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Children can teach us a few life lessons

By Staff | Jul 17, 2009

As a parent you are always conscious of a learning opportunity for your children.

A simple walk in the park or drawing with sidewalk chalk can be turned into a learning experience if you use your imagination. Your children are constantly learning from every situation. Their minds are like little sponges taking in everything they see and hear.

Some children, of course, are very inquisitive. They get to a certain age and their favorite word is “WHY?” Sometimes you run out of answers or just don’t know why, but that doesn’t stop them from asking.

But it’s also important that parents learn from their children. Let me tell you, I’ve learned plenty from our little Abby. She may be only two years old, but she can teach you so many things.

Here are five (of the many) lessons I’ve learned from my two-year-old.

#1 – Don’t let minor obstacles hold you back from doing or getting what you want. Can’t reach that candy that Mom has stashed on top of the refrigerator? Get a chair to boost you. Can’t quite reach those crayons that Dad hid after you colored on the cupboards? Use a box and a chair and then the laundry basket as a ladder to boost you up to the highest shelf.

Abby is constantly using everyday things to help her reach things she

shouldn’t. Everything is fair game to serve as a step to get up higher to reach all sorts of things. She’s not about to let her short stature stop her from getting exactly what she wants.

# 2- Stop and smell the roses and pluck a few dandelions …and pick up a few twigs…and snag a few rocks for your pocket. Abby is the slowest walker in the world. Abby wants to take her time and check things out. Some of her favorite treasures are rocks and pine cones. She also loves to pick flowers and leaves.

Mom and Dad usually set out for a brisk walk, but Abby is more of the strolling, meandering, roaming, wandering type. She discovers something new on every trip, and she might miss something if she’s going too fast.

#3 – Don’t be afraid to try new things. On a recent trip to the grocery store Abby spotted the shelf full of pineapples. Drawn to the interesting shape and texture of the fruit, she immediately started asking me to buy one.

I love pineapple, but I’ve never purchased a whole one because I always thought it would be too much work to cut. With Abby’s insistence, we bought one. Sure enough, it’s not nearly as difficult to cut, and we both enjoyed the fresh pineapple very much. Before Abby came along I wouldn’t have bothered, but thanks to her persistence, we tried something new. Abby is so eager to try new things, and sometimes her mom needs to be more open to new experiences and follow suit.

#4 – Never believe everything you hear. Abby has gotten to the point where she no longer takes her parents’ word for it. If she wants to go outside and we say she can’t because it’s raining she promptly informs us that it’s not raining. When she wants to jump off the bed and we tell her it’s too dangerous, she tells us it’s not. When she wants to eat ice cream for breakfast and we tell her that’s not a good meal, she tells us that it is. The popular phrase might be, “Father knows best,” but not in our house. Abby knows best.

She’s not about to believe everything she hears. She’ll investigate until she finds out the truth, or at least something she’s satisfied with as the truth. Gone are the days when Mommy and Daddy can put one over on her.

#5 – How to properly greet your friends. No matter how long it’s been since she’s seen her friends, Abby always greets them with a big smile, a squeal of delight and runs to them with open arms. She and our neighbor girl have become good buddies, and it doesn’t matter if they’ve seen each other three times that day, they always greet each other with the same enthusiasm. Maybe we should all do this. With Abby and our neighbor, Ella, there’s no question how much they mean to each other. Everyone should be more open to showing appreciation for how much we value our friendships, and what better way to show it than with a joyous greeting?

Thanks to a very inquisitive two-year-old, our world has changed in so many ways. Whether it’s trying new things or stopping to notice the little things, Abby has so much to teach her parents.

Just wait until she’s a teenager, we’ll really have a lot to learn then.

Mullally is a Tribune writer.

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