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Typically, we, the adults, are the ones who are teaching and molding our kids. But what if they had some very important life lessons to teach us?
Would we listen?
I’d like to argue that we could all learn a lot from children. So let me have a few minutes of your time as I identify 8 life lessons learned from kids.
Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Children
#1 Children are Quick to Forgive
I love that kids are able to state what they don’t like and when amends are offered, they just forgive and shrug it off. They keep playing. They continue to share. They aren’t held back by their over intellectualization of what just happened.
Can you imagine if we operated at a level like this?
Within my counseling practice, I hear people all the time telling me that they are struggling with forgiveness. And while I get that adult lives are much more complicated and often the hurts are far greater, I think there is still a lesson here.
I’m sure you have heard that forgiveness is actually for the person who is forgiving, not for the one who made offense. If we get to a point where we can forgive, the freedom that ensues is much more satisfying than staying stuck in the pain. Regardless of whether the other person deserves forgiveness or not, being able to forgive is about us and where we are at, not them. On some level, I think children get that!
#2 Children Typically Don’t Pass Judgment
The best example I can give to this happened not too long ago in my own car. I was driving with my two children in the backseat, and I had some of the windows cracked because it was a nice day outside. We approached a stoplight and while we were stopped, I heard my two-year-old son in the back say, “look mama”. I looked around and wasn’t quite sure what he wanted me to see. I then heard him say “hi”.
I had easily overlooked a homeless man standing at the corner, but my son noticed him. It didn’t matter to him what he looked like or what state he was in. He just saw another human being, waved, and acknowledged him with a simple “hi”.
The man was glowing as we drove away. Someone finally “saw” him.
Myself included, we are quick to judge others as adults. And I love that children don’t see stereotypes. They don’t care what you look like, what color you are, or how much money you have, they just see people. I need to take a lesson from my son and just start saying “hi”.
#3 Kids Seek Out Fun Adventures
Think about the last time that you had fun! If it wasn’t today, you could use a reminder that kids embrace fun experiences, and it is important that we do the same. If you look back on your favorite memories, I imagine that they involve some level of a fun adventure.
Having fun ensures that we are laughing and being “carefree” for a certain amount of time that can be replenishing and restorative.
#4 Kids Don’t Hide Their Emotions
I can admit that in some regard this can be frustrating for a caregiver of a child because children can often become quite dramatic in their display of emotions. However, in the general sense, I believe it is a positive thing that they feel so free to express themselves.
What we can learn from this as adults is to learn to express our emotions in an appropriate manner, instead of always keeping things bottled up inside and building up walls around us.
The freedom that comes from expressing our feelings will lead us to deeper connections with others. After all, you cannot connect with someone who is constantly hiding or denying what they feel. That is exactly where relationships break down. When disconnection comes into play, everyone loses.
#5 Children Make Friends Easily
I was recently at the park with my family and some of our friends with their kids. It was so interesting to watch another child walk up to one of my friends’ daughters and say, “hi my name is” and then asked if she wanted to play. They then proceeded to run around the playground, use their imaginations, talk, and laugh.
As adults though, we don’t do that! I imagine that some people would look at us funny if we just went up to them and said, “heywanna be friends’. We always assume that others have an agenda or we just immediately begin judging them for all kinds of reasons.
But what if we put our fears aside and just saw them as a potential great connection? I think we might be pleasantly surprised!
#6 Kids are Excited About Learning
I love this lesson because kids are always learning and enjoy the process of expanding their knowledge. They recognize that there is always something that they could be learning.
I want to be like that! Imagine if we recognized and accepted that we never truly “arrive” and therefore need to continue learning.
I so resonate with this because I want my mind and my wisdom to keep developing. It won’t, if I allow myself to become stagnant. What a disservice that would be to me and to all I have some level of influence with!
#7 Children Don’t Care About Impressing Others
My two year old provides a great lesson here as well. Every morning I take a few minutes to spike up his hair with some grape flavored hair gel. Usually, by the time we get to school, he’s messed it up in some way. And definitely by the time I pick him up, his hair is flat.
So why do I keep doing it? Clearly, he could care less.
Why do we waste so much time on doing and being something that we hope others will find impressive? I know that part of the reason I like to have my kids looking good is because I just thoroughly enjoy their cuteness, but I also believe it reflects a part of my personality.
I think the same is true for us, but I think we take it to the extreme. I love how people want to display themselves, but let’s learn to do it because we enjoy it and want to be known, not because we want to be solely impressive.
#8 Kids Don’t Worry About Things They Can’t Control
How much of our mental capacity is wasted on things that we can’t control? I know that we all fall victim to this mentality, but it really is giving us undue stress.
I love that children have trust that whatever they might begin to worry about is going to be taken care of by someone they can rely on. And again, I realize that our lives are much more complex than a child’s but some of the things we worry about we literally can’t control, so why allow the anxiety to take hold of our emotions?
It doesn’t serve us any purpose, except for raising our blood pressure and sucking the joy out of our daily encounters.
So next time you feel yourself worrying about an issue that you can’t control, take a second and identify if you can make a small change that could alleviate any of your concerns and then be satisfied that you are doing what you can.
If there’s literally nothing you can do, take a deep breath, and let that thought pass.
Let’s learn to take our lead from those little people who are great at embracing joy, as well as shrugging off the gloom.