Written by Dr Priscilla J S Selvaraj and published on 03 June 2021.
As parents, usually it is we who impart lessons to our children. Well, did you know that there are a few valuable lessons we too can, in turn, learn from our children?
"The child is the father of the man" - William Wordsworth
The moment we don the role of parents, we tell ourselves that we should teach, preach and impart lessons. But, that is not so. Our learning must continue into adulthood. And, parenting teaches us a lot of lessons. In fact, there are a few important lessons we can learn from none other than our precious little ones. Here are seven valuable lessons for us:
1. Be happy: Young children are by nature full of happiness. Their joy, in fact, spreads to all those who are around them. Your little ones are not bowed down under the weight of burdens and pressures that grown-up life has to offer. They lead carefree lives. Let us 'emulate our children' for once and learn to be happy! Let us set aside time for unwinding, bonding, and leisure activities. Children live 'for the moment' and enjoy every second of the day. Let us also be like them and take life as it comes—one moment at a time. Let us not worry about the morrow forgetting the pleasures of the moment.
2. Accept what you are: Which child doesn't look at his reflection in the mirror and smile? But, we, parents, cringe and frown at every blemish on the skin. Children look beyond the superficial facade. We too, need to be like them and learn to accept ourselves despite any flaws or weaknesses we may have. Rather than focusing on what we aren't, let us learn to focus on what we are and pat our own backs. Self-appreciation is a key lesson we need to learn from our tiny tots. How many times does our little one clap his hands in glee when he has accomplished something—even if his 'achievement' may be as simple as emptying his glass of milk? Yes, we need to learn to accept ourselves for what we are.
3. Express your feelings: Whether it is joy, disappointment, anger, or any other emotion, young children do not hesitate to reveal what they feel. This has to be another important takeaway for us. Suppressing our feelings, especially negative ones, will only affect both our physical and mental health. Let us learn to accept our feelings then and there. Also, let us express our happiness and other positive feelings too. This will spread warmth all around us. Expressing feelings appropriately is a sign of transparency in one's nature. Let us 'imbibe' that quality from our precious little ones.
4. Know no evil: Children are innocent—they do not perceive anything wicked or evil. They do not form preconceived notions or sit on the judgment of others. We need to allow some of our children's innocence to rub onto us so that we can be like them—spontaneous but non-judgemental. This will ensure that we do not breed any negativity in our hearts.
5. Keep persevering: Children rarely give up. How often have we observed a baby trying to reach out to grab her favorite toy that has been placed high up? Does she give up? Never! It doesn't matter that she cannot reach it. She manages to draw our attention to it—be it through her imploring eyes or her shrill coos—and gets to hold her toy. Such perseverance is something we, adults, need. We must never take our gaze away from our goals in life, but keep on plodding ahead.
6. Take risks: Children and adventure are synonymous. They love to explore and try out new things. Their curiosity opens their minds to challenges. Let us also learn to be like them and accept what life has to offer us boldly. For, without risks, true success can never be attained.
7. Offer unconditional love: The tiny baby clinging on to its mother, the toddler holding on firmly to his father's hand, the tiny tot gazing at you with admiration—all of them love you so much, without expecting anything in return. It is only we, grown-ups, who expect to receive something in place of the love we offer. A child's smile, gaze, laughter—everything spells clearly of love. Let us learn to love like them freely and fully.