From the moment that our children come into our lives, we know that it’s our responsibility to guide and teach them. As newly formed little humans, they have a lot to discover and learn. And as their parents, we are the tour guides who help them to figure out this world.

We show them sights they haven’t seen; we take them to places they’ve never been. We teach them right from wrong, how to put on pants, and why biting the cat’s tail is a bad idea.

On a daily basis, we impart knowledge, provide wisdom, and offer information. And just like little sponges, they soak it up and in. They learn to walk and to talk, and to not lick the bottom of their shoes.

But, as their teachers, we are so busy rearing, educating, and helping them to navigate the world that we often don’t realize that they are teaching us.

So what do they teach us?

They teach us:

  1. To Be Curious: Children ask questions, peek into cupboards, and push buttons. It’s important as an adult to remember that being inquisitive is how we learn. And there is always more to learn.
  1. To Find Joy In The Simple Pleasures: A perfectly timed burp. Sliding down a water slide. Children appreciate the simple pleasures because they don’t have unrealistic expectations. They understand that joy can be found anywhere. As adults, we must remember to keep seeking the simple pleasures.
  1. To Accept: Children don’t judge. They don’t see color, faults or flaws; they see the potential for a new friend. Tolerance is a lesson none of us should forget.
  1. To Express Our Emotions: Children scream when they’re mad. Squeal when they’re happy. Wail when they’re sad. As adults, it’s good to remember that it’s much better for our soul to let it out then keep it bottled in.
  1. To Live In The Moment: Children never stop playing cars because they must meet their self-imposed deadline to color. Instead little ones stay present when they feel joy. So, sip your coffee—the laundry can wait an hour. Live in the now, it makes life more enjoyable.
  1. To Be Passionate: A craft, a car, or a dollhouse can keep a child entertained, enthralled and busy for hours or even days. When a child discovers a new activity, they embrace it with love and excitement. They put their whole selves into the endeavor. As adults, we need to remember to not temper our passion but rather embrace it—it’s how greatness is achieved.
  1. To Savor The Sweet Moments: Playing in the bath, tumbling across the floor or nestling in our arms are just a few of the sweet moments children never rush. They don’t stop or pull away to sweep, or take a call. Their pure delight living in the moment teaches us that now are the good old days.
  1. To Not Limit Ourselves: A firefighter, the president, a space cowboy. Children believe they can be anything because they don’t limit themselves. It’s not their perceived flaws and shortcomings that dictate their dreams but rather their interests and passions. So, the next time you think you can’t, remember that you can.
  1. To Be Fearless: Children jump, climb, and tumble. They taste, try, and run headlong into new experiences. It’s a good reminder to adults that being bold and daring makes for the best memories and a much more interesting life.
  1. To Indulge, Savor And Enjoy: Children don’t scarf down their food. They don’t turn away dessert. They welcome and enjoy the things and moments that bring them joy. Adults should always bear in mind that indulging in and savoring the sweet things in life is what makes life sweet.

So the next time you are rushing to finish a chore, or trudging from one stop to another, remember to hold your child longer or skip down the sidewalk. Most importantly, take a moment to learn the valuable lessons your child can teach you.

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Sherry Parnell

A full-time writer, personal trainer, and professor, I am the author of Let the Willows Weep and Daughter of the Mountain. An alumnus of Dickinson College and West Chester University, I live with my husband and sons in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. I am currently working on my third novel entitled The Secrets Mother Told.

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