We start out on our parenting journey with the goal to teach our children as much as we possibly can, but if we pay close attention and leave ourselves open to it, there is much that we can learn from them as well...
1. Celebrate the small wins – I don’t know exactly when it happens but somewhere in our growth from small children to adults, we start beating ourselves up and become our hardest critics. If we lose 1 lb, we wallow that it's not 2 lbs or if we get a B on a paper, we beat ourselves up that it wasn’t an A. A young child celebrates everything no matter how small or how redundant. Even if they don’t get something right 100% of the time, they celebrate their successes rather than brooding about their failures.
2. Be persistent – Current failures lead to future successes and in most circumstances, you can expect to fail a few times before you get something right. From my daughter, Sydney, I’ve learned the value of persistence over getting it right immediately and the value of getting better over being best.
3. Be determined – There is literally nothing that Sydney doesn’t think she can do. Sometimes it's downright frightening at how fearless she is. But you know what? Aside from things that she’s physically incapable of, most things she sets her mind to, she learns. She shoots for the stars and eventually reaches them.
4. Be patient – When you hear the word child, the last thing that you probably think of is patience. They're not known for their delayed gratification. It is true that children don’t like to wait for things that they want, but when they’ve set their mind on something like learning how to eat with a spoon, put on their pants or brush their own teeth, you can count on the clock stopping. They give themselves plenty of time to learn these new skills rather than being frustrated when they don’t get it immediately.
5. Be bold – Don’t be afraid to stand out in the crowd and be the only one doing something. If you want it, go for it rather than not going for it because you’re concerned about what everyone is going to think. Don't think too much about people laughing at you or judging you.
6. Be honest – The truth hurts, so as adults we abandon the truth too much to spare the feelings of others. Hearing the truth can be painful but it's often what we need to grow and develop. When we aren’t completely honest with people, we may spare their feelings in the short term but at the same time, stifle their long term growth.
7. Be carefree – We don’t always have to be serious just because we’re adults. There are times when its okay to put the worrying on the backburner, live in the moment and just have fun. The fun doesn’t have to have a desired outcome or purpose, it can be just fun.
8. Be vocal – My daughter tells me she loves me at least 100 times a day. Yes, its because she just learned how to say “I love you” but the point is that we start to take things and people for granted and just assume that they know things like that we love them. If you love someone or appreciate them, don’t be afraid to tell them too much. I would rather tell someone I love them too much than not enough.
9. Be happy - Do what you love. As adults, we have bills to pay and can’t just abandon our responsibilities to follow our dreams but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do what we like to do in our spare time. If you love to write or draw, do it when you can, even if its just a few minutes here and there rather than giving it up completely. Doing what we love helps us to be happy and happiness gives us better quality lives.
10. Be present – There are so many things that I just whizzed by in my daily busy life before having my Sydney. Seeing the world through the eyes of someone who is discovering it for the first time has caused me to slow down, take every thing in and be present.