As parents we do our best to raise our kids well and to help them work out the world, even when we don’t fully understand it ourselves! While there’s a lot of value in the lessons we impart, I think there’s plenty we can learn from our children as well. Here are some of the things my kids have taught me.
Be where you are/it’s okay to stare at the concrete sometimes
One day when my son was small we were walking down to the shops. The distance we had to cover was about 100 metres, and it literally took us an hour. The third time we stopped to look at a particularly interesting patch of concrete my frustration levels were maxing out. Then I watched my son for a moment (read: made myself breathe so I didn’t yell). He was so absorbed in what we were doing, and I wondered – why am I rushing? Spending time with my son was all I had planned for the day. Sometimes there are tasks that need to be accomplished in a timely fashion, but sometimes it’s okay to stop and stare at the concrete.
Hold offences lightly
As is often the case in life, my son doesn’t always see eye to eye with other kids. From disagreements over toys to raging discussions about who gets to be chief fireman, there are plenty of heated debates to be had in the world of a four-year-old. It never lasts long though. One minute they’ll be arguing about something, and the next they’ll be playing happily together, the fight forgotten. When we go home for the day it’s never the argument he remembers – it’s always the fun times with his friends. I want to be able to let go of grievances that easily.
You don’t need music to dance
There’s definitely an analogy in here somewhere, but even on a literal level it’s true. My daughter will dance to anything. I’ll be grating carrots and I’ll turn around to see her grooving to the beat. I love that she listens differently and just enjoys a good dance. It gives me hope that one day she’ll be part of one of those fun movie montages where the characters all use everyday sounds to burst into song. Or, you know, just keep being happy to be herself.
Sometimes magic happens when you least expect it
Last week I was having a really crappy day. I was tired, the kids were grumpy, and it just felt like everything was too hard. Then we were driving somewhere, and my daughter made a noise that made my son laugh. Which in turn made my daughter laugh. Which made my son laugh harder. Then I started laughing as well, and a day that I’d been despairing of was suddenly filled with a magical moment of joy.
Parenting can be such a rollercoaster ride, but those moments of magic are such precious things to treasure. I want to teach my kids and I want to do it well – but I hope I never forget that there’s a lot to learn from them as well.