I have kids of my own and I find that I am a better person because of these kids. As they grow older, I realize the wisdom in the verse from the Bible that says, “Unless you become like a little child, you will never enter the kingdom of God (or Heaven, depending on the translation). Whether it's for getting into The Kingdom of Heaven or making sense of the world, the traits of children suddenly seem really critical, especially for those of us who want to ‘really live’.
The 7 big lessons that jump out at me are:
1. Embrace learning – and grow:
Children are wired to learn. They lap up everything and get better at everything, allowing life to become a teacher that gives them new experiences and perspectives. Many adults “know it all”, forgetting that what was “the best way” can become the worst way tomorrow. If the Universe itself is expanding, there’s no reason not to keep unlearning in order to keep learning – and to keep growing.
2. Everyone is unique:
It is perfectly okay to be different from other meaning that what applies for others may not apply to you. Some kids need to learn to fight and some need to learn to be calm, the same way some may not like Blue or Pink. Enhance your strengths and acknowledge and work on your weakness, BUT stay true to yourself. Like someone said, “Imagine if Mohammed Ali was a singer and Michael Jackson was a boxer”!
3. Let go of grudge:
Adults often get skilled at holding on to grudge - and then justifying it for a loooong time! To forgive is not being naïve but deciding we will not have negative emotions towards another individual because of something they have done. It is not the easiest thing to do and it also doesn't mean making oneself vulnerable to be hurt unnecessarily. That said, bitterness has a way of growing like an untreated sore. Children forgive easily and I guess that’s why we say, “they are so SWEET!”.
4. Try, and then try again:
If you are reading this, I bet you can walk, generally speaking. Why? Because, except for some health challenges, babies crawl a bit and then transition to walking. They try and fail so many times, but they do not give up. Now, can you play the piano, start a business, bake a cake, fight karate, or write? If you have had a desire to do any of these and haven’t because they were ‘hard’, be like a child. Try – and then, try again. Virtually, everything is hard at first.
My daughter loves to dance. Sometimes, when she is crying and music comes on, she starts dancing, while she is crying! Sometimes, as we go about our lives, “adulating” from day to day, drowning in emails, bills and responsibility, we forget that dancing, relaxing a bit, creating some unserious moments really help us to keep going, like oil in machinery. Don’t lose sight of the rhythm of life. Let your hair down. Dance.
6. Don’t lose sleep because of worry:
Worry is like building a road to nowhere, or running around the office, sweating hard, but not doing the exact thing your job entails. Basically, it is a pointless activity – but we adults just ‘LOVE’ it! Children go through periods of pain and challenges, but that does not rob them of sleep today. Don’t engage tomorrow’s trouble by worrying today.
7. Give and receive love:
Adulthood, ironically, can be one of the loneliest periods of one’s life – even with astute communication skills. One of the best things that can happen is to lavish those around us with love, giving as we can. On the other hand, giving love might be harder than accepting it. It takes vulnerability to open oneself to reach for hugs, support, care and affection. However, we need these, and more, to function fully and be the best that we can be.
So, these are the major lessons I have learnt from kids. If there are others that have struck you, feel free to comment in the comment section below.