Life Lessons from a 5 year old

The whole UK school thing is looking murky for my 5 year old (can’t say I blame them – perhaps having a child blow into the classroom for a few months isn’t conducive to stability), so I’m practicing my home-schooling skills…and it’s not like learning some English history and the travel itself won’t be a fantastic opportunity to educate. As she sits with me in our office, working on writing her letters, I was thinking about some of the lessons she has given me. The simple, yet really effective things we tend to forget as adults. For example:

  • Sleep when you are tired. I’ve tried really hard to teach her to recognize this; I’ll take credit for doing it myself, despite the ridicule I’ve had to endure for going to bed early (I’m not even going to tell you how early it can be sometimes). And most days, I feel fabulous. And sometimes, I need a reminder that it’s worth it to just go to bed; tomorrow is a new day.
  • Wear your emotions on your sleeve. We may not have the emotional freedom as adults to always say what we are really feeling – but how many times do we stifle it, and lose the opportunity to honestly embrace our emotions, because we are scared of what might happen? My daughter has to learn that calling someone a “butthead” isn’t the best way to express she is upset, but we find another way for her to do so.
  • Take a break when you need it. She just told me her hand was tired and stopped mid-alphabet. Now how many adults would have just plowed through so they could check it off the to-do list? Sometimes a rest in between the work provides perspective.
  • Ask lots of questions. Don’t just accept, Ask. Be as educated as possible. I don’t have all the answers to everything my daughter asks, and sometimes I can’t even explain things in terms a 5 year old can understand (“Mom? What happened to the American Indians?”) but she keeps me on my toes and encourages me to investigate more.
  • Drink lots of milk. She got this from me too. I do love my evening glass of vino, but some nights when I pour her glass of milk with dinner I find I must indulge too.
The other night, we were relaxing before bed, reading and talking. I closed my eyes, and she reached over and I felt her fingertips on my third eye. In perfect Sanskrit, she softly chanted my favorite blessing, Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu – may all beings everywhere be happy and free. She finished with OM shanti, three times. I used to do this for her when she was a baby to soothe her. Lesson learned, I guess. Here’s my little devil last weekend at Halloween.