted our instincts and thinking. But kids possess incredible insights that we seem to have forgotten.
Here’s a list of some valuable lessons I have learnt as a mother. Read on and see.
10 life lessons I learnt from my kids
1. Mundane is interesting
Bubbles are funny. Also, ducks, feathers and socks! My kids bring a whole new perspective to life. My son K’s childlike wonder makes me realise just how jaded I have become. Suddenly, balancing on the edge of the footpath makes walking more fun. We jump over yellow cobblestones because “The yellow is lava!”. And why colour an elephant grey, when you can colour it red, blue, yellow, purple and orange?
2. Learn something new every day
Did you know pullet is the name for a young hen? I didn’t. My son has something new to report every time he comes home from school. And very often, he ends up filling the gaps in my education/knowledge. I know more about dinosaurs now than I did six years ago. I can recite numbers in French along with the words to songs I have never heard before. Who said learning is just for the young?
3. Dance like no one is watching
K dances with such wild abandon, I fear the ceiling in the apartment below might crumble. I dance like I am trapped in a tiny box. It’s clear who has more fun. So when we dance together, I take a cue from him and let loose. Sure I look ridiculous, but it’s a fantastic stress buster. No wonder kids are always happy.
4. Nature is the best therapy
My life used to be all about demanding bosses, paying taxes, complaining about traffic … typical adult stuff. Now, it’s balanced out by elephants and butterflies.
We go for nature treks, and wonder if the badminton ball tree plays at night. I have built more sandcastles in the last six years than in my entire adulthood. I had forgotten just how therapeutic nature could be until a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old reminded me. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
5. Get up after falling down
Both my kids learnt to walk by plummeting on the floor repeatedly. If there is a long jump to be mastered, K won’t let a little thing like a scrapped knee get in the way. If my daughter L wants to climb up a chair, she will get there with more determination that a mountaineer halfway up Everest. Their determination keeps inspiring me, including the time when I needed to stick to my workout routine to lose my pregnancy weight. And believe me, I wanted to give up plenty of times.
6. Tomorrow doesn’t exist
Kids don’t procrastinate. If K get wants to make a blanket fort, he’s on it straight away. I make lists. And then swear I will get to them eventually. K always asks me, “Why later?” He made a good point. So, if I find myself saying, “I will get to it eventually”, one look at K’s earnest face and I go, “No, now!”
7. Love unconditionally
I never knew just how much kids loved showing affection until I had my own. They don’t need a reason. I am gone for five minutes, and it’s enough for Hurricane K and Tornado L to come crashing down on me. So much love is given unconditionally. Imagine if they ruled the world, instead of us stupid, calculating adults.
8. How to eat right
When my kids were younger, they ate mostly every three hours and on-demand (so they ate when hungry and as much as they wanted). But once older, I fed them three larger meals a day, plus an evening snack. Top nutritionists recommend eating every two to three hours because it helps to keep the energy levels up and eat as much as your body needs. Somewhere along the way, pure instinct was over riddled by the societal pressure (and maternal worry) of “eating right”. If we ate the way babies did, we’d all be healthier.
9. Creativity needs imagination not tools
My kids taught me how to make castles using cardboard, duct tape and an overactive imagination. An ordinary bed can be a piece of a raft floating on a turbulent sea. Fighting dragons is easy if you have enough pillows to use as swords. It turns out you don’t need expensive toys, just an expansive mind.
10. Do it wrong until you get it right
The adult in me always worries about making mistakes. My kids don’t care how foolish they look. L will colour outside the lines until she learns how to stay within. K sing the wrong words to a song until he learns the right ones. Their persistence and perseverance are awe-inspiring.
Make your child your teacher
Children can be incredible teachers if we are willing to learn from them. Untouched by social conditioning and pre-existing mindsets, our kids see the world differently than us. They live and learn by their natural tendencies which make their worldview very interesting. Simply open your mind and let them in.