Don’t most of us parents think that we are the big instructors, the guides, the bosses in our households? Sure, for the practicalities of raising children and running a home, for sure we need to be! But how much of this necessity, practically and maybe a little bit egoistically, makes us blind to what our children are here to teach us? Just because they are fresh and inexperienced in this world, doesn’t mean they don’t have gifts to bestow unto us.
Here are 6 things that most adults struggle with and how, if we learn to stop and notice, our kids could teach us better ways of being and doing them.
1. Living in the Moment For moms in general, to have a few thousand balls in the air is a normal state of being. But how much are we actually engaged in what we are doing? So we throw a load of laundry in, and at the same time we are thinking about when to get dinner started and while we are cooking dinner we are thinking about whether or not we want to open the PC and work a bit after the kids have gone to bed. We are perpetually engaged, mentally, in the next step. Do we properly enjoy each moment of life?
Kids are spontaneous and fully engaged in what they are busy with in any given moment. They are not playing with Barbies and then worrying about how to put the lego house together later in the afternoon. They are there, in the moment, tapped in and tuned in, using all of themselves in the activity of the moment.
2. Free from thought Not only do we as adults consistently think about the next moment, our heads are always full of thought! We are, for all intensive purposes, a prisoner of our minds. We wake up thinking about our day and the thoughts don’t stop even when we lay our head on our pillow at night, for many of us, making a good night’s sleep, a luxury.
Kids may have fears of the dark, or being left alone, or worries about friends or school, but they do not yet suffer from the busy monkey minds that we adults do. They are free, in essence of this never ending stream of thought. This incessant thought that creates stress within us.
3. Emotional rebound Not only do we have this steady stream of thought throughout the day, but we tend to engage emotionally with many of the thoughts that run through our minds. We get sucked down into a cycle of reaction and can be there for minutes, hours, days, weeks, even life times.
Kids have this amazing emotional resiliency. They feel their emotions so fully, in such extreme ways often and then it passes, goes right through them as they turn to engage in what the next moment has to offer. My son, 3 years old, says after he has let a crabby moment pass…”Mommy, I changed my attitude!” What power to be able to do that!
4. Learning Many of us believe that learning only takes place during times of education in our life. Whether it is our formal education or classes or course we take as grown-ups.
Kids are constantly learning, taking in new situations, things, emotions, people and processing this information to make sense out of their world. Kids naturally recognize how learning benefits them, they are able to look at each situation they face with fresh eyes, with free minds and extract the learning they need. Do we recognize that that is how we, as adults, also evolve?
5. Imagination How connected are we to our imagination as adults? Do we actively utilize this amazing part of ourselves to solve our problems, come up with new ideas, design the kind of life we want to lead? We may engage our emotion for a while, but quickly sensor ourselves. We get stuck in the world of “reality”, this physical world, where limitations are placed on what we can and can’t become, can and can’t dream of…at some point in time, we begin to believe that many of things we want to do, to be and to have are impossible to attain.
Each and everyday our children use their imagination in interactions with friends or with family, to solve school work, and in their dreams, what they imagine for themselves. They believe that they can actually be a rock star, a actress, the president of the United States – why shouldn’t they? They know that anything is possible in life, if you see it with your imagination and if you believe it with your heart.
6. Forgiveness I think the older we get, the harder it is for a lot of us to let hurt go. We hang on to wrongs once done to us, often replaying them in our heads for weeks, months, years,maybe lifetimes. How often do we hear the powerful and transformative words, “I’m sorry”? How often do we say them? I grew up with a mother that never said she was sorry, ever, no matter what. She explains it now by saying, “I didn’t want to loose my power, my authority”. Saying sorry isn’t about loosing anything, it is about gaining peace, about letting go and about nurturing relationships.
Have you ever gotten so mad at your kids, yelling and screaming, freaking your kids and yourself out? I have. And when those times have happened, I know I have crossed the line and I am quick to apologize. And my daughter forgives me…a forgiveness that comes from the bottom of her heart. Our default is to feel good, and kids have this nailed. They will do anything to return back to a feel good place and forgiveness is one way they do this.
Get curious!! Look at and notice your children today and the gifts they have for you. Find one thing that they can teach you and write what you discover in the comment space below!!
P.S. Here is a Super TED Talk video by Adora Svitak – What adults can learn from kids