Observations of young children can provide wonderful life lessons. These little ones are so innocent and transparent, and you can derive so much from their actions and interactions. During my own time spent with youngsters, I have learned to:
Be in the Moment
Young children do not know how to tell time. They take things as they come and do not worry whether the weather is bad or if they are going to be late for pre-school. They just go with the flow and relish their moments of play and cuddle times with parents and siblings. As adults, we can do the same. Constantly checking our watches and cell phones, complaining about situations which we have no control over, and hurrying everywhere would all become habits of the past if we just take our lead from these little ones.
Notice the Small Things
A small child in a garden can become mesmerized by the fluttering of a nearby butterfly, the antics of a hyper squirrel, or silliness of the family dog chasing his tail. We as adults get so caught up in the everyday grind and fail to notice that stunning rainbow over the horizon, the way the sun’s rays catch the dew on the spider webs,and the beauty of the geraniums on our neighbor’s front porch.
Do you know an adult who just doesn’t have a filter and says whatever comes to mind? Some may be very annoyed by this type of personality, while others find it totally refreshing. Children will speak their minds. They will tell you if you look old, fat, or if they don’t like the way your dress looks on you. If they don’t like the food you serve them, they will really make it clear to everyone within shouting distance. This honesty is endearing. So many people live behind false statements and relationships. To be able to speak freely and honestly is a gift and sometimes one that only those under five can get away with.
You may buy your toddler an expensive gift. It took a lot to find the item, the shipping may have been very costly, and it may have taken you hours to put it together. Your child gleefully opens the gift and proceeds to play with the box it came in for hours. Expense, time, and money mean nothing to him – only the joy of playing with an item that intrigues and delights him. To have that kind of perception again, where you can see beauty and potential in the trivial, would be a true gift.
Have you ever watched a baby learn how to walk? No matter how many times he bumps his head on the coffee table or plops down on his diaper-clad bottom, he gets right back up again. He tries and tries until finally, the day comes when he takes his very first step. At first, his walk is unsure and unsteady, but as he gains skill and strength, he becomes the active toddler who gets into everything. We as adults expect instant gratification and, if we don’t get it, tend to give up on our efforts. We need to stay focused and continue on when the going gets tough.
Your own children may be getting older, but you are still learning from them almost every day. The ambition and drive of a college student, the artistry of a young teen dancer, and the pure motivation of a high school football player illustrate the attributes you can refine in yourself to become a more well-rounded and authentic person.
Erica Johnson is the Main Editor for Inner Parents and a very proud mother of two who’s passionate about the latest parenting tips & baby products.