I believe that people can learn life lessons anywhere. You don't necessarily have to go to Tibet to meditate in a cave to learn something that you can use for your personal development. Especially in situations where you don't expect them to be life lessons might be hitting you in the face, metaphorically spoken of course. As a parent, or in general from children, I have learnt many life lessons. Here the most important: the 5 lessons you can learn from your child.
Why can I tell you about this? We have four kids, aged 17, 15, 12 and 3. I am not a parenting guru. Actually I raise our children from a 'know nothing' perspective. I allow myself to know nothing for sure. This makes me forever curious. You could say I am a forever student and that I am growing up as much as our children do.
When a child is born they are completely innocent. The first time I held my son (now 17) I was just flabbergasted with the love that I felt. It completely changed my path. I felt that love was not something vague, and it doesn't necessarily have to do anything with sex (really some guys think it has). I felt love floating through my body as an energy. And I started spreading this energy with everyone around me: old people, young people, friends, guys, girls, strangers.
Of course I don't remember but I (and you) were also born like that, in pure innocence. A few kilos of pure unconditional love.
This is everybody's core, unconditional love. Please remember that.
2. Express Yourself
Young children express themselves without any form of shame. When they are sad they cry. One minute later they can laugh again. When they need help they ask for it and they offer help when they want to.
When was the last time you cried?
I have learnt that crying, just like laughing, is a way to express yourself. It is really not healthy to keep your tears in, nor your laughter.
Still, I don't cry in public, at least I try not to ;). Whenever I am sad about something I pick my moments. In the shower or when I am alone. And then I let it go.
Many people have learnt how to meditate and to find some form of silence. Meditating is great for personal development. But the other side of finding silence, making noise, is just as important. This is expressing yourself. If you don't express yourself all that stuff stays inside your body.
Let it out! Express yourself!
3. Be Brutally Honest
I have always told my children that they have their own path. And that I want to know what they think because I think their thoughts and opinion are important. They help me as much as I help them. We are both just growing up. My children are quite sure that they can talk to me about anything, which is an option, not a mandatory thingy.
And then come the adolescent years...
From the puberty years of my children I have learnt to lose my ego, over and over again. Since they have no fear for their daddy and they know they can talk to me about anything, they give it to me straight. They are brutally honest.
If you are trying to grow in life and you want to personally develop yourself there are all kinds of tools. I have written about this in former blogs. You can scroll down my blogs to find some of these tools.
But then the best tool is probably to be brutally honest to yourself.
4. Let Go
There is a time that your children become independent of you and start to raise you. This can be because you don't understand the potential of your smart phone yet. They may teach you street language or they may help you buy clothes (my daughters do!). If you are stuck in the though pattern that you are raising your children and you-know-best-because-you-are-older you are facing some serious problems in life. Simply because seniority is not holy. You don't know everything better than your child.
It is time to let go
You will see that life becomes a lot better when you are able to let go. Not always easy, I know. But essential, yes.
5. Play Play Play
Children spend hours per day playing with no regard of time. They pretend to be a super hero, a car, a doll, dead, alive, "the lava is coming!", whatever. They also play war. And yes, they pretend! Not like us adults, we kill people for peace. From a child's point of view (and mine) this is ridiculous.
If you play with your children you get into that childish state of mind. Which is very close to being in a meditative state of mind. The only difference is that you are allowed to shout.
This is just so great of being a parent. Legitimately you can be childish again! We adults often have forgotten that we can have fun in the things we do. Playing is essential. And when you open up just a little bit you can start to put some play in everything that you do! Writing this blog is playing for me. I enjoy it. And I am very happy with my colleague that edits my stuff :).
Maybe the greatest lesson we can learn from children is to play more.