While we spend a lot of time teaching children, we fail to see that we also have a lot of things to learn from them as well. We mostly get caught up with all the chores asssociated with ensuring they are well cared for that we miss the salient lessons that flash in between the cleaning, wiping, changing, school runs etc. Here are 14 good lessons that children can teach us:
- Laughter! Don’t I love this one? Children can haha at anything. Even when they fall down, they get up then give a hearty laughter. If that is not adorable and worthy of emulation then I don’t know what is. Adults laugh on average 5 times a day, while children laugh average 300 times a day! Wow. While laughing at a problem will not make it go away directly, it makes the problem a little less serious for one, then affords you more clarity of mind to go on to tackle it effectively.
Trying to solve a problem when one is uptight hardly helps.
To eradicate toxic people from life. If children don't like someone, they show it openly. They either fight or ignore or pick up their toys and go home. Simple! No pretenses, no needless drama. They don't let anyone drain their energy and make them angry. How something so easy like this becomes so difficult for most of us adults is bemusing. Even dogs, when they like you they wag their tail, and when they don’t, they bark at you. Pretty straightforward, no complications.
Children are never angry for days or weeks. I find this trait particularly admirable. They will cry and scream but an hour later or even less, you see them watching their favourite cartoon. Their earlier anger or source of it totally forgotten! There is simply no way you can be like this and have emotional baggage to lug around. We adults are wont to hug hurtful memories tightly to our chest, we emblazon it on our heart like a form of badge and got rewarded with a sour visage – our emotional health suffers for it.
Children do not tolerate boredom. They are always in action. The reason they do not have the time for moping about or lugging emotional baggage about is; they keep themselves busy with their own sort of busyness or what busyness is at their level. When they are not playing with friends, they are making craft, drawing stuff or watching cartoon.
- Children are willing to do something new and suck at it. While we are not encouraging mediocrity, I think the bane of many adults starting anything worth the while is the word ‘perfection’. They either want to start very big or picture perfect - every ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed. Again while this is good, fixation with perfection at the beginning of a venture could be a big problem. Sometimes, ‘good enough’ is just okay to get things going, one can then improve as one journeys as perfection is never a destination, but a journey.
This is another instance where children are a complete contrast to adults. They are willing to make a complete fool of themselves at the early stage of any venture that catches their fancy. They don't think they need to be professional singers to sing their favourite song or expert dancers to sway to their favourite music in front of everyone. They just care for fun.
Children are curious. They ask a whole bunch of stupid and smart questions unapologetically. Even the questions we call stupid are only stupid to us adults. Not to them as that is how they learn and discover.
Children are genuinely grateful. Although the society transforms them into thinking that they will be happy only if they get the newest Batman, Barbie, Luke Skywalker or whatever is trendy, children are inherently happy creatures. And it doesn’t take much to get them gushing in utmost happiness and gratitude. I once bought a pair of earrings for my niece and she went about telling everyone including our dog how it was ‘OY’ that bought the earrings she was wearing, and how she liked them very much.
Children are joyful by default. They find something to enjoy and be happy about every single day. They get up psyched about the day ahead – fully alive! They might get upset and cry in the course of the day, but they always find their way back to their default joyful mode. Many adults seem to be dour by default. Laughter and sunshine punctuate the sad run once in a while after which they promptly revert to default settings.
They are artists and they are aware of it. They are making one sketch after another, one lego structure after another. They play, they destroy, they start over. They never wonder: "OMG, does this sketch truly represent me? Am I really an artist now?" They just do they work. Of course they are artists.
Children look into the world with new eyes and the beginner's mind. They don't pretend they understand how things work. They are not trying to prove their expertise. They look at what is happening right in front of them with curiosity and ability to astonish. According to Jostein Gaarder, that's what makes them philosophers.
They pay compliments and they mean it. My 3-year old niece once told me ‘OY, I like your lipstick. You are beautiful.’ It was one of the purest compliments I have ever gotten in my life. I could see it came straight from her heart. No guile, no pretenses.
What about their books and cartoons? There are a whole lot of lessons to learn from there. So while reading them their favourite storybooks, don’t forget to grasp the simple but salient lessons that you can apply to your adult life.
- They teach you that you learn more from losing than winning. How many times have we fallen down when we were kids? 10 times? 50 times? 100? If you do not remember your own futile attempts at standing and walking, look at children around you who are in that stage to have a clue of how it was for you then. They stand, fall, stand, fall and many more repetition of that motion but they don’t give up. We never gave up then, so why then do we lose faith in ourselves when we encounter failure?
Failure is part of life. Life doesn’t promise anyone a smooth run; it only promises it would be worth it.
- Children question and stand up to stereotype. And you had better had good and satisfactory answers or they would not relent. You either convince them or be ready to bin your stereotype.