I’m always telling my kids what they “need” to know in order to have a successful, productive life. Why? Because I know best! That’s right, I am the mom and I know what they need to hear. And certainly I don’t do this for my own pleasure but for the sake of my children’s future.
Ok…well, the real deal is, sometimes I just feel like spewing my own frustrations. When I see my kids making mistakes that I made, I am compelled to let them know what to do and what not do.
But just the other day as I was riding the train to work it occurred to me that there are so many lessons I learn from my kids. Here a just a few.
- Ask For What You Want – No matter what it is, my kids ask for what they want, no hesitation. Even if they may feel they won’t get it, they ask anyway. And I gotta say, even when the answer is NO, my kids ask again. Ultimately, they get exactly what they want. As an adult, I have to weigh all aspects of a situation before I decide to ask for help, for a raise, for a new coat, whatever. Sometimes, I’ve even found that after going through these mental gymnastics, I don’t ask for what I want or need and end up carrying around the unhappy feeling and blaming others for my unhappiness. It’s no one’s fault but mine for not asking. So, I’ve learned to not let fear, doubt or nervousness keep me from asking the question. Even if the answer is NO, I’ve learned to keep moving forward toward my goal.
- Forgive Quickly and Forget – When the kids argue and fight, they never let the issue go beyond the next hour. As a matter of fact, usually within five minutes of an argument the kids are playing and having fun again, as if nothing ever happened. How many grudges have I held on to that have sucked the life right out of me, causing me stress and unhealthy relationships. Who in the world wants to walk around thinking about something awful that happened in the past? Or carrying the burden that someone else put on you for being a jerk?! I am learning to deal with issues in the moment and let them go! Moving on…
- Do What’s Fun – This is pretty obvious. Kids gravitate to things that are fun, things they like to do. As adults we sometimes forget to have fun. How often do I do things that I don’t enjoy, that burden me rather than build me up? That’s not to say that we don’t have to do things that aren’t always fun, as a matter of fact, I recall my college music director saying to the choir, “Do what you have to do, regardless of how you feel.” Well that is true but it is also true that if you aren’t doing more of what you enjoy, than what you don’t enjoy, your life will not be fulfilled. You’ll spend time living for the moments you’re away from work instead of enjoying the moments doing it. Work at what you enjoy doing. And not just that, kick the Bucket List habit. Instead of making the list, DO THE LIST TODAY! For we know tomorrow is not promised.
- Focus On What You Do Best – We all have strengths and weaknesses. Why work hard at trying to change my weaknesses into strengths. I am not a good cook, don’t enjoy cooking, and don’t really care to be one. Cooking just isn’t my gift. Instead, if I focus on what I do best, then I’ll achieve success. My daughter Kyli is a go getter. She never wants to stop doing and going from one activity to another. She sings, acts, plays several instruments, writes, and has an overall creative spirit. I wonder where she gets her creativity. None the less, while she has all of these great characteristics, she’s not the all-American athlete. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t try her best but she knows what she likes and what she is naturally good at doing. We all need to focus on what we naturally do well. Our gifts will make room for new opportunities.
- Spend Time With Your Friends – Kids can take this to the extreme BUT friends are important for a healthy balanced life. With all the planned and unplanned family activities from vacation, sporting events, holiday dinners and even church on Sunday, we spend a lot of time with each other. Nothing takes the place of family time. But if we only spend time with each other we miss out on new experiences, different points of view, learning opportunities and fun. I’m guilty of not spending enough time with my friends, women who I say are my best friends, my backbone. Sometimes, the closest I get to hanging out is when I schedule time for the kids to get together for a playdate. What is wrong with me? And what’s wrong with you for not hanging with your girls?! Let’s do lunch!
Ok, so these words of wisdom may not have been as deep as you were expecting. I am thankful though that my kids in their innocence teach me to be wiser.
So it goes…