Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lessons My Children Have Taught Me

Puddle jumping.  Kissing it better.  Don't take no for an answer.

I was thinking yesterday about how different each of my children is.   But in spite of their different personalities, each of them teaches me valuable life lessons every day.

This reminded me of an article I wrote about 3 years ago.   It's one I need to go back to and read more often!

I wanted to share it on my blog....because I think its message is timeless.  


I consider myself an educated person. I attended and graduated from college. I own my own business. I’m an avid reader. Yet, as a mother of six children, I find myself continually amazed by how much my children have taught me. And I honestly I think the world would be a much better place if we all followed the simple life lessons our children teach us.

Love your body. Have you ever tried to catch an 18-month old running naked through the house? My son’s new favorite game is to slip from my grasp after his bath and run, laughing, through the house. He’ll even turn and face me just long enough to do a little dance, before running off to another room, always keeping just out of my reach. He loves his body. He loves his bowed legs and his protruding little baby belly. He loves his stubby little arms that barely reach over his head. Too many of us are ashamed of our bodies. And while I don’t recommend running naked through the house (at least while the kids are home), I think we can all learn a lesson from a gleeful, naked toddler.

Take time to recharge. I’m a busy person. I’ve got six children and I run my own business. It’s not uncommon for me to get up at 3:00 a.m. just so I can get some work done before my children wake up. But I find that when I keep a schedule like this, I tend to be more than a bit crabby by about 6 or 7 p.m. Not long ago, I strapped my toddler into his high chair and turned my back to prepare his lunch. When I turned back around, he was sound asleep -- sitting up in his high chair. And just last week, he was walking through the living room, walked up to the ottoman, laid his little head down on it, and went to sleep. Standing up. Well, he was tired. And when we’re tired, we need to rest. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, does it? I now find time during each day for a 20 minute “power nap.” It does wonders for my patience factor when my older kids all come home from school each afternoon!

Get back up. Have you ever watched a child learning how to walk? Or even a child who’s been walking for several months, who isn’t really steady on his feet? His determination wins out over his pride every time. And that’s why he succeeds…because he never gives up. So you fall down. Big deal. You can’t just lie there! Stand back up and start walking again. And if you fall again, get up again. Eventually, you won’t fall as often, and you’ll get where you were heading.

Laugh from your toes. There’s nothing better than a room full of laughing children. One of my favorite things to see is my husband lying on our living room floor with our children, rolling and tickling and laughing. A child’s belly laugh is a sound to behold. We all need to remember to lighten up a little bit. Laugh a little more often. Laugh all the way from our toes!

If you can’t reach it, build a ladder. Yesterday, I watched with amazement as my toddler built the most elaborate ladder of pillows so he could reach his sister’s sippy cup that was sitting on the kitchen counter. You see, he knew it was there. He could see it. And he WANTED that sippy cup more than life itself. He tried reaching. He tried standing on his toes. He stretched and stretched and stretched! But when even stretching didn’t give him the desired results, he walked to the living room, got a pillow off the couch, and placed it on the floor next to the counter. Yes. He GOT that sippy cup. And even though it belonged to his sister, and even though it had more sugary juice in it than a good mother should allow her 18 month old to drink, I let him have that cup. He earned it.

Don’t take no for an answer. Anyone who has children will agree with me that kids are the most strong-willed creatures on the face of the earth. In all the years I’ve been raising children (my oldest is now 18 years old), I’ve never ceased to be amazed that “No” never seems to really mean “No” to a child. We should follow that counsel. “No” might just mean “not today” or “not exactly that way” or even “Okay, okay, yes, I’ll buy it!!!” So don’t ever take no for an answer.

What you say is not always as important as how you say it. My 18-month old has a very limited vocabulary. Mainly “mama,” “dada,” and “no.” But somehow, we always seem to know what he wants. He smiles and coos and snuggles and points and, usually, he gets whatever it is he wants. So I try to remember when I’m dealing with my employees, and when dealing with my customers, that what I say isn’t always as important as how I say it.

Kiss it better. One of the most amazing parts of being a mother is when my children come to me, with tears in their eyes, and ask me to “kiss it better.” No, I’m not happy that they’re hurting, but it’s astonishing to me that a simple kiss from someone who loves you can make the hurt go away. Just knowing someone cares about us goes a long way in determining how we feel. So I take my friendships very seriously. Because when I’m down, or having a bad day, or something hurts, it’s great to have someone to kiss it better.

Jump in a few puddles. My 5 year old is my puddle jumper. She is my mud magnet. She doesn’t care what she’s wearing, or where we’re going, if there’s a mud puddle, she’s going to find it. I’m learning to follow her guidance. I’m teaching myself to lighten up a little bit. I’m learning that life’s too short to never jump in a puddle.
My thought for today....go climb a few pillow ladders, jump in a few puddles, and don't take no for an answer!
~Lisa Save for College

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