“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
—Angela Schwindt, a home-schooling mom in Oregon who coaches a performing unicycle team, the One Wheel Wonders
I’m almost 11 years (what feels like five minutes) into this parenting journey. And what a journey it continues to be: Nothing can compare to the sense of duty, love, joy, and awe that comes with becoming a parent.
What they say is so true. Your children come into your life and while you aim to teach them all they need to know, they wind up teaching you.
Here are six things my children have taught me.
Messes Are To Be Embraced
If I’m honest, I’m still learning this lesson. I crave clean spaces, order, and organization. Mess makes me stress.
Except that most messes these days represent efforts of great creativity and exploration on the part of my kids. They’re trying and figuring and making and pretending. It may not always be pretty, but it’s pretty amazing to witness.
So, mostly (sometimes), I’m learning to embrace the mess.
Life Is Truly About the Little Things
The silly songs we sing, the books we read over and over, the hugs, the pancakes, the different voices of all of their stuffed animals, all the fun, loving, silly little things we do in our family are forming the joys of their childhood and our life together. These seemingly little things are really the big things for us.
Our Children Need Our Time
With a million to-do lists running through my head and external demands on my time coming from all directions, I need to constantly remind myself to set all of that aside and be truly present with my children. Being present, focusing on the moment and the people you’re spending your time with, is harder than it sounds. Children have no trouble at all with this. I continue to learn to be present with my children.
Playing Is Learning
Somewhere along the way, people stop playing. The time spent playing is often when inspiration comes, when skills are honed, when interests are discovered, and when learning happens. My children remind me, just as it’s important for them to have time to play, it’s important for me to play as well.
My Children Are a Mirror of Me
When I find myself emotionally triggered by my children’s behavior, it quickly becomes apparent that they are mirroring a characteristic I see in myself. If you’d like to improve your own self awareness, look no further than the little people who have come here to show you who you are.
When I find fear in them, I see that fear in me. When I see impatience in them, I find that impatience in me. Realizing this allows me to have more empathy and patience with my children and to continue to improve in all the ways they show me.
Life Is Beautiful
More than anything, my children remind me everyday just how beautiful life is. From the moment I knew they were on their way, one miracle after another has been shown to me. The beautiful sense of wonder and curiosity they carry with them as they journey about the world is a joy and has given me the gift of seeing the world through their eyes.