How often do we worry about the life skills we need in order to be happy and succeed in life? How many of us have gone to life coaches, paid for training, certificates, and things to get us ahead? Sometimes, however, the most valuable skills can be learned at home, where you have the perfect coach in the form of a little person that you love so much. They keep you busy and, sometimes, annoy you. But there’s so much we can learn from them. All we have to do is open our eyes and ears. Be mindful and you will probably receive the best life lessons from your own kid. The lessons I have learned can be broken down into five areas. Here they are:
As an adult, when I go somewhere, the goal is to reach that final destination. With my kids, that destination is usually the playground. For them, however, it is not the destination, but everything in between. They stop every few steps to touch the leaves, to look at the caterpillar on the road, to jump in the puddle. Through this, sometimes painful experience, I’ve learned to not only extend my patience, but also notice all the little things that surround us. So be aware. Don’t miss what’s going on around you. It could be great. You could be living one of the happiest moments in your life and still miss it simply because of a lack of awareness. Be mindful. Great opportunities are visible only to those who can stop and really see what is going on.
The power of a good routine
This is especially true for babies and toddlers. They have so much energy and are capable of learning and exercising constantly. Despite my complaints and my fear of not getting enough rest, they wake up exactly at the same time. Even on the weekends. For them a day is a day, period. When it`s time to eat, they eat. They listen to their internal clock and they eat. I started following their rhythm and even now that they are a bit bigger I have discovered how much more productive my day can be when I follow a healthy routine. I have so much more time and energy to train and take on interesting activities. If I have to go back to bed, I could, but the important thing is to follow a regular schedule. Remember: see their natural rhythm and you will follow. Researchers have shown how a good routine will help to keep a healthy immune system and improve brain functions and mood. It also improves the waistline and how we digest.
Love is time
Many of us keep saying too many `I love you’s` to friends and family members. We also keep worrying about what gifts to give and about sending timely messages through Facebook when a birthday reminder comes up. The important thing is that people really care about the time we dedicate to them. Love = Time. Look at your kids, all they want is for you to spend time with them. They might ask for every single toy they see, but what they really value is the time you spend playing with them. The same applies to your partners, clients, and friends. So let’s start spending time on those who we really care for.
Eat until you are satisfied
If you had a childhood like mine, you were probably forced to finish what was on your plate to show gratitude for the food you have access to – a privilege a lot of kids simply don’t enjoy. This probably created the habit of not listening to your body. Then we find ourselves complaining about health issues that come from eating too much. And worse, we are teaching our children to do the same. Now I propose to do the contrary. We should allow our children to stop when they feel is right, and focus only in the quality of the food we give them. But don’t stop there! Allow yourself to listen to your body and re-learn this healthy eating habit. I did it and it probably saved me a few hundred dollars in doctor appointments and medicine. The real solution was right under my nose in my own dining room. Try it. I promise you won’t regret it. You would also be preparing your own kids for a better future.
Oftentimes we get angry trying to make our kids forget about their little whims, like when they want a toy and we finally convince them to accept a lollipop instead! Yet, we can’t practice what we preach. We were out shopping one day and suddenly, a simple choice in what type of pants to get turned into a disagreement between mommy and daddy. Things that happened months, and even years ago re-surfaced during the argument. It was plain stupid. Let’s follow our children`s example. Let`s learn to be content with a lollipop, from time to time. The best way to lead is by example, so let’s stop being self-centered and accept the brilliant lessons our kids teach us. Watch how, minutes after siblings fight in the fiercest way, they get back to playing together and enjoying the present moment. Or how right after we punish our kids, and they go crying to their room, they can accept our hugs and kisses with such pleasure a few minutes after. If we were able to do 25% of what they do, the quality of our daily lives would improve immensely, and ultimately, we would get what we want, more often than not. Isn’t that what happens with our kids anyway?