Important lessons we can learn from our children
Contributor Claudine Fernandez has gathered a few lessons we can learn from our children from her daily life as a children's writing coach. Read on to find her tips!
As a creative writing coach, I nurture the love of writing in children and show them how to enjoy the experience of learning new things through the arts. In the process of doing this, I am constantly reminded of these important life lessons we can learn from our children who are as young as 7-12.
1. Always react with compassion instead of indifference.
Whenever one of the children has a bad tummy ache or is recovering from a fall, the kids are boundless in their expressions of sympathy. It is almost as if they could literally feel their friends' pain and it bothers them! Such compassion is sometimes lacking in us, adults, who have probably experienced a multitude of illnesses to care about a mere stomachache.
But imagine the state of our society if we did...
2. Being daring and bold can get you places
Children write stories borne out of their imagination. These stories often defy logic and make the impossible a reality. Instead of looking at the world with skeptical or cynical eyes, they embrace the unknown and are brave enough to explore the unchartered territory of fantastical worlds, resulting in real gems.
Some of these gems include stories with benevolent monsters, mermaids who save the day or a villain who was disguised as a doctor. Only when we suspend our disbelief are we able to create fresh new perspectives.
3. Forgiveness allows us to start afresh.
There are times when I get angry at the misdemeanours of a child, reprimanding them with the intention of correcting their behaviour. Consequently, I would always worry about the effect of my actions on our relationship. After all, I know full well that good rapport with students is absolutely essential to a successful lesson.
Yet, time and again, it surprises me how most children don't bear grudges, especially when they know they have done something wrong and when they can feel your sincerity. Their forgiveness of my harshness in turn leads me to forgive their wrongs. Each new day begins on a clean slate, as it should.
4. Words can make or break someone's confidence.
A student of mine kept recounting the story of how her uncle had made a comment about how she was good at talking but not at writing. Every time, she repeated the story, I could sense the hurt she felt by her uncle's lack of confidence in her. I challenged her to prove him wrong and made it a point to affirm her small successes. Although these affirmations may not be enough to completely undo the words of her uncle, she is making small steps towards progress and believing in her capabilities.
Perhaps her uncle does not even realise the impact his words had on her but it became crystal clear to me how one phrase or a few words could completely steer a child towards the path of a healthy self-esteem or the lack thereof.
5. A sense of wonderment about mundane things makes you appreciate the world more.
In my bid to make lessons fun, I experiment with different materials that might seem rather commonplace and ordinary to any adult. On the contrary, the children do not think so. They delight in building castles out of marshmallows or illustrating a model of their street on the interior of a cereal box.
Their excitement lasts beyond the duration of the class, sometimes talking about these things for days! This just makes me appreciate the value and multipurpose quality of everyday objects.
6. The truth can make you better.
Children are usually really candid in their reactions. If they feel displeased about something or if they find a task too difficult, they would say it. Likewise, they will also reveal their joy if they like doing an activity. Their emotions are genuine and authentic and you never have to second-guess them. Because of this, I am able to constantly tailor and tweak my lessons, sometimes on the spot, to suit their learning needs and interests.
I feel so humbled and blessed to be among these wonderful little human beings and I can only hope that we adults adopt some of these childlike qualities to become better, all rounded individuals.