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10 Incredible Life Lessons We Can Learn By Listening To Our Kids

Kids offer us life lessons. Image shows a baby dancing in the left panel and a mother and daughter baking in the right panel.

In the days of yore, we watched a show on TV called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” The show was hosted by Art Linkletter, who also wrote a series of books with the same name. The premise of the show was to highlight a child’s perspective on life. Topics varied from describing objects and their use to understanding relationships. The short quips offered by the kids gave us a ton of laughs. What we didn’t know at that time, but understand now is that we were learning life lessons from the children!

As parents, listening to our children is an integral part of helping them grow. It also allows us to understand their unique view. Kids are a blank slate when they are born. They learn what we teach them, and they begin forming their own perceptions fairly early in life. They look at life through different lenses than our adult eyes. That innocence can contain a wealth of helpful information that will assist adults. All we need to do is take the time to listen.

Happy kids posing for the camera.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

1. Let Your Feelings Rule The Day.

Kids wear their feelings on their sleeves. When they’re happy, they laugh. If they are sad, they cry. As adults, we tend to hold back our emotions more than we realize. We grit our teeth and walk away when we hear something we don’t like. When we face sorrow, we take a deep breath and bury the sadness to show a brave front. While not always appropriate depending on the situation, allowing our emotions to escape as adults is very helpful in maintaining stable mental health. This can also promote better physical health. So, don’t be afraid of your emotions. Let your feelings stretch their wings and run through the rain!

Image shows a person walking in the rain, arms outstretched.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

2. Continue To Grow By Looking Through The Eyes Of A Child.

Physical growth continues for children throughout their childhood. As adults, our physical growth stops between the ages of 18 and 25. That doesn’t mean that our emotional growth also stops. We can continue to work on our emotional growth forever. Try looking at life through the eyes of a child and learn from each experience. Observe the wonder and joy of a bird landing in a nearby tree. Smile at people and see if they smile back. By understanding our feelings and emotions, we can develop effective ways to manage them. That leads to better relationships and overall happiness.

3. Slow Down And Smell All The Flowers.

We hustle through our adult lives, running to and fro. Working, caring for a home and family, preparing meals, doing laundry, and handling all the other adult responsibilities. Our kids stop to look at everything, and it tends to annoy us. We’re in a hurry, and they dawdle to pick up a rock or smell a flower. What if we stopped, too? What would happen if we slowed down to wonder how a pretty green rock ended up with all the grey rocks? Take a breath, bend down, and smell that flower. You deserve it!

Image shows a kid sniffing a large, round purple flower.
Image from Flickr.

4. Making New Friends Isn’t As Hard As We Make It.

Adults have difficulty making new friends most days. What do we talk about? How do we relate to other people? Kids make it look so easy. On the first day of Kindergarten, I helped my daughter get in the correct classroom line. As soon as she was in line, I no longer existed. There were kids her age and size, and she was in her glory! The next day, she took off running as soon as she saw all her new friends and got in the line. While I stayed back with a group of other parents, none of us were making any attempt at becoming friends. If we had just said hello or smiled, it would have been easy to relate to the other parents. But our adult inhibitions hold us back. The lesson we should have learned is that people are people, and we should open up and say hello!

5. It’s OK To Make Mistakes.

Making mistakes helps us learn. Although we would all like to be perfect, life doesn’t work that way. When kids make a mistake, they look at what they did wrong and try something else. They will repeat the process until they finally achieve the result they want. As adults, we frequently make one or two attempts at something and then give up. If Thomas Edison had given up after a few mistakes, we might still be using candles to read after dark! When you make a mistake, regroup and try again!

6. Sometimes You Need A Dance Break!

Dancing is something most kids start to do before they learn to walk. They bounce and sway to music, commercials on TV, and even no sound. Dancing is joyful. It gets our blood circulating and makes us happy. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Dance like no one is watching,” and we can learn from that. It doesn’t matter if you are rhythm-challenged, tone-deaf, or uncoordinated. Just dance.

7. Understand And Practice Unconditional Love.

Unconditional love means loving another person with no strings attached. As parents, we can fall into traps, especially with teens, where we might question our ability to love our own children. We don’t need to do that. You can continue loving your child unconditionally even if you don’t “like” them at that moment. When my daughter and I fought through her rebellious teen years, one of my go-to lines was, “I love you, but I don’t like the way you’re acting/the things you’re doing right now.” That gave her the freedom to explore life on her terms. Even when she knew I might not like her choices, she knew my love was unwavering.

8. Find Happiness In The Little Things.

We did all the things. Nana spoiled us with fancy trips to wonderful hotels, guided tours, and the whole nine yards. But when my daughter and I were left to our own devices, we had the most fun. A simple walk along a riverfront or playing in a public playground (yes, I love swinging and slides!). We baked together, and she memorized my cheesecake recipe by age four! From my daughter, I learned those little things that didn’t cost us a dime were more valuable than anything money could buy!

Image shows a mom and a kid baking in matching aprons. The daughter is cracking an egg over a bowl with additional ingredients.
Image from Pexels.

9. It’s OK Not To Be OK.

Life is full of good days and bad days. When you have a bad day, you still have to be an adult, and sometimes that feels unfair. When kids have a meltdown, we allow them to express those emotions. Once the feelings are out, things level out and return to normal. We need to learn, as adults, that it is OK to have those moments. We may need to regulate where and when we have our meltdowns, but it is totally OK not to be OK.

10. Learn To Forgive Like Kids Do.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting all the bad things that have happened to us. The power to forgive simply allows the ability to move forward without the emotional baggage of holding a grudge. If a bully calls a child a name one day, the two kids might be best friends the next. It doesn’t mean the name-calling never happened; it just means it has been forgiven. We cannot go back and change anything in the past. Holding onto anger only leads to missed opportunities. We can move forward without allowing those memories to cloud our path.

Image shows words that say, "Forgiveness is just another word for peace in the language of the soul."
Image from Flickr.

As adults and parents, we should never forget that we are still growing and learning. Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual. By simply listening and interacting with our kids, we can learn as much from them as we can teach them. Enjoy life. Learn the lessons our children teach us through their example. When all else fails — DANCE!!

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here.

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