I believe that children teach their parents. I believe this at many different levels and I believe this more and more everyday.
I believe that my two year old little girl has taught me forgiveness and the ability to share more than I thought was capable from a human. She forgives her bigger sister for hitting her, pushing her down and taking her cookie. When given another cookie, she will, of her own choosing, break the cookie to share with her sister and go hand in hand with her to watch Dora or Barney. The forgiveness is immediate and not dependant on a promise or a condition. She shares because she loves her sister. She wants her big sister to be as happy with the cookie as she is. She is proud to share.
My three year old daughter has taught me simple pleasures. When she sees something for the first time or is able to participate in an activity that she enjoys, the excitement on her face is so evident so amazing. It could be the snow falling, or just sitting in the little red wagon as I pull it down the bumpy city sidewalk or even playing in the box that her new two hundred dollar playhouse came in. She is happy, content. It’s the simple, little everyday events that make her smile.
My seven year old son has taught me the joy of being happy with who you are. He struggles with his school work everyday. He has to work harder at things that come naturally to most. At seven, he can not tie his shoe. He struggles to write his name. To walk down a hall with out hanging on to the wall is a challenge. He often stumbles and falls. Through all of this, he is still a happy, well adjusted child. As I walk through his school with him, I can’t help but smile as kids from the age of four to the age of eleven and every adult he passes smiles and says hello to him, calling him by name. He knows who he is. He knows that he struggles, but it does not slow him down. It has not retarded him from making friends. He is happy with who he is.
My eight year old daughter has taught me empathy, not sympathy. When she is at the playground, she often can be found playing with a smaller child who until Kyra arrived, was by her-self watching all of the other children running or playing in a group. Or maybe at the swimming pool on a hot summer day soaking her feet in the water next to a handicapped child who is unable to swim due to a disability. She never says to me I feel sorry for that child who was alone. She never tells me how bad she feels for the handicapped child. Instead, she tells me if she was alone, she would want somebody to come play or sit with her. She simply puts herself in the position of somebody else and takes action.
My eleven year old daughter has taught me the importance of listening. Not just hearing what somebody has to say but also what they don’t say. What they can’t say or are embarrassed to say. Listening is so much more than hearing the words that come out of somebody’s mouth. It is listening with your heart and your mind.
These are just some of the things that my children have taught me this week. Everyday, I learn more from them and am amazed. I truly believe that children teach their parents.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.