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We teach our kids about life...and they teach us how to live...

Many of us have life lessons we want to impart to our children. Heck, I have 60+ years of learning that I often share to help my family avoid having to learn the same lessons the hard way. Unfortunatley, years of "learning" about life can stifle your ability to "live life".

Our kids, on the otherhand, are much more capable of living life unapologetically and unafraid. That's what I thought about when I saw this baby mudhen in the marshy grasses of our local park. Much like this mudhen, many children take life as it comes, responding to it instinctively. They show far less fear, concern of being hurt, embarrassed, or being out in the open or exposed. They don't hold grudges and they are much more adept at shrugging off the little things that many of us "seasoned" folks can hold on to for a very long time.

Of course as time goes on, kids learn from their parents, their friends, and their acquaintances and adopt various habits, lessons and biases that they make their own. Many of which help secure their safety, shape their common sense, build their social skills, and protect them from making costly mistakes. Plainly stated, many of the lesssons we share are essential for our childrens well-being. That said, if we reflect upon our children before they're shaped and molded by ourselves and society, they can teach us a lot about living a full, rich and enjoyable life. Consider these 4 simple lessons I've learned from the children in my life:

  • We don't need worldly possessions to make us happy. Ever see kids playing tag in the park? Stick-ball in the street? At certain ages kids get more joy from socialization with friends and family then they do from "getting things". Currently my grandson enjoys "pillow fights with Pop" and "Monopoly with Nanny" more than he does getting a pack of Pokemon cards. To this day my daughter still gets joy (o.k. I probably get more) from just walking downtown to get a bagel and coffee with me.

  • It's o.k. to express yourself - freely. Whether kids need to sing, dance, scream with excitement, or cry uncontrollably, they just do it! They don't care who is around or what people might think of them. They just let it out and it makes them feel good or better. As we get older, however, we've learned to hold so many of our feelings inside for fear of judgement. But what if we didn't? We don't have to be mean but it's o.k. to express our feelings freely. In fact, if we did we'd probably feel a lot happier!

  • Just believe in yourself. I remember when my daughter was younger and she entered a costume contest with a boxed costume from the department store. She was on stage in a line of kids with exotic, home-made costumes their parents spent hours making. Yet she was not detered nor was she upset having not won a prize. Interestingly, She didn't need others to affirm her costume. She just wanted to show people how great she felt in her costume. Which reminds us that you really don't have anything to prove to anyone other than yourself!

  • Worry not about tomorrow - it's not here yet. Kids are great about living in the moment. Enjoying what they're engaged in at the time vs. what they have to do later or tomorrow. Adults, on the other hand, can spend so much time worrying about tomorrow that they forget to enjoy the moments they're in the middle of. Once I realized this myself, I began enjoying aspects of my life that I had glossed over previously.

The fact of the matter is we owe it to our children to teach them the life lessons that will keep them safe and help them grow into responsible, happy and successful adults. But if we're interested in enhancing our lives as adults, then we should consider the lessons that children can share with us. Guaranteed they can help some of us live a fuller and more rewarding life.


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