Life can be complicated and overwhelming for parents of children, but the beginning of a new year gives us the opportunity to step back and look for new sources of inspiration and simplicity. As we watch our children grow, they present us with daily opportunities to tap into our inner child and remind us what it’s like to be happy with the simple things in life.
Love of Learning
We are all born with an innate sense of curiosity. Nurturing your child’s curiosity is one of the most important ways you can help her become a lifelong learner. But did you know children can re-ignite your own sense of exploration and discovery as well?
My son Michael recently became interested in space, so we attended a nighttime stargazing program at FDR State Park together as a family. It sparked so much discussion at the dinner table that we researched and bought our own professional grade telescope. Now we monitor the skies as a family and learn about space together.
Sense of Fun
Oftentimes we let our children have their fun while we take care of the monotonous day-to-day adult responsibilities. A friend of mine, whose own children are now grown, once told me that she never passed up an opportunity to play with her kids. “The dishes and laundry can wait,” she advised me.
Michael begged me to get on a water slide at Disney World last summer. I tried to get out of it, but he kept after me until I finally relented. Everything I thought would happen did. I did a back flip when I hit the pool, my sunglasses flew off, and I had the world’s worst wedgie. But when Michael splashed down behind me seconds later, the smile on his face was all I needed to get back up and do it again.
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Mark 10:15
Faith comes easier for children because they are not as firmly rooted in the world as we are. By the time we reach adulthood, maybe of us have experienced hardships that have made us question our faith, but it can be renewed when we see life through the eyes of our children.
Michael was four years old when my father died. He took the news hard, but was eager to go to Sunday school the next week. We arrived a few minutes late, and his teacher was telling the story of the two men who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus. As I hung up Michael’s coat, I heard him announce to everyone, “My Papa met him too!”
Anything is Possible
As adults, we frequently tell people, “I am artistically challenged,“ or “I don’t dance.“ We have to be careful, though, since kids begin to pick up on this and become self-conscious at an early age. Most young children will throw themselves into new activities with gusto, not giving a single thought to being embarrassed.
My younger son Liam decided he wanted to play baseball last fall. It was his first time playing any sport, so I nervous for him. He struggled at first. Even throwing the ball was difficult for him. But as the weeks wore on, he probably made the most progress out of anyone on his team. In fact, his coaches recognized him at the end of one particular game, telling the rest of the team, “Liam did exactly was he was supposed to do every single time.” My heart swelled.
Children inspire us in big and small ways on a daily basis. Take the time to slow down and watch them. Talk to them. You don’t want to miss out on this time of enormous growth – for them and for you!