As a mother, I always thought I have inculcated some moral values and life lessons to my 3-year-old daughter (DD). But lately I realised that unknowingly, she has also imparted some life lessons to me through our daily interactions and conversations. It’s a humbling experience to learn from a young child, and these are the things I’ve learnt from her:
1. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. DD never goes to bed angry. She may be a little ‘chilli padi’ at times but she doesn’t hold her unhappiness or frustration for long. She recovers quickly from any unhappy incidences and does not harbor grudges, even those who had upset her.
Many times, we adults can hold grudges from wrongs done to us decades ago.
2. Be thankful for little blessings. One day out of the blue, DD just looked at me and said, “Mummy, thank you for making me very happy!” I was a little stunned by her sudden declaration because I haven’t done anything spectacular for her that day. But I managed to recover from my surprise and gave her a hug, speechless for word because I was so touched by her attitude of gratitude.
Sometimes we are so blinded or numbed by the daily pursuit of life that we forget the little blessings that lurk behind every challenge.
3. Laugh at yourself from time to time. I read somewhere that humor is the best medicine in life and any relationship. How true it is! Both hubby and I are rather serious folks. But since DD came into our life, she has taught us to laugh at ourselves and our silly antics at times. For example, she would make funny faces or do funny gestures just to make us laugh. She is not afraid to act silly just to humor us.
As adults, we sometimes take ourselves too seriously that we fail to view life from a humorous perspective. We are so strict with ourselves that we have forgotten how to laugh at ourselves and when life throws us a hard ball.
4. Be contented but not complacent. There is a difference. Being contented means to be happy and thankful with what you have, and not demanding what you could not have. Being complacent means just accepting what you have without any joy or thankfulness.
DD has a deep quest for knowledge. Whenever I bought her books, she would spend the next one hour flipping through the pages of her new books. But when we went shopping and she saw a toy or book that she liked, she would not demand or pester us to buy for her. There was once when she held something that she liked very much for quite long, and when we said, “Come on, let’s go!”, she would quietly put it down without kicking up a fuss. She knows Mummy and Daddy will get whatever she needs for her, and she knows what are ‘must-haves’ and what are ‘good-to-haves’.
Often people are discontented with life because they do not differentiate the ‘needs’ from the ‘wants’.
5. Have compassion and empathy for others. There was once I went to fetch DD from school and since I was early, I waited outside the classroom. As I peeked in through the window, I happened to see DD gently patting a boy’s head and talking softly to him. Later I asked her why she patted her classmate’s head and she replied that the boy had a plaster on his arm and she was consoling him. I was touched that at 3 years young, she already knows how to show compassion for her classmate.
Sometimes life has made us so jaded that we may become immune to those who are suffering or going through a rough patch.
Footnote: Life is made up of experiences. And experiences can be converted into meaningful lessons if we have an open and humble heart to learn from it.