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On Life: Ten Lessons We Learn From Our Children…

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“You cannot catch a child‘s spirit by running after it; you must stand still and for love it will soon itself return.” Arthur Miller

On Life: Ten Lessons We Learn From Our Children... patience & play

Patience – Nothing teaches patience more than handling a bawling, colicky baby… we learn it in other ways too; through toddler tantrums, scrapped knees and more.
Compassion – Children have a lot to comprehend as they go from babies to toddlers, and compassion is a skill they help us remember.
Flexibility – Kids can be demanding, but they offer flexibility in other ways; their curiosity and their willingness to come along with us to do and learn new things.

Were you a difficult child or an easy child to your parents? Did they tell you that your bratty ways will catch up with you when you end up with bratty children? When we were growing up, a popular refrain we heard, especially when we misbehaved, was… “one day, you’ll be a parent and your child will do same.” Sure, for those of us who ended up having children; our own, our nieces and nephews or godchildren, we soon learned that children are a gift with life long lessons they teach us. For one thing, once a child came into the picture, our selfish ways had to take a back seat and our focus turned to our children… Sure, in dysfunctional settings it was a somewhat different story but the basics were there for all to learn.

“The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” Aldous Huxley

On Life: Ten Lessons We Learn From Our Children... love & trust

Love – Children love us unconditionally and without malice… we learn from the simplicity they bring to loving us; their expectations are simple.
Play – Play is the world children create and share with us… we can shift our thinking when we go along for the ride.
Curiosity – This is an area where our children rule the roost. I have not met a child who wasn’t curious about their surroundings and their faces light up when they see something colorful or something that moves; insects, flowers, mechanical toys… We can rekindle ours by going back there.
Trust – This is a critical element in any relationship, and one that leaves scars when broken. Children are completely trusting of the adults who care for them and they depend on our care for sustenance… we need to remember the value and power of trust… and reconnect with it in our relationships too.

Sometimes, we take our loving relationships for granted until we have children who are completely dependent on us for all their needs… Their love is complete and trusting, and when they play they put all of themselves into it with maximum focus. Such is the curiosity of children that we can leave them to play for hours and they won’t be bored. We can take that playfulness they share with us and add it to the fabric of our lives; making it work by rejuvenating our lives.

“If we wish to create a lasting peace we must begin with the children.” Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi

On Life: Ten Lessons We Learn From Our Children... creativity & fun

Fun – Fun, like play, is a huge part of childhood. Think about the memories you hold dear form your early years… I bet many had to do with humor, laughter and fun times… We all love to either entertain or be entertained…and we can still follow that cue.
Resilience/Relentlessness – Everyone talks about the resilience of children and how they adapt to new and sometimes difficult situations. We can also shift our thinking and make the necessary adjustments to help us get from point A to B… and with effort and that doggedness we had as kids, we will be fine…
Creativity – Our creativity stagnates when we impose too many rules on what we think is “good” or “bad” work. We can go back to a beginner’s mindset and learn new things with ease and humility… that’s why kids learn languages easily; they are not ashamed to make a mistake… lessons abound.

When I became a parent, I knew there was a lot to learn and no manual… The love and support of my friends and family, common sense on my part and my spouse, and the forgiving, open hands and love of our babies meant we had a chance to do something right. Were we perfect? Nobody is… Did we have all the answers? No. But we gave it our all and our babies were right there teaching us as much as they were learning from us… that is priceless. What about you? What are your thoughts? What lessons did you teach your parents? How/what did your children teach you? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from MamaKat’s Writers Workshop: 10 Lessons your child could teach you.

Positive Motivation Tip: We are all in the school of life and we learn from our children as much as they learn from us.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Children from all areas Namibian children,  and pre school kids via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

27 Comments leave one →
  1. 16/08/2011 12:36 am

    Beautiful post again Eliz! I don’t have any children (yet) so there’s nothing to learn from them but I guess you are right with what you say we can learn 🙂

    • 16/08/2011 12:52 am

      TY Lian! It caught my eye because it wasn’t a topic about teaching our children XYZ but instead, it was turning the tables and making us think about learning from/ and along with them. My children still teach me today about the teen sensibility and more. 🙂

  2. 16/08/2011 12:51 am

    i love that fun & creativity part. =) those are the things we, grown-ups, usually forget. Nice bumping into this page of yours!

  3. 16/08/2011 1:20 am

    We can learn a lot from our children if we open our eyes and see things as they see them – simplicity is what they understand, and it’s so refreshing to see things from a child’s viewpoint. I am still learning from my children (and my pets)!

  4. 16/08/2011 1:29 am

    The first stage in a child’s psychosocial development is trust vs. mistrust. I am not yet a parent. I am still trying to nurture myself, learn from good parents so that someday I’ll be, if not a great one, a better one.

  5. 16/08/2011 3:19 am

    You forgot one – contentment. There’s nothing like the happiness of a content child; or the contentment of snuggling together.

  6. 16/08/2011 3:46 am

    Great post.I can learn all of them but the most important thing is love.:)

  7. 16/08/2011 8:06 am

    I think about my childhood often when I look at Li’l D. I’m told I was delightful for the first fifteen months, at which point my sister came along and I made it my mission to see her disposes of. Eventually I got over my determination to be an only child, even if it took me another decade or so to cease my terrorization of them; I’m glad I did so, too, because my siblings were my greatest joy through childhood!

    Li’l D teaches me all the things you mention above. Also, he taught me so clearly, in the moment he was first placed on my chest and in every moment since, one of the most marvelous lessons of my life so far: that all my fear I’d be an abuser too was unfounded. Through this little man’s influence in my life, I have learned–as a friend once told me I would–there is none of that in me, and this was a magnificent burden to be freed from.

  8. 16/08/2011 8:58 am

    Elizabeth! You said it so perfectly! What a beautiful post. 🙂

  9. 16/08/2011 10:27 am

    Great post Elizabeth. I have to tell you that I’ve actually had the pleasure of seeing the son who often heard, “Someday you’ll have a kid just like YOU.” experience a son JUST like him!
    Feels good!

  10. 16/08/2011 10:36 am

    So lucky to be helping raise my youngest son’s grandchildren. Barbara, one thing we learn is life teaches parents some things children cannot know. I always told my students becoming a full care parent almost always bestows a different perspective on why good parents sometimes do bad things; it is a perspective children rarely get. As I say, “Share, care, and stay strong.”

  11. 16/08/2011 11:55 am

    I enjoyed this and your list. There is nothing more pleasing than a child playing, having fun and exploring their creativity

  12. 16/08/2011 2:38 pm

    We do not stop having fun because we grow old . . . we grow old if we stop having fun. 😀

  13. 16/08/2011 3:04 pm

    I haven’t had children yet, but I was called the tiny battle axe… So I think I’m in for a lot of learning about patience, compassion and all the rest!!

  14. 16/08/2011 3:53 pm

    I think my kids often kept a mirror in front of me. I liked that. My husband and I preferred to have the children speak out their feelings from the time they were little boys. I didn’t grow up with that freedom of speech. Now we can really have good conversations with each other and discussions about things. From what I understand I was a good girl growing up. I like this topic. And the pictures too. Great post Elizabeth.

  15. 16/08/2011 5:10 pm

    Love post, Elizabeth. Such a pity adults can’t preserve some of qualities of children.

  16. 16/08/2011 10:00 pm

    Amen to that top ten list. As a teacher, I have learned so many life lessons. And it’s made me a much better person.

  17. 17/08/2011 11:19 am

    “When we got married, your dad and I had the best intentions not to repeat the mistakes our parents made with us. I think we succeeded, most of the time, but…well,… we invented new ones.” Source: My mom.

  18. 17/08/2011 4:40 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but I have learned many lessons from my nieces, nephews, friends’ kids, kids I taught in preschool, kids I babysat, kids I watched in the church nursery and just kids I have seen around. You don’t have to be a parent to have learned life lessons from children. I personally can NOT wait until the day I have children of my own and get to learn even more as well as teaching THEM. 🙂

  19. 17/08/2011 10:50 pm

    Kids are wiser than we give them credit.
    Malidome Some, who’s from Burkina Faso, wrote in his biography that in his village the young boys are close to their grandfathers because the child has knowledge from the place where the grandfather’s going. I think of that when I see babies and young children. I wish we could embrace and encourage them to share their secrets and teach us.

  20. 21/08/2011 2:28 am

    ♥Flexibility – Kids can be demanding,
    but they offer flexibility in other ways …
    right you are, Eliz 🙂
    (my result after I met thousands of children …)

  21. 22/08/2011 8:42 am

    Came over from mama kats…loved reading your post, very true indeed!

  22. 22/08/2011 5:08 pm

    Beautiful…. well written…..


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