10 Lessons to Learn from Your Kids
written by Melissa Carver
Parenting is a non-stop job. Anyone who has children will tell you it is the most difficult, yet most rewarding aspect of their life. Even the most well-behaved children can drive you to your wit’s end.
Why do children who are thankful, respectful, and well-mannered still push you to your point of needing a break from them? In addition to having all family members who live together eventually needing moments of alone time, there are deeper aspects when it comes to your children. Heavy responsibility as an adult may dampen your sense of excitement and vitality for life that so often (and easily) shines through for children. Kids have it all figured out—you may on the other hand have programmed yourself into being a more responsible version of them.
While you do have responsibilities, are they as serious as you make them? Are there tricks you can learn from your children to enjoy life and the chores all at the same time?
The answer is yes, and here are some of the lessons you can learn from your children.
A main focus of mine is to stay in the moment. That way I don’t allow myself to beat myself up over yesterday nor dread tomorrow. In other words, I don’t have to shit on today, on this very perfect moment in front of my nose. Tomorrow is past. Tomorrow may never come. This moment is magical.
That does not mean I do not get my daily responsibilities done nor the big projects on my “to do” list. But if I take some time during these tasks for me, for getting back in the moment, everything seems to flow more easily and successfully.
I have learned in Alcoholics Anonymous, a program and fellowship that has saved my life, given me a life and a purpose, many things. One key thing I practice is to stay out of HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired). When I find myself starting to react, and usually in a non-productive and negative manner, I address what part of HALT I am in and remedy that as soon as possible. Again, getting back into the moment.
A child can get extremely excited over the smallest things. It may be playing with a dollar toy, having company come over, seeing the mail man pull up, or better yet, nothing at all. The thought of something exciting can send a child on a 10-minute, high-on-life excursion.
Often adults will tell them to calm down—that it’s not that big of a deal. In reality, you need to get that excited too! Everything can be a gift when you change your perspective and appreciate more. This level of energy not only has the potential to make you much happier, but also helps you to manifest more of what excites you. If the Universe speaks in frequency, nothing is more powerful than excitement!
I remember walking in the neighborhood and noticing the hugest snail crawling on a rock wall. I was mesmerized by this little thing with the hugest shell on its back sliming its way along the wall. And then this lady stopped her car and asked where I lived and what I was doing. I did not react and tell her to mind her own f*ckng business, but I told her I was checking out this snail. She saw it. Didn’t care. Then told me there had been some recent burglaries. I was even excited I didn’t react, but sad she didn’t enjoy the snail.
Use Your Imagination
What can you imagine? When a child tells you a story or a goal, can you see it? It may be the most outlandish explanation you have ever heard, but what is your first reaction? Do you dismiss it as “just a kid” talking, or do you engage and go on an adventure in your mind? Are you an adult that says, “Go for it!” or “That’s impossible”?
Whatever you can imagine, you can create. Play and downtime sparks the imagination. Do you take that time? If not, make a list of how the imagination could help with goals you have now, and begin a journey once a week to gain that childhood trait back into your life.
As a kid, didn’t you ever lie on the cool grass gazing at the clouds and imagining what their shapes were? No worries in the world! I still try to do that. Get unbusy. Get back in the moment. Notice what is around me, the sights, the sounds, the smells, right now, right here. How many birds singing have I missed. I many small wildflowers have I stepped on? How much laughter from the children have I missed because my brain was full with busy-ness?
Express Unconditional Love
Your children are the humans on this planet who actually make you understand what this truly means. They get it!
Have you ever got upset with your child then later realize how much you blew the situation out of proportion? You feel horrible, prepare yourself to beg for their forgiveness, and by the time you get to them, they have already forgotten all about it? They love you—no, like really, soulfully love you—to your core. The good, bad, and ugly—they have seen it all, yet are more than happy to hug it out and spend the rest of the day with you.
This is not to say it’s impossible to push a child to the point of not wanting to speak to you or be around you, but even then, they will still have deep love for you. Loving someone doesn’t always mean you have to like them or their actions—that is unconditional love. In hopes of spreading this throughout your world, it starts at home.
This one hits home with me. As an alcoholic in recovery I spent most of my life fear-based, especially as a child. I was a people-pleaser. I wanted your approval. I was not comfortable enough in my own skin to feel the self-love, self-esteem, and self-worth I deserved.
Alcoholics Anonymous has helped me to stop living in fear, to stop taking the weight of the world on my shoulders alone. It is so freeing to finally love myself for who and what I am and not worrying about what you or anyone else thinks of me. I am what I am. And if one person gets a glimmer of hope from reading this, I have achieved my goal. Icing on the cake if that person is a child!
Okay, so they may not be the most patient creatures on earth, but they sure will make you turn yours up a notch, or five. From the baby stages of waiting for them on the potty, to the countless check-ups, doctor appointments, activities, and the famous school car line—your patience is tested in every way possible.
Instead of complaining or thinking about what else needs to be done, think about what you would tell them when they are waiting on you. For example, every parent pulls their child to some event or long car trip that they don’t necessarily want to be at. I would guess you say the following line in these situations: “Take something to do/entertain yourself.”
Take your own advice: get out of the car and walk or soak up some sun instead of sitting in the car line, catch up on a good book or some articles, or play games on your phone (that’s what they would do). Did you know playing phone games can be a form of meditation?
I LOVE phone games, but I always thought they were a waste of time. Great to know they can be a form of meditation. But more importantly, when I find myself waiting…in traffic, in line to check-out or for an appointment, wherever, I feel that God is asking me, “What’s the rush, Dee? Just breathe.”
Kids show up with an “I can do anything” attitude. The dreams that children have are backed by a heap load of confidence. This only lessens in them when they hear, “You can’t do that” or “That’s impossible” multiple times by people they love or respect. Even then, many rebel toward such negative attitudes. They are intuitive enough to see that particular adult has been jaded and failed at their own desires.
Inspire them to keep the confidence, speaking on a failed attempt as an opportunity to improve. Allow their determination to spark your confidence as well.
Such an important message. We’ve got to let our kids know how awesome they are. Everything about them is a gift. We’ve got to help them love themselves for who they are and feel comfortable in their own skin. And when approached by a bully, they can know that they don’t have to lower themselves to the bully’s level. That the bully has unresolved issues and is lacking the love and self-worth that our kids have. And when the world throws hardballs, let your child know he does not have to go it alone!
No, not a night out on the town or an adult vacation. Play seems to mean a new categorical list from childhood to adult. Here I am speaking on good ole fashioned childlike play. Get outside, jump on the trampoline, hula hoop, swim, skate, climb up the monkey bars, and go down the slide. You’re not too old! What are you afraid of exactly? Will your clothes get dirty? Maybe, but the fun you will have by the end will take all cares of that stain away!
“I don’t want to grow up. I’m a Toys ‘R Us kid,” resonates in me when I allow myself to let go, have fun, be me, be free. I instill that message into my kids, too. Life is too short to be so “adult” all the time. Have fun. Be a kid. That kid is and will always be in us! And don’t worry who will see you. No one cares. Get over yourself!
Play increases your health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771152/) by raising your heart rate, decreasing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and most importantly, boosting your happiness.
Adulting is time-consuming. It often takes more effort to relax than not because your brain is still focused on what you need to be doing.
Let’s change the perspective and programming on this a bit. Just for a week, give this a try. Instead of yelling at the kids to get off their butt and clean up their shoes, sit down with them. For 15 minutes just relax and breathe for a bit—can you hear your breath? It’s probably the first time you’ve heard it all day. After 15 minutes is up, go back to your chores. Now ask the kids to help you. Pay close attention to how differently you are asking now verses how you may have spoken to them 15 minutes ago. Kids work hard and play hard but they know the importance of some good chillax time.
Again, getting back in the moment. Closing off your brain and getting back into your heart. I don’t want to react so I take time out to make sure I’m not getting into HALT, and give myself some “me” time. Even 5 minutes works wonders!
Ever notice how much you get on your kids’ nerves when you explain what could, maybe, possibly, or might happen? You know the dangers of this world; it’s everywhere you turn when it comes to any social media or news, not to mention what you may have lived through or witnessed in person.
Here’s the trick though: Kids really do see, feel, and know the bad in life, but they live as though they are always safe. They trust their intuition to guide them away from harm should it come close to them. They have an understanding of it’s only a part of reality, not totality.
“Worry is like praying for something you don’t want.” – unknown
I don’t want to be stupid about my safety, but I don’t want to live in fear either. Alcoholics Anonymous has allowed me a Higher Power of My Own Understanding that I entrust with my safety and protection. I ask for guidance. I turn it over. I know that everything will be just fine.
Children see people for their soul. They just want to be around loving, fun humans and critters. It doesn’t matter where you live, shade of skin, what hobbies you do or do not enjoy, sexual preference, or what you did “bad” in your past. They genuinely do not care! How are you treating them in the now? That is where their attention flows. If you hear a child being prejudice, racist, or judgmental in any fashion outside of the frequency they feel coming from someone, it has been programmed toward them to repeat it. We could all use a lesson from this category in some way or another.
Go with your gut feelings; it doesn’t lie. Today I am able to live from my heart and get rid of all that rationalizing, destructive brain bullshit. This certainly did not come easily nor quickly. I had to unlearn decades of living intellectually and to delve deep into my heart and allow it to open up. Only when I found positive results from this practice did I start to have faith that this really works. My gut doesn’t lie.
Nurture All Aspects of Your Personality
You may see a child in a superhero costume and 15 minutes later they are playing with a doll. This same routine goes on all day long, skipping from one character to another. They love many aspects of life, including personalities and archetypes. Rarely do they tunnel vision in on one category. A kid wants to explore all the thoughts and interests that can pop into their mind at any given moment, as should you. Those thoughts spark imagination and lead to roads of deep passion and authenticity. While some are short-lived, a gift will always be a part of the journey. One new factoid or epiphany of self-knowledge is worth the effort.
Adults want to ask children what they want to be when they grow up. It is my personal opinion that you should dump this question. I mean do you even know what you want to be yet? You change every day; your ideas, perspectives, and passions change with each new experience. Your career may be long-term, or maybe just a stepping stone to the next adventure. What you do now for your bill money may be your dharma, but even in the midst of a dream job, the universe may have another surprise to keep you on your toes. Your life is not about working to collect money and spending it on responsibilities—it’s about engulfing in your happiness so much that you no longer see work as a restraint.
Learn a natural, effortless style of meditation that helps make every day fun and fulfilling with Basics of Meditation, a self-paced online course guided by Deepak Chopra. Learn More. (https://www.chopra.com/online-courses/basics-of-meditation/on-demand)
Because today I am sober, I am in recovery, I have the fellowship, Steps, and toolbox that Alcoholics Anonymous has so freely given me, that I can now “go with the flow” and know that great things await me. I am not in control. I have a Higher Power that is in control, that guides me to be the best me I can be, that protects me, that teaches me. Nope. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I’m 62 years old! I just know that I wake up excited every morning to see what the day has in store for me. Such an awesome and joyous way to live!
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Section: Personal Growth (/articles/139/all)
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About the Author
Melissa Carver specializes in Metaphysics, guiding her clients through the art of manifestation with one-on-one webinars and in-person sessions. Melissa is also a graduate of the Chopra Center University, completing her certification in the Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle (/teach/perfect-health-certification-program) program. She and her husband, Leo Carver (/bios/leo-carver), are the core of Holistic Life Sciences (http://www.choprateachers.com/HolisticLifeSciences), providing the Chopra Certified Ayurvedic Health Course throughout the state of Kentucky. Melissa also received her PH.D. in Philosophy… Read more (/bios/melissa-carver)