A few weeks ago, on one of our last big summer hurrahs, I had this moment with my kids. The kind of moment that only lasts for a few seconds but stays caught in your heart for much, much longer.
We were treading in rich green water, deep enough that none of us could touch—life vests and pool noodles keeping us afloat. I looked at my three kids and had a flash of the future cross my mind. Only by then, none of them will really need those floaties anymore.
I could see them for one quick second as teenagers and then adults. It took my breath away.
This parenting season is beautiful for so many reasons, but I think what makes it the most beautiful is the fact that it is fleeting.
So, while I still have little heads to squeeze into goggles and bodies to buckle into life vests, while I still have little hands to hold and handprints to clean off the walls of my house, I want to soak these children in and learn all I can from them.
14 Beautiful Things You Can Learn from a Child
1. Simple pleasures bring the most joy.
I remember the first time I took my first baby on a walk around our apartment. He was only a few days old, but the feel of the wind on his cheek conjured up an involuntary smile. Since then, I’ve seen my children find joy in a million tiny pleasures. A bucket to fill with sand, a diving board to leap from, a flower to pick on the way to school.
2. Hurrying is rarely worth it.
Every time I walk behind a toddler, I repeat in my head, “You can’t hurry a toddler.” It’s just impossible. And when you let yourself see it, it’s actually pretty beautiful, too.
3. It’s okay to march to the sound of your own drum.
In fact, it’s better than okay.
4. Just keep swimming.
5. There are no rules in personal style.
We have a son who is always leaving the house with a shirt on inside-out and his shoes on the wrong feet. (See also #3.) It’s just how he rolls. It often reminds me that personal style can be a fun and freeing expression of yourself—when you loosen your grip on “the rules.”
Our other son is always climbing trees and lamp posts (much to the dismay of my home owners’ association). 😉 He knows his abilities because he’s constantly testing them.
7. Friendship can be simple.
“You wanna play?” That’s all it takes.
8. “Clean” isn’t everything.
As an adult with something of a Type A personality, I usually have a hard time seeing beyond a mess. But my children? A mess has never stopped them in their lives.
Kids just know this, inherently. We’re what they’ve got, so they invest their whole hearts.
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
When we’re running late for school, one of my boys takes off running across the grass, to get to his room before the bell rings. My other boy continues to plod along, saying, “It’s okay if you’re a minute late. No one really notices.” It’s funny to me how one cares about timeliness and one doesn’t. The one who doesn’t reminds me over and over again not to sweat the small stuff. What is a minute of time, a spilled cup of water, or a lost shoe really worth?
11. A good book is a door.
A window. An invitation. Whatever you want to call it, a good book welcomes you to a new world. Get lost in it.
12. Time heals a lot of wounds.
Not all wounds, of course, but I remember this when I see my preschooler wail like nobody’s business over something that seems so important in the moment but is completely forgotten within the hour.
13. Everything is an invitation to creativity.
A jar with a lid? The perfect container for catching bugs. Cheese and crackers? An opportunity to invent the next culinary masterpiece. You don’t need paint sets or a blinking cursor to spur your creativity. Think outside the box and look for opportunities everywhere.
14. Forgive and forget.
Possibly one of the hardest lessons for adults to master—and one of the most inspiring to watch children live out.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” Anonymous
I’d love to hear—What have YOU learned lately from a child?