We teach children so many different things. However, it is important to remember that we can also learn a lot from them too.
Children are so forgiving. There will always be days when we aren’t our best selves, yet children move on from those moments and love us anyway. We are all human and imperfect by nature and life will automatically present us with lessons that will challenge us to learn and grow. Sometimes we just need to see the lesson in front of us, forgive and move on. One of my favourite quotes by Nelson Mandela is that holding on to resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting someone else to die. We don’t need to accept someone’s bad behaviour, especially if it continues. However, we can certainly find a way to forgive and move on so that it doesn’t affect our own future.
Children see greatness in the simplest of things. A stick or a puddle can create so much joy and give them hours of fun and they are never happier than when they merely have our time and attention. In this fast-paced world that we live in it, can be easy to forget to appreciate the simple things in life. Some days we should just stand still, look around, see the beauty in the things that can’t be bought and appreciate all the small blessings that we already have.
Children trust that everything will be okay. They live in the present and barely worry about the future. They count down the days until Santa comes and wait excitedly for the Tooth Fairy to bring them a coin. As adults we sometimes lose faith and forget that there is magic all around us. If we know where we want to go and work hard to get there, maybe then it’s just about having faith that what’s meant for us won’t pass us by, and that no matter what happens, everything will be okay. There can only be rainbows after the rain. Maybe we just need to dance in that rain until the clouds clear.
That classic phrase ‘out of the mouths of babes’ is so true. Children speak without a filter and are authentically themselves. There is a lot to be said for honest communication, yet as adults we sometimes find it hard. A lot of the time we choose kindness over honesty, but maybe we need to realise that we can have both. Honesty does not have to lead to confrontation, but it will always lead to authenticity.
Children live in the moment. They don’t dwell on the past or think too far in the future and they just get emersed in whatever exciting game they are playing at the time. As adults, we get lost in to-do lists and thoughts about what has been or what’s to come. We can’t change the past and most of what we worry about in the future never happens, so maybe we could try to be more present and just fully appreciate and enjoy what is happening right in front of us now.
Children laugh all the time. The smallest of things will send them into a fit of laughter and make them howl with delight. It is totally contagious and usually makes everyone around them laugh too. When did we, as adults, stop laughing so much? Somewhere along the way, we lose our childlike, carefree qualities and laughter became less frequent. Maybe we need to take a leaf out of our children’s book and laugh at the small things until our bellies hurt.
Children do not judge. They ask questions and explore ideas, but ultimately, if they are not presented with judgemental beliefs, they will accept whatever is presented to them in a light-hearted, matter of fact way. As adults we could learn a lot from this. Differences should be celebrated. If we lived in a society that lived and let live, the world would be a much kinder place.
Children have no problem with expressing how they feel. If a child is sad or angry, there’s a good chance that we will know about it because they rarely tend to hold back. However, most of the time, after a good scream, they will dust themselves off and go on their way. How many times as adults, do we hold back what we feel? Sometimes we hold back our feelings so much that they come out in other ways and at times that are not related to the problem. If we could learn to express how we feel in the moment (maybe in a more balanced way than throwing ourselves on the floor in a tantrum!), we would feel much more balanced and hold on to less frustration.
Children are our greatest teachers. Not only do they live in a way that is free and authentic, but they also show us things about ourselves. They develop our patience and communication skills and at times test our limits. However, they also show us the most amazing ways to see joy in things that, as adults, would probably go unnoticed. As much as we are here to guide our children and lead them down a path of happiness and success, I genuinely believe that if we look closely enough at who they are and what they do, they will teach us as adults more than we could ever realise.
About the author:
Stacey Kelly is a former French and Spanish teacher, a parent to 2 beautiful babies and the founder of Early Years Story Box. After becoming a mum, Stacey left her teaching career and started writing and illustrating storybooks to help support her children through different transitional stages like leaving nursery and starting school. Seeing the positive impact of her books on her children’s emotional wellbeing led to Early Years Story Box being born. Stacey has now created 35 storybooks, all inspired by her own children, to help teach different life lessons and to prepare children for their next steps. She has an exclusive collection for childcare settings that are gifted on special occasions like first/last days, birthdays, Christmas and/or Easter and has recently launched a new collection for parents too. Her mission is to support as many children as she can through storytime and to give childcare settings an affordable and special gifting solution that truly makes a difference.
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