Continuing on with guest posts for Thursdays in December, I asked one of my favourite Aussie bloggers to share some of her parenting wisdom. Sonia blogs at Life, Love and Hiccups if you are not already reading along over there. She always shares with great humour (sometimes crazy out there humour too) and honesty and I admire her sense of self!
When the gorgeous Deb asked me to write a post for Parenting Thursdays I was so excited as I just adore Deb and her gorgeous blog. Then it hit me – I am supposed to come up with some pearls of wisdom that I can bestow upon you all as my Christmas Gift to you- Deb’s loyal readers. The problem is, if I am completely honest, I have no idea really what I am doing when it comes to parenting my kids. On a good day, I fumble through and we all make it out in one piece – on a bad day, well I have nightmares about whether I have broken or damaged my beautiful children. What I can tell you though, is I adore my children and their happiness and well being is the reason I am here on this earth.
Kids come to us as these beautiful unblemished little blank canvasses, ready for their story to be painted, forever captured in time as proof of their existence. Our job as parents is to guide them, provide them the tools they need to paint their story and the colours which will bring to life the memories they make. We are also here to provide a steady hand as they struggle with tricky bits. But sometimes, the child we are so focused on teaching can actually teach us more than a thing or two ourselves.
When I was sitting outside last night just reflecting on the year that is coming to a close, I got to thinking about just how far I have come as a parent from the first precious moment the Dr handed me my heart in the form of my cherished first born. I have managed to get them to the age of 4, 6 and 10 without breaking them as I once feared, and I have nurtured these gorgeous little souls who have repaid me with so much love and pride that I need to pinch myself sometimes to believe I can be so fortunate.
But what really struck me is how my children have taught me and how many more wonderful life lessons that can be learned from observing the basic behaviours of children and the way they view and embrace this big old world. I sat up in my chair as I realised the how exciting my life could become if I allowed the role to be reversed and my children to become the teachers, the master painters guiding me as I paint my own canvas. Stay with me on this…
Kids live their lives in the moment, and there is something so wonderful about that quality. If they want to wear their Spiderman or Little Mermaid outfit to the shops or an outing – they do. They don’t care what people think. They love that outfit, they feel fabulous in it and therefore why the hell wouldn’t they wear it?
I’m not suggesting I am going to head out to dinner next week with my hubby in a Wonder woman costume – but because of the lessons my kids have taught me I will wear whatever makes me feel fabulous and comfortable and I won’t give a damn what the people at the next table think of MY costume.
Kids’ hearts are open to new friendships, they make new friends and accept anyone into their circle regardless of colour, physical appearance or social status. They do not care if Billy comes from a wealthy family or lives in a caravan. They do not care if Lily has the trendiest clothes or is wearing 4th generation hand me downs. They love their new friends for the joy they are bringing them, for the experience of getting to know someone who has a different way of looking at things to them and for the way this new friend can open their eyes to seeing things they have not yet discovered for themselves. I have been guilty of staying within my own circle of friends in the past, but over the past few years through my children, I have met the most wonderful people who have enriched my life beyond words. We come from so many different back grounds and we have so many different opinions, but that is what my children have taught me – to be open to smiles and gestures that hint of wonderful new friendships to be made.
Kids are so honest in their words. They tell you what they need to say, not what they think you want to hear. Ok sometimes it is downright embarrassing what come out of their mouths, but it is honest and uncensored. What a wonderful way to live really, to enjoy the freedom of speech that we have all been gifted with. Why not use it more freely to express ourselves. I’m not suggesting we start venting at every person that has done wrong by us, but if another child is doing something to one of my kids that they do not like, my child says ‘stop it – I do not like it’. Yet for years I have allowed people to hurt me in various ways and I have not spoken the words every human has the right to say – ‘Stop it I don’t like it.’
On the flip side kids will so openly and verbally express their love. Again I will be following in their wisdom and more freely telling the people I love how I feel about them.
Fear to children is usually a non issue. They have no pre conceived ideas of failure, rejection, or embarrassment. They dance and sing like they are rock stars, they dive into new experiences with an open mind and a desire to savour the moment. They scream with excitement and they wear their wonder all over their face for the world to see. When did I become so controlled in my reactions, or embarrassed to get up and bust a move without fear of being judged or failing? Why do I deny myself the joy of trying something new, because I am scared it might not work out or I might look like an idiot? No more I tell you – I am going to live in the moment like my children do – I too can be a rock star!
Kids view the world with eyes of innocence. They are not yet desensitised to the injustice and horrors of the world. They not only see them, they feel them and they question how they can make a difference. Once one of my sons gave his whole pocket money to the Salvation Army Guy sitting outside our shopping centre. When I asked him why he did that he said “because it will help someone”. No doubt was there in his words or his actions, he believed he could make a difference and he did. This is something I can do more of and instead of thinking I don’t have much to give, I can’t make a difference really in the big picture, I need to follow my child’s lead and believe that I can make a difference, no matter how big or small my gesture. If everyone made one small gesture towards a common goal – just imagine what we could achieve.
So today I come to you with the advice I wish I had discovered for myself earlier – allow your children to teach you. Close your eyes as an adult for just a moment, then reopen them with the intention of once again viewing the world, your world, with the eyes of a child.
As adults we conform, we modify our behaviour to what is socially acceptable. We speak words that we believe others want to hear and we allow our dreams to be painted with the colour of reality.
But kids they paint with whatever colour they like. They do not question or care if others like the colours they are using, or the style of their painting. It simply is what it is, take it or leave it. It does not matter to them as they are proud of their master piece. And that my friends is how I choose to paint my own future – in whatever damn colours I like and in the wonderful bold strokes of a child.
From Deb: I totally agree with Sonia that we can learn so much from children and believe my children help me to grow every day. As you look back on 2011 what is something your children have taught you?
Find your simple,
Image: kids painting & follow the pin to an article about kids & painting freely