Life Lessons From Children

The older I get, the more I realize that children have some of the best answers to the basic questions of life.  They seem to instinctively know how to manage the twists and turns of everyday living.

With all my education, experience and wisdom, I have learned to look to a five-year-old for some of the wisest lessons in getting through life.

Here are my top ten favorites:

Play is the best medicine.  Children have the ability to play with anything, anytime.  It’s how they release their emotions and feelings.  It’s also how they heal themselves.

Take a nap when you’re tired.  Children can sleep anywhere, when they need to.  What a great gift is that!

Always greet your elders with a hug and a kiss.  This is good advice your whole life – no matter how old you are.  Grannies always love to be greeted this way.

Every day is a fresh start.  No matter what happens today, no matter how bad it is or who hurts them, tomorrow is always a new day to a child.  All is forgotten and everything is possible again.  Each morning is a clean slate.

Be courageous.  Sing out loud.  Dance to the music.  Children are not confined by fear of failure or shame.  They embrace life.

Laugh every day.  Children see silliness everywhere.  Look for the humor in your everyday life.

Be active.  Get up and move.   Go outside. Find something to do.  Contact a friend. Children rarely sit in a rocking chair staring into space, thinking about the past.

Scars are badges of honor.  Scars are sources of pride to children, not signs of weakness.  Be proud of your scars.  Tell the story.   Make yourself the hero.  Pass on the wisdom.

Try new things.   Children do not fear the unknown.  They will try a new game, dive into a pool or jump on a trampoline.  Be adventurous.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Step into the unknown.

Notice the little things.  Children can be fascinated by the smallest of things – ants crossing a sidewalk, the tiny feet of birds, the wings of a bumblebee.  The things we take for granted bring them great joy.  Take notice of all the small miracles around you, and see how much more beautiful your life will be.

Becoming more childlike is one of the wisest things we can do as we age.

Play With Me, Granny

“Play with me, Granny”toy_grandma

How many times have I heard those words from a sweet grandchild with pleading eyes, pursed lips and a toy or a game in their outstretched arms? Plenty, I tell you, and also not enough!

Spending time with a little one has to be one of the greatest pleasures in the world. And when that time is face-to-face in imaginary play, the gates of heaven themselves seem to open up. It is great fun in the moment and the memory is beyond words.

Figure1Our 7 yo grandson Mark has always enjoyed games but recently has discovered a new level of board games that we have all been rediscovering with him. Checkers has become a real favorite, along with “The Ladybug Game.” It requires no reading, and was created by a first-grader as a school project. Mark was very intrigued by this and has decided he could do something similar. Such an interesting way that a game can be inspiring!

Another new favorite is “Qwirkle,” which is similar to Dominoes. Planning and strategy are necessary, so both of us are learning some new skills here.

Games and the time spent playing them can teach kids so much. And how to win is the least! In the beginning it may be just about taking turns and having fun. Later on, there’s much to absorb about fairness, truth, strategy, planning and having fun. Eventually, one must learn how to lose with grace, prepare for the future, visualize the effects of one’s actions, help others to succeed and have even more fun. The lessons of game-playing, as in life, never seem to end. And neither does the joy, thank heavens!

As I was cleaning out a closet recently, I found our old “Monopoly” game with a record ofmonopoly-game-boardjpg-8628f916002139a1 all the winning scores on the inside of the box lid going back more than thirty years.  One particularly lengthy and sweet entry: 2/10/1986, my son’s name (he was then about 12 years old), $11,860, the town where we lived in Texas, 10:45 AM, 8 hotels, 6 houses, 18 properties, happened on a snowy day.

I can picture in my mind the kids home from school on a snow day, a fire in the fireplace, hot cocoa in mugs and everyone playing Monopoly for days at a time, stopping only to eat. The youngest child succeeding and proudly writing his legacy on the lid of a game box. There to be found, read and wonderfully remembered by his mother thirty years later.article-new_ds-photo_getty_article_178_136_86509377_XS

Don’t think for one minute that time spent playing with your youngster is time wasted. It is profound. It is necessary. It is gobs of fun.