Kids are pretty darn awesome. There's really nothing in the world quite like that feeling you get when you teach your sons an important life lesson and they totally "get it." But the funny thing is, not a day goes by that my kids don't teach me something.
I'm not talking about the name of that turtle-like Pokemon. (It's Squirtle, by the way.) Or the lyrics to Justin Bieber's newest song. Well, yes, you'll probably learn all kinds of horrifically useless information like that regularly. But what I'm really talking about are important life lessons.
Whether my kids actually do something or say something to me, or I just stop and think about the current situation, I am forever learning from my boys. And the things that I'm learning, well, they're making me a better father. And, for that matter, a better person.
There's a reason they say, "practice what you preach." Here's a look at 8 things my kids have taught me that make me a better person.
1. Have More Patience - Overall, I'm a pretty patient guy. But for some reason, I usually start getting real frustrated when people take awhile to do something that I know I can do in a few seconds. (Like trying to teach my father how to do something on his computer ...) I need to stop that and remember that some people (just like kids) might be learning something for the first time.
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2. Ask More Questions - "Why?" has to be the most-used word in a kid's vocabulary. As adults, we tend to accept way too many things at face value. So stop blindly accepting whatever you're told and instead question anything you don't fully understand or agree with. Does chocolate milk really come from a chocolate cow? Let's see some proof!
3. Live a Little - Ever come home from a long day of work and your kids are just bouncing off the walls? Or jumping off the couch? Your immediate instinct is probably to scream at them to cut it out. But the next time that happens, stop. Think about how crazy busy your day was and how exhausted and stressed out you are. Then think about your kids, who are literally just having a total carefree blast. That age won't last forever, so let them live a little. And do the same yourself! You'd be surprised what a stress-reliever couch jumping can be!
4. There Is No Normal - As a kid, I always thought the bulk of the world was "normal." Apparently, I wasn't alone. As you get older, though, you start to realize that being abnormal IS normal. Every family has its issues and its hang-ups. So stop comparing yourself to everyone else because no two families or individuals are even remotely alike.
5. Try New Things - Whether it's food, a roller-coaster, or the opera, don't lose sight of the fact that there is so much more in this world than you've already experienced. We push our kids regularly to try new things out, so listen to your own advice for once.
6. Be Yourself - Fine, it's corny and you've probably heard this one a thousand times. But it's damn true. Stop worrying what everyone else thinks about you. Just be yourself and be proud. Heck, in high school, I wore one of those denim jackets with a huge Twisted Sister and Dee Snider patch on the sleeve. For some odd reason, people made fun of me. Heck, I still have the jacket and my wife still rolls her eyes whenever I put it on. But that still won't stop me from embarrassing ... I mean, expressing myself!
7. Don't Be Afraid to Fail - Many times, kids and adults just won't do something because they're scared. I don't mean scared of dying (like via skydiving!), but just scared of failing and looking foolish. If you don't at least try, you'll never know if you can do something. Last summer, I tried water skiing for the very first time. I was nervous and normally wouldn't do something like that but I tried it, and I almost succeeded. Unfortunately, I failed and probably won't ever do it again. But at least I can say I gave it a shot.
8. Rules Were Meant to Be Broken - Sometimes you just need to have cake for dinner.
What lessons do your kids teach you?
Photo via Andrew Kardon/Mommysbusy.com