My daughter is the happiest person that I know. Sure, she has her moments. She gets angry or frustrated like the rest of us, but sad? Not her. She’s not quite two years old, but she has me beat, hands down, in the attitude department. So in honor—and gratitude—to happy kids everywhere, here are five things we can learn from our children.
1. Be upset—and then let it go. You don’t have to teach a child forgiveness—mine at least. It’s already part of their natural mindset. Many of us have to learn forgiveness because life sends us challenges—and challenging people—to deal with, and forgiveness becomes something that isn’t easy to practice anymore. So I’m going to take a cue from my tiny daughter—and let upsetting things go after they’re resolved.
2. Listen to your body. My daughter turns her nose up at the last two spoonfuls of her favorite ice cream. She barely eats dinner if she’s not hungry, and she eats like a bottomless pit when she is. She’s go-go-go, but when she sleeps she’s out for the count. In short, my little lady listens to her body. Just another important thing that we adults stop doing—and another thing our kids can show us.
3. Laugh—a lot. My daughter thinks that slamming the kitchen’s cupboard doors to a rhythm and then dancing to it while she’s looking at herself in the mirror, I mean oven door, is hilarious. Let me tell you, it is. Still, my point is simply that she finds fun—and laughter—in unexpected places. So, too, should we.
4. Be friendly. My daughter is shy with people she doesn’t know, but almost instantly flirtatious and smiley with kind, friendly people. In this day and age, we surely need to teach our kids the significance of strangers, but I can’t help recall the Will Rogers quote that “a stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging your children to bond with strangers, but I am encouraging kindness—another of life’s simplicities that adults forget the importance of.
5. Love like you’ve never been hurt. My daughter loves—and loves completely and unselfishly. As adults, we get hurt and we harden or close ourselves off from further pain. The thing is, if we want to experience real and full love we will get hurt, but the joys outweigh the pitfalls. So take a hint from a child—and give love with your whole soul behind it.
My daughter has yet to experience the difficulties of growing up. She has yet to experience other children’s cruelties and the cruelties of our sometimes treacherous world. I hope that I can learn these valuable lessons on living life with love and happiness from her now —through the eyes of a child—and then show her this path again later if she ever needs a reminder. While I know that, as a parent, I have lots of things to teach my daughter, I can’t help but see every single day the many ways that she’s already teaching me.