As a student of life you learn to draw lessons from the most unlikely of sources. One of these sources is children. Although as adults, nature has bestowed upon us the privilege to teach young ones the ways of life, if you stop to think about it, they are constantly teaching you as well.
Of course children don’t sit us down and tell us how to go about doing things. We can learn from children by self-reflecting. Their natural behaviour will teach you a lot about life if you choose to self-reflect on it and aim to be better.
Here are two of the most important things children have taught me.
How to achieve great Success.
Children achieve the greatest feats in a reasonable amount of time. If a baby who was only making blabber noises and barely crawling at 6 months can manage to walk and talk like you and I in just 2 years, who knows what a grown adult can achieve. But what is it that makes children succeed? The answer to that is the qualities they all naturally possess. Qualities that we tend to lose, but can get back, as we grow up. These are:
Creativity. How often do you see children losing themselves in a creative project for hours at a time? No one tells them to be creative they do this instinctively and are driven by curiosity. As we grow older we seem to think creative activities as not worthwhile. Creativity is a skill, the more we practice it, the better we become at it. Being creative is what allows us to be different and stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Perseverance. Most children don’t know what it means to give up. They were willing to put themselves out there over and over and over until they accomplish what they set out to do. They instinctively know that change gradual. They know that they can’t walk in one day, so they try it every day until they learn how to do it. We really do have the potential to do amazing things, we just need to be willing to put the work in and understand that change doesn’t happen overnight. When we accept that change is a gradual process, it’s liberating. We work on putting our best foot forward at all times, one foot at a time. This is how children learn and grow and this is the best way we have to make lasting and measurable life improvements.
Learn by imitation. At first, a child will learn everything by imitating an adult. They are like a sponge, they pick up on even the smallest habits. They typically mimic the actions that work and ignore the ones that don’t. As we grow older we tend to become less observant, instead relying solely on formal instruction for expanding our skill set.
Ask Lots of Questions. Why…? How…? Are we there yet? When kids are not involved in an activity, they are asking an endless series of questions. We stop asking these questions when we become adults. Fear of embarrassment maybe? When we start question how the process work we can find answers no one has ever found. Why should I follow the system and do what everybody is doing? How do I beat the system? You’ll never get an answer to a question you never ask.
How to have happy Relationships.
Looking intently at children can also show you how to develop happy relationships. Here is how they do it:
Every day is a new day. Children live in the present. One of the most harmful attachments we make in life is our attachment to the past and future. Children live mostly enjoying the present moment because they don’t have much past experience nor a concept of the future. But the fact still stands that they live in the present moment, they let go of yesterday’s mistakes and failures and focus on today. This allows them to be happy. They don’t carry any baggage around; every day is a new day with new opportunities and new relationships.
Don’t hold grudges. Children are the masters of letting go of grudges. They don’t dwell on misunderstandings. They would be upset for a while but as soon as you apologise they will be well on their way to forgiving you. That is one reason they have a lot of happy relationships. As we grow older we lose this ability to easily forgive and hold onto grudges. Grudges do more harm to us than to others. Like children we should just let them go.
Laugh every day. Children laugh and smile every day. They find the joy in life every single day. They see humour in almost everything. My little niece wears smile constantly through a typical day. A smile is a powerful tool. It is infectious. A smile can draw others to you. I try to smile as much as she does and I do feel it makes a measurable difference.
Build relationships with love and compassion. Ever noticed how almost everybody, when they see and meet a baby, greet the baby with a smile? They try so hard to show that baby compassion even if that baby cannot talk yet. Why do they do this? Because children mostly reflect the emotions of the person they are interacting with. If you attempt to interact with them with a hostile attitude they will stay away from you, but if you initiate the relationship with love and compassion they will be drawn to you with the same attitude. Adults are the same, any level of hostility can be felt by people and it will make them push back. Even if what you’re saying is the truth, if it’s hurtful then the other person will shut down. Speak to people with love and compassion and you have the ability to create change in them and build better relationships with them.
Value their relationships. They are very few things children love more than hanging out with their friends. If it were up to them, they would never leave their friends’ side. Children admire, respect, and trust their friends unconditionally. Healthy personal relationships are one of the keys to happiness.
Express feelings freely. Children wear their feelings all over their face, visible for all to see. You never have to guess as to whether they are happy, sad, angry or indifferent. Adults, on the other hand, conceal their feelings from others, making it much more difficult to read their reaction and determine how they feel.
Honest. Children are honest. They call it like they see it. Open honesty in conjunction with clear communication builds strong character and healthy relationships with others. When we are honest we win the trust of people in our lives.
So, what lessons have you learned from interacting with children?what important life lessons have children taught you? Something I didn’t mention here?