We’re quick to get used to the idea that we teach our children everything they need to know about life, love and the universe. But, ask most parents humble enough to admit it and they’ll tell you that they’ve learnt a fair amount from their kids too. Not lessons on how to smuggle free food into the movie theatre. But, real life lessons. Ones that count.
Some of the most important lessons in life come from the shortest members of our family. These include:
- Always share your toys (or the things that bring you joy). Katie’s mantra, “sharing is caring”, may be a Barneyism, but it’s true. Sharing brings happiness and teaches us to think about others.
- Dance. Always, always dance. Seize every opportunity to hear the music (REALLY hear it) and have some fun. Not only does this get you moving and working up a sweat, but it also gives you a few minutes’ time out to appreciate the sheer joy of dance. And chances are that you’ll never see the people in the car next to you again. So, give them a show to remember.
- Get dirty. Play with the soil, jump in the puddle, touch the slug. This gives you such an appreciation for the world around us and teaches you that chilling out is just so much more fun than having sterile hands.
- We can do so much more than others (and we ourselves) think. Be brave. Kids are constantly pushing the boundaries, unhindered by safety or social norms. They’ll try just about anything. As adults, we tend to listen to the doubtful (disguised as mature) voice in our heads that tells us not to try new things. But, if we tried them with the confidence and carefree adventure that children have, we would almost definitely find out so much about ourselves and the world around us.
- You don’t have to look good in photos; or anywhere, really. In fact, some of my favourite pics are those where my friends and I are pulling silly faces. I’m not worried about love handles or freckles, I’m laughing at the photo. If we can relax about our appearance in photos, we will be more likely to be savouring the fun times.
- Wear comfortable shoes. What kid cares what their shoes look like? As long as they’re comfy, they’re fine. As we get older, our foot comfort can be the make-or-break of how much we enjoy an experience. I love heels as much as the next girl, but not enough to sacrifice an adventure.
- We tend to feel guilty about taking time out, while little ones feel nothing about spending a day on the couch watching DVDs. As responsible adults, we know we can’t make this a lifestyle, but there’s a lot to be said for the restorative value of spending a rainy day doing nothing. R&R works.
- Manners are important in all spheres of life. Teaching our children to say “please” is about so much more. In business, friendships and all other situations, manners are a must and will get you so much further in life.