When the Teacher Becomes the Student! Life Lessons From a Three Year Old
Most days I work tirelessly to teach my daughter's skills; life, school, social ... you name it, I take most opportunities for a lesson. Throughout our day I worry often if they are learning enough and if we making good use of our time. I worry if she is watching too much tv, if we are reading enough books, does she know how to count, be kind, follow rules, zipper her coat, use her napkin etc. With a million things to learn I feel like it’s my job to teach it all.
When I became a mom, I knew that these little people in front of me had to learn so much. They had to learn everything from scratch, basically how to be a person! They have to learn it all, how to talk, roll over, crawl, walk, eat, use spoons and sippy cups ... the list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming. You ask yourself, am I doing enough, exposing them to enough, taking them to enough places/activities? We all want our children to learn and be productive. We want them to be good people, be intelligent and have good habits. What I didn’t see coming was all the lessons I knew I had to teach, was what I would learn by spending time with them. As much as I am their guide and their teacher, they are also my guide and teacher in the most soul changing ways.
What I’ve learned in my last three years as a parent has changed me as a person. My three year old has taught me so much about the world and how to view it. It's almost as if she brings me back to reality to focus on what is truly important. She gives me new perspectives that only a three year old can. She is honest about the world around her and tells it like it is. Here are some of the most important life lessons I have learned from my three year old.
When you are wrong, apologize
When we become adults, so many times we can’t get passed our pride to apologize or we think we are always right. I am actively working on being able to swallow my pride and freely apologize when I am in the wrong on a daily basis. My daughter has been such an example to me in this area. When she does something she is the first to offer an apology and request a hug. She freely admits when she wasn’t doing the right thing with an honesty that can only be commended. I hope she always stays humble and is able to admit when she is wrong and I will take her sweetness, innocence and pure of heart as a model goal.
Everyone knows little ones have tons of questions. They ask and ask and ask, eager to learn and find out information. They are not afraid to ask what they don’t know. If you don’t know something, find someone who knows the answer. Question what’s around you, that’s how new ideas are formed and change occurs. Learning is how we grow no matter what age.
There’s always time for play
Enjoy life! All work and no play makes for a dreary soul. Be sure to always make time for enjoyment and play. Do what you love!
There is beauty all around us
Seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes is truly a wonder. I can’t count how many times we’ve walked into a store that I have been in a million times, clearly unimpressed, yet, her eyes light up and she says “Wow it’s so beautiful in here mommy!” She finds beauty everywhere we go, whether it be people, their clothes, stores, nature etc. She notices what I take for granted. She recognizes how wonderful the world is and appreciates it’s beauty. Two of my favorite examples of her keen sense of beauty was once we found a spider in our house. I ran to grab a tissue, of course, and she sat there in wonder and amazement over what he looked like, describing him in every detail, calling him small and cute and a friend. I unfortunately was not as impressed. Then the other was a person we saw in a store wearing quite an interesting outfit. My daughter looked at her and could not stop complimenting everything she noticed that she liked about how the lady was dressed. She appreciates others and looks at the world with amazement, always noticing the beauty.
Sometimes when you’re an adult, the world and stress of life gets the best of you and whether you like it or not your mood reflects that. When the world is weighing on my shoulders she is always there to offer a “Just be happy Mommy”. She notices the mood or look on my face and snaps me back to what’s important and that happiness is a choice. You have a choice how to look at any given situation and it’s up to you to be happy. Choose happiness always.
Creativity is everywhere
There is always an opportunity to be creative. Any item has multiple uses and imagination is endless. No great idea started with looking at something in the same way you always saw it. Use your creativity to make your life exciting.
Stand your ground
Now this one has it’s good and bad. When it comes to children, standing your ground can sometimes mean battles over toys, bed, brushing teeth, what to wear, putting shoes on etc. However I admire her ability to know what she wants and to go for it!
Being outside is good for the soul
No one loves a trip to the playground, walk in the park, trip to the beach or any outing really, more than my daughter. She points out every bird, flower, tall tree, cloud and animal she sees and comes in the house a happier child. Our souls crave nature and connection with the outdoors. Being outside gives us fresh air and is so good for us. Do it more!
No matter what, my daughter just loves. She could have just gotten in trouble and she will ask for a hug. She never holds a grudge and just loves, no conditions. She accepts faults and apologies and has a genuine heart. She is a true example of what unconditional love means and how to display it.
She will do anything for a laugh. Not a day goes by that laughter does not play a huge part. Laughing feels great and sometimes us adults just take things too seriously. I’ve learned from her to lighten up a bit and have a good laugh.
As a mom of two children sometimes I’m just dragging. I want to relax on the couch and she is running around dancing and singing into her princess microphone. She knows the importance of being active, taking any opportunity to perfect her jumps, run outside and just keep moving. I envy her energy and wish she could share it with me. I have also learned that when I join in I somehow end up with more energy myself. Being active feels great, she’s onto something.
Everyone has something to offer
My daughter has taught me that everyone has something. She finds the good and worth in all whom she meets and often spends the rest of the day talking about what she loves about others whether it be what someone said, how they played, what they showed her, how they looked. She always finds something in people to enjoy and doesn’t seem to notice anyone’s quirks and if she does she doesn’t judge. She takes people how they are and appreciates differences. I think as adults we start to form categories, types, and pin people into labels before we truly get to know them. She has taught me that no matter what a first impression is everyone has something to offer and there is something valuable in each individual. Focus on the good and each person’s strengths.
I know I will continue to learn from both my girls as time moves on. Children have a pure way of seeing the world. They poses a pureness of heart that I think sometimes adults lose as they get older. So next time life is getting crazy and your anxieties or negativities get the best of you, look to your children for how to live and truly enjoy all the wonders of the world.