Life is full of lessons. And for the astute observer you can learn something by watching just about anything. I have four daughters and I’ve learned a lot about myself and life by watching them. In fact, it’s quite possible I’ve learned all I need to know about life from my children. And I’ve taken lots of notes.
Bodies in motion.
I believe my four girls have solved the puzzle of perpetual motion. They prove Newton’s law that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Their energy is endless. In fact, I think they have discovered how to steal my energy and feed off of it for themselves. For as the day wears on and I find my energy levels waning, they seem to be just getting started.
Lesson: All of us need to move; whether it be walking, jogging, cycling, or playing a favorite sport. Exercise gives us more energy.
Have you ever noticed, given healthy choices, kids stop eating when they’re full, and given unhealthy choices, they engorge themselves like sharks in a feeding frenzy?
Lesson: You want to maintain a healthy weight? Eat healthy food and stop eating when you’re satisfied.
Honesty is the best policy.
Kids operate on a basis of trust. Truthfulness is as important to them as air. Why? Because their level of discernment is still developing and they have great difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality, fallacy and truth. They prefer to always be told the honest-to-goodness truth.
Lesson: Always tell the truth. Truthfulness is the only way to build trust and is the cornerstone to establishing healthy relationships.
What the world needs is love.
What’s the number one thing children need more than food and water? That’s right, love. Children who know they are loved are more physically and emotionally healthy, have a better self-image, and tend to treat others with that same respect and love.
Lesson: The Golden Rule is not just some cute little phrase. “Love your neighbor as yourself” really does have immeasurable value. When we show love and respect to others we feel better about ourselves, and that love will tend to be reciprocated.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
When my three oldest girls were younger, whenever they got money the first thing they wanted to do was put it in their piggy banks. They had no concept of material gain or “keeping up with the Joneses.” Their idea of being rich was not measured in possessions, but rather in how heavy their piggy bank is.
Lesson: Spend your money wisely. Learn to distinguish between needs, wants, and desires, establish a good savings, and always seek the best prices.
My girls love spending time together as a family. They love the unity and bond we share as a family and need to know that mom and dad feel the same way.
Lesson: Nobody should be closer to you than your family. They know you when you are at your best and worst and love you anyway. Never, ever neglect your family. And give them the time they deserve.
Boundaries are good.
Kids need boundaries. They need to know when they’ve gone too far and that someone will be there to corral them when they’ve crossed that line. For my daughters, boundaries equal security.
Lesson: We too, need boundaries and need to know when to say when. Without boundaries our lives can seem to spiral out of control real fast. And we need others in our lives to hold us accountable, telling us when we’ve crossed the line.
The faith of a child.
Children don’t need proof that God exists or that the Bible means what it says. Their simple faith sees the beautiful creation around them, the complexity of their own bodies, and the wonder of the most mundane things of everyday life and has no problem believing that there is a God behind it all. This gives them a great sense of security knowing that there is a being greater than they are that can heal any broken heart, dry any tear, and comfort them when they feel alone.
Lesson: Faith like a child really can move mountains. It can heal broken relationships, bring comfort in the midst of life’s fiercest storms, and see God for whom He really is—the sovereign Creator and Ruler of the universe, and our loving, caring Father.
Now it’s your turn. What life lessons have you learned from your children?