When I became a parent, I vowed to myself to protect the little one, teach him my wisdom, give him the best values and make him a child the world would be proud of. Never once did I imagine in my parenting journey that both my kids would end up teaching me so much.
Here are a few life's lessons they have taught me:
Have you observed children at play? It is amazing how they fight and yell incessantly yet make up easily. The signs of all acrimony completely wiped out by the end of the game. Oh, how I wish we could do that? Why have we managed to hang on to every minor insult, grudge or regret and started burdening our souls? Have you also noticed how children forgive so easily and quickly and with all their heart? No wonder then that their minds are uncluttered and their souls devoid of any baggage. It does not matter if the culprit is a close friend, acquaintance or parent; they are always willing to give the benefit of doubt. I cherish the hugs my younger son gives me happily despite being disappointed just a few minutes back. Some soothing words and promises from mommy is all it takes to put his anguish behind.
Children find it easy to open their hearts to love. Rich or poor, fat or thin, young or old, they don't care. If there are any levelers in the world, they are our children. I was so proud when my son brought my maid's son home, showed him his books and toys and played with him. Children love without apprehension or judgment, unconditionally. Such an easy recipe for happiness!
This I have observed at close quarters. A child is not afraid of the unknown. Give the child a task, seemingly daunting, and you will find them approaching it with gusto. Their mind is free of conditioned fear and prejudices. My own sons exasperate me with their little fearless experiments. Hence, I found my brand new wall clock opened up when I came home one day. My little mechanic was trying to figure out how the hands move. Needless to say, he did not know how to put it back. From setting paper on fire using their magnifying glass to helping papa find icky worms on his homegrown spinach, these boys are game for everything. Oh, their spirit of adventure - it is something else and quite heartening as well.
Find beauty in everything:
When I had my first child, it was natural that I went and bought a lot of expensive toys and clothes. As he grew older, he ditched the expensive toys and took a lot of pleasure in simple kitchen utensils. My younger son loves playing with his car toys. Broken cars, those with missing wheels and old ones well past their prime are all lovingly played with.
And how can I forget the compliments they cherish on me? Mummy may be wearing an old dress and looking tired and hassled, but the younger son never hesitates to tell me how wonderful I look. I can't tell you how uplifting it is for me. To them everything is beautiful, worthy of appreciation.
Notice the little things:
Often in the rush to see the bigger picture, we miss out on the little joys in life. A small child finds an anecdote hilarious and laughs a deep belly laugh. I see my sons deriving great joy in seeing a butterfly take flight, in watching a spider weave a web, in seeing a flower bloom or in watching their pet dog come bounding to them -- activities that I have long stopped observing. As a multitasking mother who works professionally as well as takes care of the home, I am mostly running around missing the God in finer details. They make me resolve to stop and stare even as life rushes by.
Little children are delightfully active. From the time they learn to crawl, they waste not a minute. I just love watching the kids scamper around merrily. These little bundles of energy never get tired. You don't believe me? Try matching step with them. I have two high-on-energy sons at home, so I know. Now think of an adult. As we grow older, all we do is sit and sit some more. And then comes a day when we find it difficult to even walk at a brisk pace. Our beautiful bodies, the marvels of nature and the most fantastic machines around, are allowed to fall into disuse. Play is fun; our little ones ably teach us.
Childhood passes us by in a jiffy. And sometimes the unique qualities we had imbibed do as well. You and I can retain these wonderful attributes with some awareness and a little conscious effort. Let us all rediscover the joy of living from our kids.