My kids are going into the second week of a two-week spring break. If you are a parent you know that statement is a mixed bag. With all our together time I’ve been thinking about how our kids can be our greatest teachers. As parents they push and stretch us to levels we didn’t even know were there. Not only are relationships in general specifically tailored for our learning and growth, that’s actually part of the reason we enter in to them in the first place! The parent/child relationship is no different. Even if you don’t have kids yourself you can still get some great take-aways from these tips. Below are a few ways kids show up to “school” us in life!
Lesson 1 : Being Present
Have you ever noticed how when children are engaged in a task every part of them is hyper focused on what they are doing? They aren’t thinking about their to-do list or the fact that they have school in 30 minutes and they need to get this and that done. Obviously as adults we have other things to manage besides who we are going to sit next to at circle time. Yet adopting this mindset for periods of time throughout our day will increase productivity and quality of work. Try setting a timer on your phone or computer and focusing on one thing for a specific amount of time. I’ve noticed huge shifts in my work when I cultivate this habit.
Lesson 2 : Curiosity
Children are naturally curious. Curiosity fuels their development and insures they are learning new things. When I watch my children approach a new task they aren’t familiar with they are excited and willing. They have no story around how they can or can’t do something. Start getting curious about the things and people around you and you will see a whole new world open up. This works great in relationship with my husband. When I can be curious about his point of view, instead of judgmental, it’s so much easier to be accepting of his approach. When I approach tasks in business with curiosity it makes mundane tasks more interesting and trying new things a lot less daunting.
Lesson 2 : Expressing emotions
What does a 5 year old do when he is upset? He lets you know he is upset! Younger kids don’t stuff feelings until they learn that behavior from us. Think about it. It’s completely natural for kids to have a tantrum and then immediately get over whatever it was that was bothering them. That’s what feelings are meant for. When we can take a back seat and let them pass through us – instead of define us – they normally fade away. Ride your feelings like waves instead of judging yourself for having them and stuffing them down. They will always surface later and possibly at a less convenient time. I even give myself permission to have an adult temper tantrum. I scream and yell and pound on a pillow if I need to. Do I look ridiculous? Absolutely! Yet after I always feel clear and ready to move on.
The great news is that these are all qualities inside of us and cultivating them regularly only makes them stronger. We know how to do them, it’s giving ourselves permission that is the key. I’m curious to hear how they work for you!