The greatest feeling in the world is watching our children growing right in front of our eyes. All parents can relate to this sentiment very well. The proud moment for all parents is to see their own characteristics developing in their child. My wife and I, without missing a beat say, “That’s our boy” when we see our five year old son Aaran doing anything new that the world or we have taught him. It puts our heads in the clouds to see that our teaching isn’t in vain. However, when we realize that we are not his only teachers in life, the bubble of this feeling bursts; I see him handling some of the life’s tough situations (well, tough for his size) beautifully while playing and I know that I’m not the sole reason for his success. Despite my brain’s natural tendency to see it only as child’s play, I know for a fact that this problem solving is much more than simple play. Play has immense power to solve many of the challenges in life. Every child is blessed with the power of enjoying every moment with ease. I see these kids teaching us some important life lessons each and every day.
Last week, my son and I went for a swim together. Aaran was so excited about this trip! “Dad, how long will it take?” he asked me 20 times during our 8-minute drive to the pool. He was smiling ear to ear when he first touched the water. He was acting like a world-class swimmer while showing off his red colored arm floaties. While doing this he came to me and gave me a nice kiss on my cheek and then paddled away. I was feeling like a Superdad who just delivered heaven for his kid. His quick gesture gave me an important lesson for living life to the fullest. When you are happy, give instant feedback to people who made even the slightest effort to make you happy. Life coaches and law of attraction believers talk about the power of gratitude. This creates a spiral of positivity that attracts joy, happiness, and warmth in our life. Shopping, movies, drinks, television, and snacks don’t have the power to bless you back but humans do. Next time when you feel light or happy give credit those who deserve it and be ready to receive some as well.
At times parents feel stuck when their kid doesn’t forget the commitment made to him for going out, playing, or watching a cartoon movie together. This happens more often when you find yourself neck deep in life’s other engagements. Last Wednesday I promised Aaran that I would come early to go for a stroll with him in a nearby park. Despite my best efforts, some last minute surprises at work kept me in the office until awfully late hours. When I reached home Aaran refused to even look at me. All my attempts to strike a conversation with him failed badly. When I was just about to give up I heard his voice, “Papa, so no park today?” Right from this moment, he started telling me how unhappy was he about my broken promise. After bit of a father-son discussion he threw his cricket ball towards me and said, “Let’s play.” These five minutes of conversation between us gave me another important lesson. No matter how frustrated you may be with someone or something, always be honest and open to deal directly with the problem creator. If this feedback sharing isn’t handled openly, it creates false sense of coherence in relationships. The lack of honest and direct feedback can ruin a healthy family or a team. So next time you are feeling bad because of someone, just go and talk to the person directly. The idea is to share your feedback openly without any sugarcoating. If you follow Lesson 1 often, you wouldn’t find this feedback sharing difficult.
As a parent, you learn to say no effortlessly. You may find your child doing something wrong almost every other minute. I remember how Aaran once wanted to run with me in an aircraft and another time he wanted to sit on my laptop while I was working on an important presentation. He may do such things to grab attention or keep himself busy. Such thoughts definitely put him at the receiving end of “NOs” and “DON’Ts.” Such cases promote Aaran’s acting skills. And, when he sees that there is not even a single fan of his shenanigans, he changes gears and finds NBA. No he isn’t a fan of basketball or Michael Jordan, this NBA is the Next Best Alternative. When he doesn’t receive what he wants he changes his mind and finds the next best alternative to make him happy. Within no time I see him finding happiness in something else. As adults we often sit on one thing and complain about what went wrong. This multiplies our disappointment and depletes our power to tackle the wrong turns of our life. Whenever I feel stuck in life, I always recall this lesson of NBA that Aaran has taught me. Try it the next time you’re stuck in a problem and you will see your worries vanishing magically.
Thanks to Aaran and every child that is teaching us these important life lessons without even realizing they are teaching us. I hope I can apply this child’s play to my life and make it more beautiful.