Children are funny little people that are capable of great creativity and joy, and are very talented in bringing out that joy, love, and innocence in others. I admit, whenever I see a baby at the grocery store or at church, I just have to point them out and say something about them to others. They are just...too...adorable. There are indeed times when they are a handful, to say the least, but at the end of the day, you know you love them. Okay, be honest, when that free time rolls around, what kinds of things do you usually look up on YouTube? Cats. But right behind that and other animals, I would be bold enough to assume babies are just about the most popular videos on YouTube. Why? Simply because they make us smile.
Here are 4 things children do for us and ways for us to thank them for just being there:
1. They bring out the responsibility in us.
Although I am an adult, I usually don't feel like one until responsibilities are put upon me. These responsibilities we are given show others and ourselves our capabilities of mind, body, and spirit. They give us a chance to accomplish good and raise our self-esteem. When our children pose a challenge to us, they are giving us a chance to "take the higher path", to exercise our self-control, and to enforce rules of compassion, civility, and wisdom that remind us how to live life the way it is supposed to be lived. When we teach a child how to act in certain situations that face them, we reinforce the importance of these same rules for ourselves.
2. They help us care about those other than ourselves.
As humans, I can comfortably say that we are selfish beings that think about what we want and what's best for us. However, at the same time, as humans, we are also born with a sense of empathy and sympathy that can grow with time and experience. Having children gives us an opportunity to exercise our patience, and what we like to call "unconditional love" as we go through countless challenges and bonding experiences that ultimately draw us closer together as a family.
3. They teach us how to be better teachers.
Face it. If we cannot explain to ourselves our reasons for why to abide by rules for safety, common courtesy, or any other social convention, then how do we expect our children to understand our reasoning? Our sassy little kiddos with their diligent testing of our boundaries allow us to use these skills to impart our wisdom for behaving in appropriate ways in differing circumstances to them. Similarly, to be effective parents, we must be able to explain the reasons for our own actions when we reinforce consequences for right and wrong decisions made by our children. This is one of the key points in being an authoritative parent.
4. Our children teach us how to get in touch with our younger selves and how to seek and find joy in the moment.
What things bring you joy? I will be upfront with you and admit that lately I have looked up nostalgic topics from my own childhood. I love things that make me feel young again (not that I'm old or anything, but you get my point). As I said before, creativity, inquiry, and joy are natural-born talents of children, and they can't help but encourage this same sense of innocence and contagious love of the world in ourselves. We laugh when our children laugh, we cry when they cry, and see the world as we used to when seeing it through our children's eyes.
How can we give back to our children and say "thank you"?
The answer is simple. We show our love and dedication to our children by being the best we can be, and by doing our best to connect with them and make our time together meaningful. Take time to talk with your children, engage them in play and quiet time in both their passions and yours. As long as you do your best to be the perfect parent for your child (and no one is perfect, but trying is key) and attend to each of your child's needs both physically and mentally/spiritually, you are honoring your child and can be proud of your efforts. Now, just enjoy the time you have with each other.
For more information visit: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/nine-steps.html
For more information about Positive Parenting, visit: What is Positive Parenting? A Look at the Research and Benefits