Life is really funny. From the time my children were very young I began to learn how much I could learn from them.
That’s funny to me, as I think of all the books and articles which have been written to help people become better parents. Often time such publications are penned by “professionals” who don’t have children themselves. Personally, I think a bit about how the book would read if it were penned by my children.
Without actually consulting them for this piece, they live the life as “Teresa Hammond’s kids” a bit too much; I can easily share what a few sentences would read.
Stop multi-tasking. Play more games. Listen. Turn television off. Talk to one another.
It’s a pretty simple list and once this is published I intend to share it with them to see how much I’ve learned. You see, the beauty of parenting humbly is acknowledging how much they have to teach me.
I’ve been doubly blessed most recently, as I’ve found myself in a place with a partner who also has two wise children. Those two are somewhat older than mine and offer a different level of wisdom. Theirs looks a bit like this.
Let it go. Time to move on. Listen. Stop being a mom. Have fun.
The older kids, now they are really helping me grow in a way I’ve not yet been accustomed to, while the younger offer the balance of the foundation on which families are formed.
The “stop being a mom” advice was given freely and perhaps at a time when I needed it most. All parents know, we never truly stop being a mom, yet at the time I was having trouble learning to just relax a bit and genuinely enjoy the moments I was in. I’m happy to report, that since hearing those words, I’ve loosened up a bit and my children have been treated to a mom who’s a bit more relaxed and fun in certain moments.
Truth be told as the “adults” – the ones who have lived life, done all the things and feel as if we’ve learned our fair share of lessons, we can easily get caught up in our own “yeah I know.” The lessons however, the biggest growth, I’ve come to learn comes most when I step away from my place of yeah I know, stop and listen to the kids.
It is my experience that humbling ourselves to the wisdom of our children is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and them. I still recall years ago in my 20s, a deep conversation with my mom about family and the impact ours had on my life. I’ll never forget the look in my mother’s eyes as the conversation ended. She looked at me and simply shared how much she appreciated my wisdom and recognized that age does not dictate wisdom.
That’s what these kids continue to teach me. Wisdom has little to do with age. Just typing that makes me giggle, as I think of the many adults I’ve interacted with and wondered how they manage to dress themselves.
So what’s all this mean, really?
In summary, I guess it’s pretty simple – I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the moments when I recognize being engaged with the kids may be more important than being on time to a function. I’m grateful for four kids who aren’t afraid to open up and share their wisdom. I’m grateful that my mother shared with me when she did that regardless of my calendar age, I was indeed wise.
So as you go through your days, solving all the problems, making all the plans and thinking about what’s next remember to listen and learn. The easy thing is to think we have it all figured out. We know what they need. We know what to do. The real lessons however, the memory making/bonding stuff comes in those moments when we allow ourselves to be humbled and them to be heard.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.