stuff that makes me think / what I've learned

lessons from the littles

1. ” I would want to be God. I would want to be beside everyone”, said one of my preschoolers.

IMG_4534[1]Ya, I hear ya.

If I were God, I’d likely do other things, like obliterate poverty, impart God’s understanding entirely to me and everyone else, not allow bad stuff to happen, function optimally without sleep and wash my floors at the snap of my fingers.

Oh, I know…you’ll tell me all the good things that come from learning from the bad. Check. Life has taught me there is truth to that, though like it, I will not.

WANT the bad? Nope, I’m not sadistic. I would change my hard stories without a thought; and I would change everyone’s sad stories happening right now.

I might be wrong in wanting to do even these things. But what does it matter? I won’t have the opportunity.

What I can do is strive to understand myself and others, be at peace with myself and those in my sphere as best as I am able, and then I will have an unspoken impact outward.

2. Hard work turns everything to gold.

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All my kids can work hard. We have taught them that. But some of them come by it without my help.

Grit. Hard work. Tenacity. Sow what you reap. Whatever you call it, it gets reward.

The ones born from me that naturally bear this character trait –of not fearing work– accomplish more with effort than those born with aptitude. Ted Talks don’t need to convince me of that…but Angela Lee Duckworth did a good job convincing me too.

3. Don’t do it the way everyone else does.

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Put your stamp on it. Do it outside the box.

Just four, Zach wore his outfit backwards. I asked if he knew it was backwards. He said he did.

I asked, why are you wearing it backwards?

He said: so others will know and ask me WHY I am wearing my clothing backwards.

Okey dokey.

From a very young age, we want to be different, unique, set apart from the crowd. Perhaps our immature approaches to being different would be simpler and easier than some of our adult versions.

One of my kids repeatedly does this, without thought. Unique as she is, it often bugs me that she does things independently, because it’s almost ALWAYS different than my way. But she often comes to a similar end point, sometimes with less effort, sometimes with more…sometimes accomplishing more than I would.

One thing she’s not though, is afraid that others think of her as doing things differently. She doesn’t register it, because she doesn’t care.

Anyways, life is more interesting that way. Why do things the way everyone’s doing it?

Strive for interesting, not approval.

4. Be sweet. It gets you sweet friends.

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One of my kids knows how to make friends.

Is she self-conscious? If she is, I can’t see it.

She assumes people will like her, but doesn’t register when they don’t…

If someone doesn’t care for her, she just moves on till she finds someone who does. No offense taken.

No self-analysis: why am I not good enough? No comparisons required. She thinks: I’m as good as her, she should like me. She doesn’t seem to focus on the differences, rather she focuses on their similarities.

This kid is just warm, cute and friendly. Being interested in others, showing warmth in a smile and not taking things too seriously enables friendships, and she models it for me.

5. There isn’t a right age to know something.

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You can know your times tables at four and still not be versed in the alphabet. You can know how to wield clever dialogue and interesting plot lines but not comfortably divide fractions.

Grade segregation is an understandable attempt at dividing mass numbers of children that generally, probably, have similar levels of understanding–and yet they aren’t at the same place in everything.

I’m mid-life and I’m learning fractions. Yet I did well in university stats, calculated pediatric dosages and figured out how much garden soil was required for my raised garden beds last summer. And I would likely shock my high school math teachers that I teach math to my kids. Go figure. There is no right age for anything.

6. There isn’t a right age to do something.

Is this wrong?

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They fight over it. For this fight, I do not complain. My hands are cold. So if they want to gas the van, they are more than welcome.

Of course I’m standing by…I have to insert the credit card. Wait…maybe next time I don’t.

When they do productive things, they know they’re a meaningful participant in our family. And they really are every time they go grab me a few items from the produce section, or clean the bathroom, or plan dinner.

Yes, you could say I should do it for them. No worries, I do plenty.

I think that if  they can do it, they should do it. And if they want to learn to do something, as long as it’s safe, you go girl (or guy)!

Build that Ikea bookshelf, try your hand at seeding the garden, cook dinner or write that blog.

The world is filled with many little people, capable of much, understanding much, with much to offer and we should see them for what they are–little, and people.

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