Before becoming a mum, I thought parenting was all about how I teach my children and what they’ll learn from me. I envisioned them learning from what I say, the way I behave and my experiences. After all, I’m the adult and matured one in this relationship.
While the abovementioned is true, I have found myself unexpectedly learning lots from my children. As a mother of two under-five year olds, I have come to realise there are so many valuable lessons I can learn from these young ones which I probably wouldn’t get from other adults.
Lesson #1: Genuine
Children are genuine. They rarely have any hidden agendas. When they say something, they mean it. If you want to hear the truth, ask a child. That’s also why there’s the phase ‘Children say the darnest things.’
As we grow up, we learn to be politically correct. We answer according to what we assume others would want to hear. While this is perhaps a social skill which helps our communication with others, somewhere along the line we become less genuine.
In the article “18 Eye-Opening Realizations You’ll Have When You’re Actually With The Right Person,” top on the list was—“You know you’re with the right person when they’re unafraid to challenge the way you think.” Someone who is willing to risk losing a friendship when challenging us is hands down better than one who sugar-coats every single word to make us happy.
We teach our children to be polite in their speech whereas they teach us to be tactful yet remain genuine.
Lesson # 2: Forgiving
While it is a struggle for many to forgive, either people who have wronged us or even ourselves, children forgive and forget with such ease. It seems as though it is natural for them to do so.
My son was bitten by his friend in kindergarten and it left him with quite a big scar. What amazed me was that after all the crying, he continued to play with that same friend that very day of the incident as if nothing had happened. Way before the physical scar had healed, he had put everything behind and forgiven him!
This experience made me realise that forgiveness isn’t given when asked, but is freely given without condition. No wonder it is said that forgiving others is an act to free us rather than freeing the one we forgive.
Lesson #3: Simple
Children don’t complicate stuff. They simply believe, simply trust and simply love. To them everything is simple. They can do anything; they can be anyone.
Mark chapter 10, verses 13 to 16 records Jesus’s account of children and the kingdom of heaven belonging to them because of their simplicity.
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in [emphasis added].” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
As we grow, we experience various circumstances and our beliefs are moulded by what we’ve gone through. Doubt, unbelief and judgment creep in and cloud our view of the world and God.
We teach our children to be cautious and street-smart; they in turn teach us unconditional love, grace and mercy do exist.
Parenting is an interesting journey. It has its perks as well as its quirks. As we shower our most prized treasures, our children, with love and try our best to guide them in the way they should go, they in turn add much value to our life.
I love this quote by Angela Schwindt, a home schooling mom—“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”
May we not miss out on the valuable lessons that our utmost treasures bring to our life.
Esther Koh is a stay-at-home mum living in Wellington with her husband and two sons. She loves people and has a passion for helping others find their purpose for living.
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