I remember clearly the feelings of excitement, anxiety, happiness and fear that came with finding out we were having a baby. A baby! I wasn’t sure I was ready – but it’s one of those life experiences, at least for me, that you just have to dive into – I’d never be ready if I kept thinking about it too much. I was never one of those parents that just knew they wanted to have children. I just figured if it was meant to happen it would, and if not, it wouldn’t. (Easy to say when it happens easily – I have a lot of friends who struggled for years to have children and I have all the respect in the world for the heartache those years brought to them.)
It did happen, and I’m so grateful. Not just for this amazing human that’s in my life every day, but in the things he’s taught me and blessed my life with. They say we’re teaching our children every day, which is true – but they also teach us every day – for those who are willing to listen to the lessons. Profound lessons in little packages. Here are 10 interesting lessons my 10-year-old has taught me in the last 10 years. Happy Birthday, Richie. I love you.
- Love is the best gift you can give. No amount of Legos, video games or cool trips can top just sitting on the couch together every night.
- When there’s a screen on, creativity is off. I’m not a crazy, no-videos-no-TV Mom by any stretch, but I have learned that when our brains are auto-stimulated by someone else’s story all of the time, we don’t spend much time creating our own. Turning off the TV, iPods, video consoles is a big part of keeping kids creative and thinking.
- But there are lessons in everything, even the TV. No, not the Lifetime movie kind of lesson, but interest in how things work – like how movies are made, which leads to using tech to create our own, which leads to a lot of laughs.
- Speaking of laughs, do it more often. Parenting has taught me to lighten up and try to find the humor in any situation.
- Sometimes, cleaning up [or work] can wait. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Yep, in a minute, right after I [fill in the blank]” only to have missed a moment that I can’t get back.
- Don’t just hear, listen. If your son or daughter wants to show you a new trick, dance move or creation – pay attention. How many times have you “uh-huh”‘d them to death while not really listening? I know I want my sons to talk to me openly – as openly as possible – when they get into their teen years, and that setting the stage now means showing them I’m truly listening to what they want to tell me.
- Kids deserve the opportunity to express an opinion. Too often we don’t let children say their piece. We’re the parent, we’re the ones who set the rules, they just need to quiet down and listen. Not true. Giving children a voice to express not only how they’re feeling, but how they view the world, is crucial to staying connected with them and helping them to turn into confident young men and women who will lead, not just follow.
- Movie nights are made for popcorn. You might have thought it was the other way around. Nope.
- Rising early really is nice. I’m a night owl, he’s a morning lark. Which means I used to be a night owl.
- A quiet moment can speak volumes. When is the last time you took a walk with your child and just talked? No entertainment, no phones, no iPods. Just you, your child, and the conversation that you’ll be amazed at as it develops. Try it – but don’t forget to listen.