Life lessons from a preschooler

My week-long trip to see our families in Toronto taught me a lot of invaluable lessons. Best of these lessons were from my three-and-a-half-year-old-nephew, who’s the smartest kid I know – and yes, I may be totally biased. These have been roaming around in my brain for a few days, and I had to write them down.

  1. Love is to be earned, not just to be expected. If you spend time with them, take care of their needs, they will love you back. If you listen to them and do what they say, they will listen to you. If they copy what you do, you’re already a winner.
  2. Set a goal and go after it. Cry, yell, be nice – do whatever it takes. Kids usually know what they want and what they don’t. That voice gets muffled later on with all the internal fears and doubts and external advices from people who say they know better. Get in touch with your own inner voice again… and go get ’em.
  3. You can make others happy by being yourself. Your spirit is contagious just like your smile. People who love you will be happy when you’re enjoying yourself and doing what’s best for you.
  4. Don’t underestimate your energy. Even when you’re tired, you can play a little bit more or read that storybook one more time. Your energy level may not be as high as a soon-to-be-four year old, but the more you push your body, the more it can handle. Also, don’t forget to lie down and nap whenever you need to, wherever you may be.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. Play in dirt. Eat with your hands (and clothes). Fight with someone who takes your toy (once in a while). Try new things, accept new challenges, learn new words (or languages). When you fall, get up and say it’s okay, and five minutes later, get back on the edge of the sofa where you fell from so you can eventually conquer not falling from there anymore.
  6. Have tons of self confidence. If you see your grandpa fixing the sink, go ahead help him and learn. Cleaning, cooking and fixing things with tools are some of their favourite things. If someone else can do it, so can they. There’s no room for self-criticism or beating themselves up over little mistakes and mishaps. Mistakes are just an important lesson in life.
  7. Don’t be afraid of change. Your favourite show can change every few weeks. You can change your food, style, friends and schools many times. Change pretty much always leads to growth of some sort, so you welcome it. Changing your pull-ups on the other hand…
  8. Let others take care of you. There are times when you need someone to help you. Even though you want to do everything on your own and you have a lot of confidence, you still enjoy letting others pamper you. This lesson is my favourite as it has taught me how to let people in and how to appreciate the things they do for you. You have a favourite person who does what you need them to and how and when you want them to. Enjoy it while it lasts.
  9. Communicate effectively. Yes, you can learn communication skills from kids. Their communication is direct and simple and it’s a reminder of some basics that we may have forgotten. You can talk about your feelings in the simplest of sentences like,”I like when you put away your toys” and “It’s not nice when you hit others.” Sometimes we forget to ask questions like, “will you please do this for me?”. Instead we have unfulfilled expectations, resentments and distances. Isn’t it so much easier to just ask for what we need?
  10. It’s okay to fall short. Last but not least, I’m always surprised at how much kids can understand you and your limitations. If you’re really too tired to sing the rhymes one (or ten) more times, let them know. They’ll understand. I’ve explained very complicated concepts to my nephew and he somehow understands them. I wonder if It has anything to do with our desperate tone of voice, but hey, if it works.

I would love to hear any other lessons you may have learned from a little wise person in your life! 🙂


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