When I stop trying so hard to get all the things done on my never-ending "to do list," and just watch my children do their thing, I can't help but notice all the undeniable ways kids are just better at life than adults. Seriously, why do we spend so much time teaching them to be more like adults? Just writing this article has reminded me that I shut down my daughter's questions way too often, and react negatively to my son's "experimental" throwing of, well, everything. Letting kids be kids and watching them do their thing and allowing yourself to learn from them is, well, both liberating and awe-inspiring. Instead of trying to make kids more like adults, maybe we should try and encourage adults to be more like kids (sometimes, of course).
I think our kids are here not just to teach us patience and love, but to remind us of all the incredible things kids are capable of. Too often, we get caught up in the seriousness of adulthood. There are bills to pay, work to get done, chores to do and, well, that endless "to do list" I already mentioned. Children are about joy and exploration (and complaining, sure), and I'd argue that us adults could use a little more of both in our lives.
So, if you can, I suggest simply stopping whatever it is you have going on and enjoying a few moments to appreciate not just all that your kids are getting out of life, but all the ways they're absolutely crushing life. You may find yourself smiling a bit more, feeling lighter, and even learning ways that you can improve, too.
They Laugh At Anything And Everything
Don't you love how kids experiment with laughing? Like, they sometimes just laugh to hear the sound or see who else reacts. It's adorable, and it can't help but brighten your day. In fact, I dare you to try pretending to laugh and not end up actually laughing.
They Want To Completely Explore Every Place They Go
Watching a kid discover a new place is the most magical thing. They examine everything so closely, like they have so much to learn from it. Adults, on the other hand, are usually concentrating on getting somewhere else or doing something, instead of just being present in any particular moment and appreciating what is around them.
They Want To Experiment With Anything And Everything
How many times has your baby or toddler thrown something they know they shouldn't have, and then giggled in delight? Did you know they're not actually trying to tick you off, but delighting in the actual experiment they just conducted? That's how kids learn, according to Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development. That's actually how adults learn, too, but it's mostly just scientists who experiment, these days.
They Love To Be Tickled
Tickling is kind of an awesome way to release tension (assuming you're not one of those people for whom tickling is actually painful, in which case, I'm sorry). If we ended every actual fight with a tickling fight, everyone would be happier, if you ask me.
They Eat What They Like And They Eat Until They're Full...
I wish I was better at this. My kids will stop eating in the middle of a cookie, if they feel full. Their desire to eat more completely disappears, and they move on. No feeling of obligation to finish and without worrying about calories. It's just food. They don't worry about "good" food or "bad" food. They don't think that they should starve themselves in order to fit some predetermined (and often unhealthy) standard of beauty. They don't put themselves through strict diets. They simply enjoy food the way it was meant to be enjoyed: guilt-free.
...And They Prefer Icing Above All Else, Which Is Just Smart
Kids know where it's at. Cake is just a delivery method for the best part of all: the sugary goodness that is icing. Why do we even pretend that the cake is something we want? My kids still mostly just lick off the icing of cupcakes and pieces of cake.
They're Willing To Spin Until They Fall Over
It's fun, it makes you tipsy, you can do it with friends or by yourself, and it doesn't leave you with a hangover. Sounds better than alcohol, if you ask me.
They Think They're Superheroes With Super Powers
OK, so your kid may not be able to fly. That's fine. Honestly, it's their unabashed imagination that should be getting all the praise. The sky isn't the limit, it's the starting point, and when your kid lets their mind take them to unbelievable places, it's a pretty big reminder of how quickly adults stifle creativity.
Plus, superheroes help people in need, right? Shouldn't we all be trying to do more of that, even if we have to pretend we can fly?
They Forgive And Forget Quickly
I am always in awe of how quickly my kids can go from being out-of-their-minds angry at each other, to smiling and hugging once everyone says sorry. That's all it takes. There are no grudges and one fight won't be brought up during another fight. I mean, it's simple. I need to take a lesson from them.
When They Want Something, They Ask For It
Have you ever worked yourself up into a tizzy, wondering if the person you want to ask something of will judge you for asking? Kids don't care. If they want something, they just ask. And ask. And ask. And, well, you get the point.
They Celebrate Differences, Instead Of Criticizing Them
Have you ever watched your kids make new friends at the playground? It doesn't matter what their new friends look like, it matters how much fun they have together. It's not that kids are "colorblind," it's that kids register those differences (in ability, or in skin color, or in gender), and they enjoy the hell out of it all.
They Are Honest (Sometimes, To A Fault)
My kids are notorious for pointing out any new pimples my husband and I may have, or the soft bellies we're currently rocking, but there's no criticism or judgement in their observations. In other words, you'd better believe they'll tell you if they're mad, instead of holding it in and allowing resentment to build until it's too late for the other person to do anything, the way many adults I know do (many adults, meaning myself).
They Appreciate The Little Things
Kids are just as happy to play with boxes as they are to play with toys. Hell, when my stepdaughter went to the zoo for the first time, she was more excited about an ant she saw at her feet, than the tigers 25 feet away in a cage. They are enamored with the small stuff, and it's a good reminder that in the big scheme of things, it's the small stuff that really matters.