As parents and adults, we are constantly trying to tutor, educate and teach our kids essential life skills, good habits, and manners which will hold them in good stead as they grow up.
After all, we are the experienced lot with a treasure trove of knowledge to share and advice to give.
But how many of us have tried to make this teaching and learning experience a two-way process?
CHILDREN ARE WONDERFUL TEACHERS
Our learning begins at an early age in life. It starts with our parents, grandparents, friends, and teachers.
Slowly, our education, relationships, and career mould us into the person we are. But the learning doesn’t stop here.
Every person we meet has something valuable to teach us – even children.
More often than not, we underestimate how smart, intelligent, and instinctive kids truly are (not to forget incredibly honest, fun to be around and deeply forgiving).
In reality, these little miracles of God possess an amazing ability to teach us some of the most valuable skills and life lessons – if only we are willing to listen, to observe, and to learn.
3 THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY NIECES & NEPHEW
Becoming an aunt to three adorable kids has been one of the most joyful experiences of my life. It’s a warm fuzzy feeling I will never forget.
And it’s a whole lot of fun being an aunt too. There’s so much to enjoy.
You Get To
- Interact with some really awesome kids who make you feel like you’re the coolest person around.
- Savour a lot of warm bear hugs.
- Laugh a lot and act silly.
- Revisit your childhood and talk like you did eons ago without feeling weird.
- Buy and binge-eat some of your childhood favourites without an ounce of guilt.
- Spoil those little munchkins with a healthy dose of auntie-love.
- Make wonderful new buddies for life.
- And of course, learn a lot of essential life lessons and become better people in the process.
I have had the first-hand experience of knowing just how much we can grow from spending quality time with children.
Here are some great things I Learned as an Aunt –
#1. Always Keep Your Word
More often than not, we grown-ups say things we don’t mean and make promises we don’t intend on keeping.
Kids, on the other hand, are straight-forward individuals who believe what they hear and hold on to what you say to them.
Come to think of it, children have a lot more integrity than a lot of us.
It was during one of my many phone conversations with my oldest niece (who has grown to become a talented, loving and sensible young girl) that reiterated the importance of keeping one’s word.
It was her summer break and time for our customary phone conversations. I ended my call one day, promising to call her back, the same time two days later.
Something came up and as we adults often do, I could not keep my promise to her. Of course, she waited by the phone for my call.
The next time we spoke, she gently reminded me of my promise to call her back. I could hear the disappointment in her voice.
My niece made me realize that while it is easy to forget it is so important to remember.
INTEGRITY IS ONE OF THE GREATEST VIRTUES WE CAN DEVELOP AS HUMAN BEINGS.
Use your words wisely and don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep – it might just hurt someone.
#2. It is The Thought That Counts
Think about your most cherished and fondest memories with the people closest in your life – the people who are still with you or those who you may have lost with time.
You will realize that these memories are special to you because of the way you felt at that given moment/phase in your life – happy, loved, blessed, secure, appreciated, or admired…
Good sentiments have the power to turn the most mundane day or an ordinary moment into a treasured memory for life and who better than kids can teach us how to make every moment special.
My younger niece was having lunch with us one afternoon.
As most of us took a place at the dining table, she asked me to come and eat with her. I told her that I will be eating a little later and that she should finish her lunch. My niece wasn’t convinced!
She looked around her and noticed that there wasn’t any spare chair for me. She got up and reached out for a soft stool that was kept in a corner and placed it next to her chair.
Now that she had made space for the both of us, she asked me to sit next to her so that we could eat together.
I was touched by her sweet gesture and her good intention.
Needless to say, this memory is forever etched in my mind.
My niece showed me how easy it is to make someone feel special and how good intentions never go waste.
GENUINE SENTIMENTS & GOOD INTENTIONS ARE INVALUABLE.
Your caring ways can add to someone’s unforgettable memories.
#3. Every Story is Important
In today’s fast-paced life, the biggest gift that we can give someone is the gift of our time.
A growing connectivity with the ‘un-real’ digital world is causing us to drift away from what’s actually real and right next to us.
And sadly, with distractions abound, the art of listening is quickly losing its significance.
And it is during these times that we must make an extra effort to be there for the people in our lives – a good place to begin is by listening instead of hearing, expressing instead of nodding, and communicating instead of assuming.
My nephew is an inquisitive little boy with an active imagination. He is also an avid story-teller.
Whenever he comes over, he loves to tell me about his day, his friends and his favorite toys and demands my complete attention 🙂
The last time we sat down together to talk and play, he started telling me about something new that he had learned in class.
Half-way through our conversation, I received a work email and as we grown-ups usually do, I instantly began to reply to the email.
It wasn’t that I stopped hearing what my nephew was saying but simply, that I wasn’t listening anymore.
I was distracted and he knew it. He stopped talking and asked me not once, but twice to listen to him.
That instant, I realized that I had so easily become one of those gadget-crazy people who could not ignore the call of the ‘digital world’.
I put away my phone and asked my favorite little guy to pick up from where ‘I’ had left off.
This time around, he had my 100% attention.
My nephew helped me to appreciate the fact that every story is important.
IF THERE IS ONE THING WE SHOULD READILY GIVE TO THE PEOPLE IN OUR LIFE, IT IS OUR TIME.
A listening ear and a genuine smile go a long way in making us better people.
Distractions will never cease to exist; your sincerity, realness, and integrity are yours to maintain and preserve.
Yes, kids sometimes test our patience and drive us crazy with their naughty ways but they also have an amazing capacity to teach us some great things and surprise us with their care, concern, and maturity.
If there’s a child in your life, do try to spend as much quality-life with them as you can – they’ll surely teach you a thing or two!
Are you an aunt or an uncle?
Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.