Today my baby turns F-I-V-E. Yes…five. I love celebrating her birthday, because it reminds me once again of the huge blessing she is and how God was faithful to gift us with her life! (Her name tells part of the story if you don’t know why we named her Shiloh.)
I love being a momma to this girl. She has a ton of spunk, asks awesome questions, tests my patience at times, but helps me grow into a better person on a daily basis.
Last year I wrote about 4 things I learned from her as a 4 year old. (And I always enjoy reading this note my husband wrote to her on her first birthday.) Last night as I was reflecting on this past year, I came up with a list of 5 life lessons learned from my five year old.
5 Life Lessons Learned from My Five Year Old:
1. Sometimes you just need a hug.
You know those times when your kiddos throw a tantrum, lose control, or get so frustrated that they seem inconsolable? As parents, we’ve all experienced it. Lately, when my daughter find herself in that situation, she will cry out “I just need a hug to help calm me down. Please give me a hug.” For her, the physical touch of a hug helps restore peace and recalibrate her attitude and emotions.
I’ve found that during some of my most stressful times, I likewise benefit from a good hug…mainly from my husband. I’ll come up and say “Can you just hug me for a minute?” He happily obliges, and then 60 seconds later I feel at least a little better and get ready to move forward with the tasks ahead.
Sometimes you just need a hug…and that’s okay. If you aren’t a hugger, what do you need or do in order to refocus your attitude or emotions when you are feeling out of control?
2. You can’t do everything on your own.
By the time your child reaches 4 or 5, they are fairly independent in many things….but not all things. I love to see how much my daughter can do on her own, and how much she can independently complete without my assistance. As a natural nurturer, I find myself constantly struggling to find that balance between allowing her to do things on her own and doing things for her myself.
Yet many things still remain that she cannot do on her own without assistance. Many messes have been made in the kitchen, as she attempts to do something new on her own. She’ll look up at me with disappointed eyes and says “Can you help me? I can’t do it. I need your help please.”
Boy this one hits home, as we seek to do everything on our own and feel disappointment in ourselves when we have to go to someone and say “I need help.” It’s easy to think you are a failure when you have to ask for help, but we are made for community and partnership with others. Don’t be afraid to admit you can’t do it all. And don’t keep yourself from asking for help because you feel ashamed. We’re all in this boat together and can help each other out!
3. Share generously.
When given an opportunity to share with her friends, my daughter generally gives lavishly…I love it! When she got a bucketful of candy during Easter weekend activities, she immediately shared it with neighbors and friends. She made up little goody bags of candy and trinkets to take to school to give to her friends. When her brother begs for a bite of ice cream or to play with one of her favorite toys, she will (usually) let him have it and not give it a second thought. [note: she is five, so of course this is not an absolute statement! But watching her share makes me evaluate my attitude towards giving and sharing…as in, I need to do it more and with a joyful heart.]
What’s your attitude about giving and sharing? How do you react when you have to share physical items? What about sharing recognition with others? Do you seek opportunities to build others up, even if it comes at your own expense? Look at how you can be a better sharer. Don’t forget to evaluate your attitude while you are doing it — that’s probably the more important aspect of this trait anyways!
4. Enjoy life’s blessings.
I love when my daughter looks up at me and my husband and says: “Today was the BEST. DAY. EVER!” She has been saying this to us a lot lately, and she says it with the most sincere heart. What she really communicates with us is that she enjoyed her day/activity and wants to celebrate the joy that comes with it. It might be a fun, family walk around the neighborhood, a quick trip out for an ice cream cone, or a bigger event like a holiday event held in the city.
No matter how big or small the event, I love how our daughter can see the beauty in life’s blessings. It doesn’t take money, big elaborate plans, or things to make her happy…generally, just being together and spending quality time together is what makes it “the best”. [note again: she is five, so getting things definitely makes her uber-excited, but it is not her focus or even first instinct to require things, in order to have fun.]
How can you look at your day ahead of you and just enjoy the simple things around you. Everyone has blessings they can celebrate and look at with joy (even those in the worst circumstances). I challenge you (and myself) to look at your day (even the mundane) and enjoy it.
5. Always be a learner.
Questions. Books. Writing. Experiencing. Creating. No matter what’s going on during the day, I feel like my daughter is always learning and always wanting to learn. Children ask questions constantly throughout the day. There are so many things they want to learn and need to learn, so they ask!
(Don’t be afraid of the words why? how? or what? Your children are looking to you for answers and to help them learn about the world around them! Dive into their questions, and if you don’t know the answer…find it together and learn together!)
If my daughter wants to learn more about seahorses, she’ll ask and we’ll either check out some books at the library or find an interesting video on YouTube to help us learn more. She gets so excited when she learns a new word to spell or answers questions correctly.
Children have an innate love of learning that with time begins to diminish if we don’t develop and foster it. When was the last time you researched something you were interested in just for fun? Are you reading/watching the news to find out about the world around you? Do you frequently pick up books and read them? As parents, we are all busy, but take just a few minutes every day to learn about something new…and retain a strong spirit for learning and acquiring knowledge.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from your kids, and experience your own personal growth through what your kids teach you. What have your kids taught you recently? What life lessons could you add to this list? Leave them below in the comments!