One of our predominant roles as parents is to teach life lessons to our children. We teach them everything, from how to brush their teeth to how to use their words versus their fists when expressing anger. At times the role of Teacher is reversed however, and our kids become the ones teaching us invaluable life lessons!
Three important life lessons that my kids have taught me.
Have compassion for others
Compassion is a quality that is depleting at an alarming rate in our world. This should be one of the life lessons at the top of every parent’s list. Sometimes, however, life gets the better of us and we need to be reminded to think of others first. Recently my five-year-old daughter gave me a beautiful lesson in the art of compassion.
Once a week I help out in my daughter’s Kindergarten class. In her class, there’s a sweet little boy who happens to cry for his mom from time to time. My daughter cries in class once in a while, as well, and she and this boy have become friends. My daughter was telling me the other day that they comfort one another during their moments of sadness.
During my most recent visit volunteering in the class, I got to witness their sweet friendship first-hand. The little boy began crying and headed for a spot underneath the play structure. He asked my daughter to go with him, and she did. My daughter sat with him, mostly in silence, for the entirety of their recess.
She could have left him there by himself to play with her other friends, but she didn’t. In that profound moment of her friendship, my daughter reminded me of the truest meaning of compassion: having sympathy and concern for the suffering of others.
Giving up is not an option
Resiliency is an important quality to possess, as it allows us to recover from our struggles and stay strong in the face of adversity. It is hard to not get discouraged and feel defeated during our toughest times. But the best way to build confidence and experience personal growth is by not giving up, despite our circumstances. My 14-year-old son proved this recently after enduring some bullying in the 8th grade.
Last year my son came to me during the school year and confessed that he had been the target of bullying. Not long after that incident was dealt with, his circle of friends turned against him and shut him out. My son was understandably crushed. We decided a fresh start would do him good, so we transferred him to another school.
After Thanksgiving break he started going to the new school. It wasn’t long before he again became the target of bullying. This time around he felt defeated. He just didn’t want to go to public school any longer. I finally agreed to enroll him in independent study.
Now that he is in his first year of high school, he is slowly integrating back into traditional classes. In spite of all he’s been through and the intense anxiety of it happening again, he is resilient! He hasn’t given up even after facing similar struggles several times.
Live in the moment
Being present and living in the moment gets lost in the busyness of our lives. As adults we often wear the weight of the world’s problems on our shoulders. We worry. A lot. How are we going to pay this month’s bills? Will I get fired if I miss this deadline? What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Our minds are on overdrive.
My kids teach me the life lesson of slowing down and living in the moment. My five-year-old daughter focuses solely on the here-and-now. She doesn’t ruminate over past mistakes or worry about what the future holds.
As I watch her twirl around in our backyard or craft a cupcake out of Play-Doh, I am reminded that true joy comes from being fully immersed in the present. She inspires me to slow down and check in with myself. The importance of not only being present with myself, but also with my children, is emphasized by watching her living in the moment.
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” -Angela Schwindt