Stop Teaching for a Sec: 4 Things we can Learn from our Kids

We often see ourselves as the teachers, and our children as the students. They need to learn from us, and we need to teach them! But sometimes kids can teach us a thing or two as well. After all, they’re still in their natural, largely unspoiled state of being. They still haven’t been bogged down by cultural baggage and expectations. They’re still free! So here are four things we can learn from our kids:

  1. Saying “NO”

Ahh yes, our kids love to say “no” to us. We all hoped their first word would be “mama” or even “baba” – but it was probably “no!” As much as it drives us up the wall when our kids go on a “no” rampage and refuse to comply with any of our requests, the ability to say “no” as adults is underrated.

We tend to say yes to a lot of things that we’re not actually passionate about. We take jobs we don’t much care for. We hang out with friends even though we’d rather be doing something else. We become busy helping other people achieve their dreams and ignore our own. All because we don’t know how to say “no.”

When you say “yes” to something, you’re implicitly saying “no” to something else. Case in point, if you say yes to working for someone full-time, you’re simultaneously saying no to entrepreneurship. Your time is finite, so you have to have the courage to sometimes say NO when you really mean it.

  1. Never stagnating

The fascinating thing about kids is that they are constantly changing. From the moment they’re born, they’re learning non-stop. Within a span of a few months, they develop the ability to eat, sit, crawl, walk, speak, and drive you mad.

They progress so quickly that a few weeks makes a huge difference in their little lives.

As adults, we rarely reflect on whether or not we’re learning and growing. Years can pass without us actually making any significant changes in our lives. We’re stuck in the grind of commuting, working, drinking coffee and vegetating in front of computer screens.

Successful believers and human beings don’t stagnate. If you’re not consciously improving yourself through learning, taking new steps, and having the courage to dream, you’re probably already regressing.

Be like a kid and do something new!

  1. Acknowledging big feelings

Kids know how to acknowledge their feelings. They cry like banshees when they’re hurt or angry. They laugh and squeal and run amok when they’re having fun. Their eyes become wide and they jump up and down when they’re excited.

Above all, they feel what they want, when they want to feel it.

Let’s contrast that reality with our reality as adults. When we want to cry, we don’t. When we’re excited, we don’t let on. When we’re upset with someone, we keep it in. When we love someone, we sometimes can’t even bring ourselves to say the words, “I love you.”

Somewhere along the way, someone taught us that having big feelings is not appropriate for adults. The idea that we need to hold everything in can be damaging though. I’m not saying we should cry and stomp our feet every time we don’t get our way, or shout at the top of our lungs in the middle of the street when we’re excited about something.

Rather, let’s be honest about what we feel. It’s not wrong to show our excitement, joy, and sadness. And let’s not squash our kids’ ability to be honest about their big feelings, too.

  1. Embracing short-term memory

So you didn’t let your kids watch Frozen for the 5th time today, or walk around the house naked, or have 12 lollipops instead of dinner. They’re stomping around angrily, and throwing themselves onto the floor dramatically. In their little minds, you’re the worst parent ever. They’ll never forgive you for this grave injustice.

After a half hour of sulking though, you make them some sandwiches as they’re playing (fully clothed) with their Legos. And guess what? They’ve forgotten all about why they were angry. They hug and kiss you. You’re the best again.

Kids tend to have a short-term memory when it comes to their anger (at least if it’s anger over trivial stuff). We, however, will hold a grudge till our final moments on our death beds – often over silly, meaningless feuds. Someone looked at us wrong, cut ahead of us in line, said we gained a few pounds. And now, because of their transgressions, they’re dead to us.

We’re not honest about our big feelings, so we can’t forgive people. But it would serve us well to first open up with people about why we’re upset (see point #3), then let it go (Frozen pun intended).


Once in a while make yourself the student in your relationship with your kids. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn.

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