Why You’ll Learn More About Yourself, Thanks To Kids

Arguably one of life’s greatest mysteries is understanding who we are and why we are here.

Heavy stuff I know, but at the heart of it all, it’s true. Whoever we may be.

Over the years, I’ve cheated… quiet a bit in this area.

I’m a little embarrassed to confess to reading my fair share of self-help books (some ridiculously cheesy), watched enough Oprah in her hey-day to be considered ‘sad’ and listened to quite a few inspirational speakers, all in an effort to make me feel as though I was learning something about who I was.

I’d travelled, lived and worked abroad and changed careers a few times. Couple that with the shirking of some nasty fears along the way and it felt like at least, a culmination of personal experiences counted for some extra points on the ‘life path’ ladder.

For a fleeting moment there, I felt like it was all coming together. I knew who I was and where I was going.

Hha ha, I hear you snigger. Yes, that was all BC (Before Children). Such a long, long way back… or so it seems.

Kids are soooooo many things: cute, cuddly, annoying, destructive, loving, creative, emotional, demanding, dirty, loud and the list goes on. But what I never took them for were Teachers.

If you’re around them long enough, often enough, either in a parental capacity, Aunt or Uncle, teacher or tutor, they inevitably have this profound ability to teach you more about yourself, than anything else ever could.

I wanted to acknowledge just some of the invaluable life lessons all our kids teach us.

You won’t find these in any self-help book. There’s possibly not even a TED talk about it yet, but here they are. And credit, where credits due, I give thanks to the amazing little teachers my three boys are.

  1. Practicing patience – I use to practice yoga, now I just practice patience….every minute of everyday. While I’m not often perfect in its execution, I’m pleased to say I’m at least practicing it daily…actually every minute of each day. (Did I say that already?) Road rage is a thing of the past, when you’ve now got screaming kids in the back car laying into one another over who gets to eat the last two raisins, recently discovered hiding between the car seats.
  2. Discovering how much you have to give – even when you’re running pretty much on empty…….2 days ago, there seems to be a reservoir of forgiveness, love and compassion for your kids, that remains hidden deep below. I think this sometimes manages to infiltrate into other areas of our lives too. Perhaps it’s in the early stages of becoming my default setting…..or so I’d like to think.
  3. Learning the real value of things – the absolute truth of it is that kids don’t really care about ‘stuff’ or ‘things’. They care most about the time and attention you can afford them. Humans interaction is their currency.
  4. The importance of looking after ourselves – because the idea of eating Kale and devising several ways to serve it up to your kids, would never have occurred to you prior to being a parent. You now know it’s nutritional value and are quite happy to quote this information to whomever should ask…..or not ask.
  5. Being silly is good – laughing at yourself is one of life’s simple pleasures and kids certainly know how to bring out the buffoon in us all. The child that accidentally farted at the dinner table, has turned a hectic weekday meal into a competition of epic proportions and allowed for thrilling dinner time entertainment, all for free.
  6. Discovering where your real breaking point is – forget the stress of work! It’s a big stress most of the time trying to look after kids. There is no time for private retreats to the toilet, no such things as an ‘easy’ day and you’re effectively their Personal Assistant night and day. Your personal pressure point has somewhat shifted to allowed for increased variables in what can and does go unplanned in any given day.
  7. OMG look how resourceful I can be!- makeshift nappies -I can do, outstripped food supplies – no problem, bruised bloodied limbs – I’m your registered nurse, tantrum trouble – a constant counselor I’m learning to be and happy to say, making personal steady progress in the anger management department.

From kids we learn more about ourselves, than we ever could on our adult own. We might raise them, care for them and even teach them, but they’re really the ones offering us something special…. amidst all the chaos!

 

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Who are we really? The Holiday

It’s a little known truth that very few of us are certain of who we are.

Yes, we may be a teacher (who daringly dabbles in free-diving), a nurse (with a penchant for fierce rally driving), a (surfing) social worker or a businessman (who bakes on the weekends), but that’s barely scratching the surface of who we really are.

The new year has barely begun, but this question has been hanging out with me all through these holidays. Happily, dreamily, willing me on. With it’s beloved cousin ‘time’ also by my side, I’ve had the luxury of doing and musing on a great many things.

(Among them, clearly viewing too many period dramas, now that I’ve written that!)

So, without sounding too 20th Century, how do we begin to acknowledge or even explain, the multifaceted individuals that we are? And why is it important that we even do this; take the time to explore what makes up us?

The world of workholiday-dreaming

While our jobs may be part of this puzzle, we are commonly caught up in a world of work that inevitably but unfairly define us and leaves little room (and time) for us to be who we truly are, or would hope to be.

In truth, when meeting new people it’s not long before the proverbial question ‘So what do you do?’ enters the conversation.

Yes, it seems harmless enough and surely warranted when beginning to surmise who this stranger before us is. We can immediately make some connection then, place them in a social grouping, maybe even judge what ‘type’ of a person they may (or may not) be. But it is ultimately a flawed question.

The work we choose to do (in most cases at least) says something about us.

‘Occupations shape who we are….. Every occupation weakens or reinforces aspects of our nature’ Book of Life.

The Aged-care worker is a giver; patient and attentive. The artist; imaginative and creative. The farmer; methodical, persistent and determined.who-we-are

But no one job can ever be enough to satisfy all the parts of us and it certainly should not alone define us.

Specialised and finite as our jobs may be, they are often void of opportunities to explore the vast array of talents and interests we possess. We are so much more than the ‘work’ we do, but how easy it is ‘to behave across our whole lives like the people work has required us to be’.

Do we work to live, or live to work?

So it would seem that time off from work; holidays, provide us not only with a ‘break from work’, but with this freeing platform to delve greedily, recklessly and wantonly into our creative talents, our hidden pleasures and allow us the space to be free with our ideas and behaviours (somewhat).

If we are so fortunate as to claim some ‘holiday’ time, we can indulge in our passion to paint, explore that interest in film, fashion up some new culinary concoctions or simply experiment with several ways to potter about the place.

We can dedicate time delving into that new interest, partake in being a present parent and play for the sake of playing.success-on-beach

When else in life, do we have the time and space to do these soul satisfying acts? And when else is there a better time to appreciate and acknowledge who we really are? Or indeed, who we would like to be?

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