Tag Archives: Life Lessons

Stuff Kids Taught Me

Fall Foliage, New York State, 2008Being a parent has, believe it or not, taught me to be as good to myself as I would be to a child.

Think in full sentences. You wouldn’t just say “milk” and expect your kid to know if you mean “Drink your milk” or Put the milk away” or “Don’t pass milk through your nose.  So why just think “milk” when you mean, “I have to buy milk?”

Speak kindly and/or politely.  Berating children is wrong for so many reasons. Don’t do it to yourself.

Try new things.  One minute baby is holding onto a table, then one foot in front of the other propels the kid forward, upright, seeing the world in a brand new way.  Baby falls down, gets back up and happily wobbles to the next piece of furniture. Not all change is as good as this. Sometimes it sucks but we need to at least be open to the possibility that it’s good.

Fight the fear.    Some kids are afraid of Halloween, Santa Claus or sand. Imagine all the fun they’d miss if they never got over those fears! I’m still skittish when driving on bridges, which is irrational since I live and work on separate islands. (Only one of New York City’s five boroughs is on the mainland, and I don’t live there.)

Shhhh. Listen. You could learn something. But don’t be too quiet or people will think either that  you’re stupid or left the room, metaphorically speaking.

Dance and Sing even if you think you’re not very good at it. Small kids rarely are but they don’t care, and neither should you, especially if you’re home!

Write Things Down.  I picture rows of students at their desks, diligently taking notes or completing assignments. The grown-up counterpart is listmaking. Grocery lists, to-do lists, holiday card lists, all serve to organize and prioritize our busy lives. This gives us time to…

Live in Wonder. Why should toddlers have all the fun? A great sunset, fall foliage, roaring waves, a gorgeous pair of shoes: these never fail to grab my attention. Now I know that I can just slow down and take it all in.