Parenting is a patience tester in which you are both a perpetual student and a teacher. The roles get reversed within seconds and each opportunity of passing a life lesson is also an opportunity of learning one.
We all know that children and persistence are close friends. When my eight year old daughter wants to go out and play, she will be direct with her ask.
If I tell her-“We will go in 20 minutes.” She will remind me of my promise every few minutes- lest I forget or over schedule myself or prioritize something else. At the designated minute-she will be ready to leave and will expect nothing else. At the slightest hint of dillydallying from my side-she will remind me of my promise. I have learned over the years to make fewer but then stick to them.
While she has also become more flexible to give me more legroom to accommodate some last minute changes, I have learned to think before committing my time, money and energy.
Children are also generous with their compliments and honest with their criticism. My daughter enhances my self confidence by complementing my cooking and hugging chops. “You are the best in our family in giving hugs, Mom.” I never knew PDA was a comparative advantage.
“The rice that you make are the very best in the world,” she tells me with such honest appreciation that I feel like learning new dishes and making my recipes still healthier and yummier.
On the other side, “Mom you should learn more about children’s apps.” Straight talking at its gentlest best.
Another life lesson that I am slowly learning from my daughter is not to keep grudges.Playground and classroom conflicts are aplenty but while angry words might get exchanged, there is no perpetuity of ill feelings. Anger is not festered for days and passive aggressive behaviors have no place in the lives of young ones. No doubt their laughter is free and spirited and life energy is not contained or constrained by baggage of past deeds of self or others
I understand things change with age and as early as middle school letting go becomes more difficult, yet this childlike quality of moving on is very helpful in adult life.
While as parents we might think its our duty to teach our children, I think the exchange is symbiotic and can be very beneficial if we keep an open heart and a mindset to learn and absorb some vital life lessons from our young ones.