Friday, April 8, 2011

How I Learn From My Kids By What They Do Right - You'll Be Surprised!

A good number of my blog posts have centered around the challenges I face in balancing work and family, in addition to those concerning motherhood.  You know, anything that helps me avoid burnout while trying to do it all???  It started me thinking that perhaps I'm giving my family a bit of a bad rap because I don't often talk about how great they are and what they actually do right.  Even as adults and parents, there is a lot to be learned from others, including our children.  I think one of the big joys in having kids is delighting in watching them experience childhood moments that we may have perhaps forgotten.

My children are uniquely different (as are yours, I'm sure) and so the lessons learned from each are also different.  My son is a lot like me personality-wise, while my daughter is totally my husband.  That means I really "get" my son and his reactions because he acts in a way that I would expect, but even still, there is a lot I can learn from him.  As for my daughter, there are so many things that are not like me, that she can sometimes keep me guessing.  Here are some of the lessons they have taught me:

Lessons from my son:
  • He has boundless curiosity and asks lots of questions, which makes me question things I would perhaps take for granted.  He is able to put things in a new light.
  • He has an incredible memory and reminds me of a lot of the little things I might otherwise forget.
  • He is extremely observant and points things out I wouldn't normally take note of.
  • He does things "his way" and for an A-type personality, it makes me see my way isn't always the "only" way.
  • He cannot end his day without "cuddle" time, which is a great way for all of us to end our day.
  • That there is joy in things, even if we don't do them well - he unfortunately has my sense of rhythm but when there's music on, he doesn't think twice about getting up to dance - and he does so with total delight.  I don't look forward to the day he develops self awareness and quits doing things because he's embarrassed that he doesn't do them well... despite the fact that he loves doing them.
  • That colouring and arts and crafts are really fun - I used to love that stuff and now I get to do it all again!
Lessons from my daughter:
  • Her constant happiness and positive outlook just leave me in awe.  In this, I wish to emulate her.
  • Her ability to really live in the moment shows me I don't always have to think about what's coming next.
  • Her boundless energy in tackling anything she does with total abandonment makes me want to get up and go.
  • Her mischievousness and teasing reminds me to lighten up and have a little more fun.
  • Her sense of discovery makes me think outside the box.
  • Her fearlessness makes me want to try new things and be more adventurous.
  • Her unconditional love no matter what reminds me to accept people for who they are.
  • Sometimes it's OK to cry if you don't get your way.
I think that due to all of the pressures we face with respect to our kids reaching certain childhood milestones, that we spend more time evaluating where our children may fall short, rather than focusing on all of the things they do right.  This is separate and apart from praising them and building their self-esteem - that focuses more on their "accomplishments" and less on who they are as people.  Although we love our children unconditionally and, if you are like me, in total awe that we created these little human beings, we don't always stop to appreciate the little human beings they actually are.    

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel blessed to have been given the privilege of being a mom.  My kids may often drive me crazy, make me lose my patience or just plain make me want to tear my hair out, but I wouldn't want it any other way.  Some days are easier while others harder and totally exhausting, but one things is for sure, I won't EVER take this journey for granted.  As with every Friday afternoon, I wait with impatience for my weekend to begin so I can race home to spend it with my family - the best thing that has ever happened to me.  TGIF!

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