1) Live in the moment
How many times has my 4 year old come up to me when it's pouring outside and say, "Mommy, can I put my rain boots on and go outside and play in the rain?!" All with SO much excitement. I think to myself, "WHAT ARE YOU NUTS!? It's raining outside, you'll catch a cold!" Just like something your mother might say, right. Ugh. Why not just go with it? I myself, actually LOVE running in the rain, so why should it surprise me that my daughter also loves the joy of being outside when it's raining and experiencing that? Don't let moments like this pass you by. I know it's easier said then done, but if you don't give in once in a while to these exciting and spontaneous times in life, you will look back and wish you had. At least once.
2) Speak your mind
Kids have no filter. The call it like they see it, and they mean it. It can be a little embarrassing at times, but also very refreshing. If they don't agree with something, or like something they will let you know. They have confidence in what they're saying is the truth. They believe in themselves and express their feelings with no worries if it may offend anyone. As adults we must also deal with tact, and NOT offending everyone in the room, but it's that art of saying what you mean in a way that doesn't offend others, but gets your point across, that we strive for. If you always find you are looking back at situations and think, "I should have said this or that," then maybe it's time you actually did.
3) Stop and smell the roses
In our lives, it seems like we are ALWAYS in a rush. A rush to get to work. A rush to get things done. A rush to move on to the next task. It really wasn't until I started taking walks with my daughters, that I actually STOP to enjoy the simpler things in life. A 1/2 mile walk can take 45 minutes to complete, because they stop along the way to literally smell the roses (or weeds they think are pretty flowers). They will pick up the rocks and examine them, and say hello to every dog that passes us by, wanting to pet them all. I, on the other hand move fast because I always feel there is something I HAVE to do, or HAVE to get done. Why? It's gonna be there when I return, but sometimes we let these little things get in the way of us enjoying these finer pleasures in life. Even if it's just a nature walk, try to stop and enjoy it. Take your time. Enjoy these moments, you will look back on them one day and be glad you did.
"Stop and smell the roses, for life's sweetest gifts are free. Slow down, stay, look around. There are wonders for you to see. Stop and smell the roses, count your blessings everyday. Happiness will find you, if you will stop along the way." - Jan Tribe
4) Get some REST
Oh, this is one that is SO VASTLY overlooked. A child will nap and sleep like it's their job! I know some kids protest the naps (as mine have in the past), or you may have bedtime troubles getting them to bed since they may want to hang out and not miss anything. But, when it comes down to good old fashioned sleep, they do it best. I learned with my first that creating a schedule or routine is KEY to sleep, and once they are on it, they will follow it. I envy how much they sleep! The one bit of advice every mom veteran will pass on, is sleep when your baby sleeps. This, I NEVER did. I always found SOMETHING else to do, and still do. Whether it's work, cleaning, working out (since sometimes that's my only time to myself), or getting on my computer and catching up on everyone else's life. At the end of the day, I am SO DEAD tired. The kids go to bed and what do I do? I sit and catch up on a T.V. show, since I have no time any other time to do this. Again, WHY?! I am so tired, but still stay up. I often think at the end night when I finally go to bed, I SHOULD have gone to sleep when they (my kids) did 2-3 hours before. I think I wouldn't COMPLAIN as much about being SO tired. I start to sound like a broken record.
5) Dance, sing and laugh OFTEN
I will admit, I do this quite a bit. This is one thing I can say that I passed on to my girls. I will turn on music whether we are at home, in the car, or just by ourselves. We will dance around, sing and just laugh at each other. It's amazing what laughter can do for the soul. It's honestly the best medicine for the mind and body. I read on Webmd.com, how studies have also shown that laughter increases blood flow, has the ability to increase your immune system and decrease blood sugar among so many other benefits. Just watch how a child can find the SIMPLEST things just hysterical. Watching my girls laugh, in turn causes me to laugh and soon the whole house is laughing and we are not really sure why. All I know is something that makes you feel that good, MUST be good for you! Try to find the humor in many things. Even when my girls are losing it with a tantrum or meltdown (especially in public), sometimes the best thing is to just laugh...as I did here at my brother's rehearsal dinner in front of all of his guests. I can tell you, taking the 'I'm gonna laugh this one off' approach felt A LOT better the the ' I'm gonna lose it ' approach.
6) Believe in yourself
When a child is in the early years of life, they have this determination that is unrelenting. It can be inspiring for us to witness, but at the same time frustrating for them. They believe they can accomplish ANYTHING they put their mind to, finish any task that they set out to conquer, and make the 'impossible' possible. They believe that in themselves, they have the ability to do what their heart and mind desire. They know no other way. We as adults, set them on right track and make sure that in the process, they don't hurt themselves, such as when a child gets on a bike for the first time without training wheels and believes they can ride it without falling over. We are there to guide them. It's easy for us to say, "You CAN'T do that just yet," in efforts to protect them from these situations, but sometimes it's better to let them explore and develop this understanding on their own. This can be very difficult for a parent to do, but can be done in way where they are reassured that they HAVE the ability, and you will help them achieve it. The most important thing though is for them to realize that the CAN do it, and that the ability comes within. A lesson we can all learn. Nothing IS impossible if we believe.
"A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because it's trust is not on the branch, but on it's own wings."
7) Give selflessly
Children are born with a very pure and giving heart. When they give, they give selflessly with no expectation of getting in return. One may argue, that there is no such thing as a 'selfless act,' since most everyone will get SOMETHING out of doing something selfless. Whether it's just feeling good about ourselves, or just because we feel it is the right thing to do. Good or bad, the idea of 'giving selflessly' comes naturally for a child. Maybe it's just the smile they get, or love they feel in return that prompts the act, it's still is natural for them to do. As adults, even if we can give selflessly, even for a positive gain, it's better then not giving at all.
"It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others." - Dalai Lama
8) Love unconditionally
I think this is one that children do best. They love and love some more, with no expectation of anything in return. Adding to the above lesson of giving selflessly, loving unconditionally is such a beautiful thing to see in a child. To witness the unconditional love my 22 month old has with her older sister NO MATTER WHAT her big sis does to her (like taking away a toy she is playing with), is such a sweet and touching sight. Learn to love unconditionally without expecting anything in return. I feel as a parent, this is something that comes with the territory. Of course you don't have to be a parent to know how to love unconditionally, but the moment you look into the eyes of your newborn, you truly understand what this love without boundaries means. They are your life and your love. Unconditional love IS TRUE and PURE love, by all means. And it is the kind of love we should ALL seek to attain and give.
9) Get excited and enjoy every day
In the eyes of a child, excitement and joy comes in such simple forms. From the moment they wake up, it's a brand new day. Everyday is an adventure! Wouldn't it be great if you could wake up and have this same outlook on life? To get excited about the cup of coffee you were about to drink?(I will admit though, I do kind of get excited about my Keurig in the morning). Can you imagine living each day as if it were your last? Children have no concept of of time. Of how our time on this earth is limited. They just know that each day is special, and each day is an opportunity for them to accomplish something new and different, or perhaps they are overjoyed to do the EXACT same thing they did the day before, and they are SO FREAKIN EXCITED ABOUT IT! It can be June, and they'll become ecstatic about Santa Claus coming in December, having no concept that it's another 6 months away. They have a love for life, although not truly knowing what that means. It's innate. So, carpe diem my friends!
10) Go with your gut and live fearlessly
Raising a child is hard work, not to mention trying to be a positive role model for your child on how to live their life. You want them to go thru life by trusting themselves,encouraging them to be unique and different, and believing they can accomplish anything they set their mind to. They instinctively go with their gut when making decisions. They don't think about it, or dwell on things like adults do. They'd rather focus on whether to go on the slide or swing first on the playground. A certain amount of fear is healthy and natural of course, and it's our job again as parents to see that our children learn to make the right decisions, and learn from their own mistakes. Kids will take chances and do things adults would not, because they are KIDS! Let them be kids, and take a page out of their book that you CAN go with your instinct and make decisions WITHOUT regret. Not EVERYTHING has to be planned. This is something I struggle with all the time. Stop THINKING about life, and start LIVING it. I saw this post once and kept it. I use it as as reminder to myself....
"Be fearless. If you make only one resolution this year, let it be to live boldly. You control THIS moment. Rather than cautiously test the water, dive straight into life with freeing abandon. Imagine the person you want to be and the life you want to live, then simply commit to them. Believe in yourself. Embrace your beauty. Discover a new passion. And whatever you do, wherever you go, don't be afraid to make a splash."