“While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about.”Angela Schwindt
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#1 Move More
Have you ever noticed how toddlers never seem to stop moving? My daughter is always climbing, running, dancing and exploring. She is so eager to to get up in the morning and start moving her body. When we open the back door to take the dogs out, you better believe her little legs are sprinting out into the yard as fast as she can before anyone can stop her.
The craziest part is that she laughs and smiles the entire time, unlike most adults who complain when they have to walk up a flight of stairs or when the close parking spots are all taken, or if you even suggest that idea of exercising. (No judgement here, I haven’t exercised in a year and my workout shirt that says “Everything hurts and I’m dying” will tell you exactly how I feel about exercise.)
Kids LOVE to move their bodies. They look forward to recces and gym class where they get to run and be active. Our bodies weren’t made for sitting around. That’s why we feel happy after a work out. Watching my daughter inspires me get up off my butt and move. Even if it’s only in the form of daily dance parties usually to Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe.
#2 Be Still
I know, I just said to move more and now I’m saying to be still, but hear me out. Both of these are so important. My toddler teaches me that it’s okay to slow down and take a break when I need it. I don’t always need to be doing something, creating something, achieving something or crossing something off my to do list. Sometimes the most important thing I can be doing is taking a moment to breathe and slow down or take a nap even.
There is power in being still. As a society there is so much pressure to be doing more and I believe we could all benefit from doing a little less. So take a break when you need one and not just when you reach the point of exhaustion and are at your breaking point. Take some time to fill your cup before its empty so that you don’t reach the point of burnout.
#3 Do More of What You Enjoy
When my daughter is doing something she really enjoys, she blocks out the whole world. It’s like she is in her own little soundproof bubble. She becomes so laser focused on what she is doing and she doesn’t stop for anything. (Especially diaper changes. Don’t even think about interrupting what she is doing with the suggestion of a diaper change!)
On the other hand, if she doesn’t want to do something she will fight, protest and drag her feet. She will certainly let you know if she’s not interested. She doesn’t waste time on things that don’t make her happy.
As adults we do a lot of things we don’t enjoy. Of course there are certain things that are unavoidable like paying taxes and scrubbing the toilet. If you really take a look at where you spend your time I think you will find that not everything is a necessity.
If you are miserable 9 hours a day at your job, change it. If you are sick of cleaning your home, implement systems to make cleaning faster and more efficient. (I always recommend a good purge too! Less stuff means less to clean.) Let go of obligations that aren’t bringing you joy. Life is short, do more of what you love and let the rest go!
#4 Be Authentic
Have you ever noticed the way kids have zero filter? They don’t have any social cues when they are new to the world. They learn that from watching us. That’s why it’s so funny when a baby lets a big fart rip in public with a straight face. That’s also why so many videos go viral when a child says something that most adults wouldn’t ever dream of saying. Like when a little kid says something about a person that looks different in a store. They don’t know it’s rude to mention a person’s weight or disability, etc. They just say what comes to mind.
When kids are on the playground they just play. They don’t worry about looking stupid when hanging upside down on the monkey bars, or if someone will think their love of unicorns prominently displayed on their clothing is silly. They are too busy having fun to notice or care. They don’t worry about acting a certain way or being a different person than who they are. They just are. They are 100% authentic. They are happy and make real connections with other people.
#5 Be Honest
Due to the fact that children lack the filter I mentioned above, they are honest. Brutally honest even. I’m not saying children don’t ever lie, because of course they do, but most of the time they say how they feel when they feel it. We could all be a little more honest in our lives. Honest with ourselves, family members, spouses and strangers even. We lie to be polite or to not hurt peoples feelings. We lie to make ourselves look better or to avoid an argument. What would happen if we were all just a little more honest?
#6 Laugh & Dance Often
My daughter is always dancing and I mean always. She dances to music in the store, cellphone ringtones, the theme song to shows (currently the ending melody on My Name Is Earl), and anything else with a beat. She loves having dance parties and she doesn’t care who is watching. She dances like it is her purpose in life. It brings me so much joy just to watch her dance, but the best feeling is when I dance with her. We laugh until out bellies hurt and that is the best kind of medicine.
#7 Get. Back. UP.
My toddler is always tripping, stumbling, falling. Anyone that has been around a baby learning to walk or a toddler playing knows that they fall over alot. The thing is, they always get back up. They never stay down (well unless they get distracted by something on the ground which also happens alot.) They don’t ever get discouraged and stay there or decide to give up. Has a child has ever just stayed down and decided “Nope. Walking just isn’t for me. I think I’ll just crawl instead.”? No! They just keeping trying again. Some kids may learn to walk later than others, but they still learn!
Why then, do we as adults, decide to give up on things before we ever truly start trying? Because someone is learning faster than us? Who cares! Because someone else has done it already and we don’t think we can compete? How can we know if we don’t try! My point is: You are going to fail, but Get. Back. Up. You are cheating yourself if you don’t. We are human, we are meant to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean we should give up.
#8 Try New Things
My daughter is always down to try new things. She dives head first into new experiences. She shows little hesitation when confronted with something she’s never seen before. She is so eager to learn, explore and create. She inspires me so much with her excitement to try something she’s never done before. I have a tendency to let fear hold me back. I get intimidated at the thought of learning something new or doing something I’ve never done before. She reminds me to never get complacent and always be looking for the next thing that might spark joy and passion.
#9 Don’t be Afraid to Get Dirty
Another thing my daughter loves more than anything is to get outside and get dirty. She loves nothing more than to be outside in the garden or playing in the sand. Her favorite colors just might be grass stain green and mud puddle brown. She doesn’t care what she’s wearing or that she just took a bath, in fact, she’s probably equally as excited about needing another bath when she’s done.
She loves to get messy whether it’s playing in the dirt, decorating herself with her paint or markers, having a food fight with her dinner (ask Calvin about the night he got pelted by spaghetti squash) or whatever project she is getting into. She is too focused on having fun to even notice the mess.
Be a little more like a child and stop worrying so much about keeping the house spotless. Get so lost in having fun that you don’t care about the mess. Life is supposed to be messy right? Take every chance you get to put your hands in the soil and walk barefoot. A little dirt on your nails won’t hurt anything and it’s alright if the soles of your feet are a little rough. The scratches on your table, the rogue mark from a crayon that got to close the edge of a paper, the smoothie stain on the carpet aren’t picture perfect, but they tell the story of your life and its okay if it’s a little messy. In fact, its quite beautiful.
#10 Love Unapologeticly and Fiercely
One of the most beautiful qualities my daughter has is her compassion. She doesn’t like when people are sad or hurt. Even when she was less than a year old I could see tenderness in her. I hope she never loses those qualities.
I love that no matter how our day goes, she still loves me unconditionally. Even when I am not as patient as I should be or I raise my voice she still shows me so much love. Of course, her forgiveness is not something to ever take for granted, but I am grateful for it nonetheless.
I inspire to be even half as forgiving as she is and to learn to love as fiercely as she does. She hugs so hard her body shakes and she won’t let you leave without at least 10 kisses goodbye. All this to say, forgive, love, apologize and just live life to the fullest.