Many parents lament that their children grow up way too fast. The first few years of a child’s life seem to rush by in a flurry of first smiles, foods and shaky steps. When another birthday arrives, parents suddenly realize how quickly their child has grown.
As you observe your little girl or boy sitting on the floor stacking colorful blocks, or attempting to toddle from one piece of furniture to the next, or engrossed in an effort to get a bite of birthday cake from plate to mouth, think about all of the life skills you’ve taught your child during the course of the past year. Then, take a moment to reflect on the lessons that your child can teach you!
- Take a Nap. You see the difference that a nap makes for your child. Adults are no different in that respect. Are you productive, happy and healthy on three hours of sleep? Of course not. You need your rest just like your child does.
- Be Curious. Do you notice how quickly children move from one thing to another – feeling, touching and, much to their parents’ chagrin tasting all along the way? There’s a natural curiosity in every child that helps the little one to learn new skills and gain new understanding. Why should this behavior lessen as people grow older? We, too, can keep exploring, experiencing and learning more than we knew yesterday.
- Slow Down for Magical Moments. Watch a wide-eyed baby crawl across the floor and press his or her face against a window, just to witness a stray feather floating in the wind or a puppy running down the street. See how fascinated children are by a speck of seemingly nothing that is caught in the carpet. Take a few minutes to slow down and experience life as your child does, because sometimes even the most ordinary moments can be magical.
- Be Courageous. Children can teach countless lessons about seizing opportunities. Never fearing the edge of the couch or a slippery floor, they have an ability to be daring without considering the consequences of their behavior. Grown-ups, on the other hand, tend to disregard bold abandon and trade a sense of adventure for more practical approaches. Although safe and practical are good, don’t forget to occasionally follow that energetic child’s lead. Attempt something new and dare to be courageous again.
- Play with the Box. You know how it goes. Find the best gift for your child, the one that everyone has been desperate to find, and yet your child still ends up playing with the cardboard box that the gift came in. It may seem frustrating to you, but your child is trying to teach you what’s important. Hint: It’s not the expensive stuff. Follow your child’s example and enjoy the simple things.
- Look Up to Others. Children look up to older siblings, friends and parents. No, it’s not just because they’re shorter – they also admire them. Take careful note: Even if you are 8 feet tall, there’s still someone in your life who warrants your respect. Perhaps it’s someone with a strong work ethic, or a unique perspective, or a thirst for knowledge that inspires you. Or maybe it’s your courageously curious child, who takes naps, appreciates nondescript objects, and plays with cardboard boxes.
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