I commute to work every day for approximately two hours, round trip. Roughly an hour of that time is spent chatting it up with my almost four year old daughter, talking about her day, how her obsession with Princess Elsa is getting out of hand, and I get to listen to her talk to herself, embarking on outstanding backseat adventures, birthed from her lively imagination.
Once alone, I find myself replaying my calendar in my head, grocery list planning, and trying to get a grasp on the day ahead, or reflect on the day that just passed. I spend a lot of time thinking about my daughter.
These thoughts lead me to think of her life now—at nearly four years old, and the sunshine that she brings to my life. The kid is always happy. Always.
I often wonder how she manages, and then I step back and realize—she’s three! What does she have to be unhappy about? She doesn’t pay bills, work doesn’t stress her out, and she doesn’t have a calendar to keep, except to know that dance classes happen on Tuesdays (obviously, Tuesdays are the best days in her world).
We can all take some advice from this mini-person. She seems to have it all together, so where did we lose that? Well…we grew up. This list serves as some life lessons I have learned, in watching the life of a three year old unfold, and the things she has taught me.
Life Lessons We Could Learn From Kids
1. Mind your manners.
Why do we teach our kids manners? So they’re not rude when they grow up. We don’t like rude people, so we teach our kids to mind their manners. There are rarely times when not using manners is acceptable.
The problem is that through the years, many of us forget this important life lesson. It’s true—you get further with honey than you do vinegar (our readers are kind of awesome, so I’m guessing none of you really have this problem☺).
2. Sometimes, the answer is as simple as ice cream.
Sound silly? It’s pretty simple, actually. Ice cream is muy delicioso, and is a wonderful reward for not only kids, but us!
Get a promotion at work? Ice cream. Going through a breakup, and managed not to text him or her once in the last week? Ben & freakin’ Jerrys. Adopted from the Humane Society instead of buying a puppy? Ice cream.
Of course, I jest: don’t eat ice cream all the time. However, my daughter reminds me that it’s important to sit back and enjoy the simple things in life.
Sharing 101 for adults is simple: be generous and kind. This may not mean you absolutely must share your sandwich that you take to lunch, even though you see a coworker eating a candy bar (that one’s on them!).
It can, however, mean that if you observe someone struggling, you should help them out.
Volunteer. Share your time and you will be rewarded. Open doors for the elderly. Take your shopping cart back to the cart bay instead of leaving it outside to slam into people’s cars.
You may not get anything out of it besides feeling good about yourself, but that is always more than enough.
4. Don’t be cruel.
Why is it we teach this to our kids, and then we see nothing but violence in the news? I can’t go any further with this one because it really hurts my heart.
Always keep others in mind. If it seems like the cruel route, it’s definitely the wrong route.
This goes along with being kind, and the Golden Rule. Do unto others…
Dance as if no one is watching! Kids do this all the time…we should really take the hint! They live their lives with no hang-ups, and they have a blast doing it. Plus, it’s good for you!
So the next time you’re in the mall, and that catchy Meghan Trainor song comes on, shake it. Shake it, own it, and sing along. It’s contagious. People may look at you like you’re crazy, but I guarantee you’ll put a smile on their face!
6. Stop resisting, start creating.
Sure, my daughter loves to paint, color, and get messy, but as adults, it’s also important for us to tap into that creativity.
Have you ever been to a family gathering where there are kids, and sat down and colored with them? Even if you’re hanging with them for five minutes, it’s an amazing five minutes of nostalgia and carefree fun.
If that doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, find another creative outlet. Even those who aren’t very right brained still have the ability to release creativity. Maybe you’re a writer, or a singer. Hey, maybe you just really like to rearrange the furniture.
Whatever it is, create, and you’ll be surprised at the stress that is relieved, and how much better you can feel by employing your creativity.
7. Find strength in discovering.
Discover new things. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t feel that same sense of excitement that you had when you were a kid and saw your first big fireworks display, or your first movie date without the parents.
Related: How To Raise Happy Kids
Let yourself feel awe in response to new things, and always stay a student! Our brains are sponges, and life is short. Always learn and be on the lookout for new discoveries. Don’t allow yourself to get complacent. If you feel like you are in a rut, seek out something new.
Most of the time, we take ourselves way too seriously. Kids are pretty simple, and they follow a strict set of guidelines for success in their young lives. As we get older, life gets far more complicated, and we have way too many things going on at the same time. Let your inner child shine, and we’ll all be able to muddle through the complexities of life with a little more grace, and hopefully a lot more fun.
Audra Dittlinger is a contributor for Inspiyr.com, as well as a full-time working mom living in rural Indiana. She is an insurance professional with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She writes to create, inspire, and empower.