By Casey Grey
Have you ever learned from somebody who you thought you were suppose to teach?
As parents, society talks about how we are suppose to protect and teach our children. To make sure we raise the next generation "right". Give them the opportunities that we did not have. Put them in better schools, sports and other extra curricular activities. Be the best! You want to win but don't worry if you loose because you still get a medal.
Alright that last comment may be for another post...
What if we forgot about all this? What if, instead, we tried to learn from our children instead of feeling like we need to teach them everything?
Yes, I know there are certain things we do need to teach our children like not to put tweezers in sockets (yes, I did this when I was a kid) but that's for general safety. I'm talking about the deeper stuff.
What I'm talking about is the ability to BE. As parents we are always DOING and in turn we teach our kids what to DO and what NOT TO DO. "Do this!" and "Don't do that!" are regular sentences our children hear.
We, as adults, have been tainted. We are now living our lives while wearing glasses which project all of our past experiences. Therefore we make decisions on those experiences which may or may not be the best decision for that moment. We think the decisions we make are best for our children because we're the boss but somebody else may make the complete opposite decision for their children. Who's right?
I say, "Who cares!?" We're not puzzle pieces who need to fit into a specific spot. We are all individual puzzles with millions of our own pieces and new pieces are being made every day.
The greatest teacher I have had in my life is my son, Sullivan.
He does care about the past or the future. Who only cares about the present. How does he feel right now in this moment? He's all about the NOW and what's in front of him.
He loves people. All people. He does judge or label anybody.
He is curious. He asks questions (and lot's of them) about anything and everything.
He is determined. He is willing to fall down and get back up again and again and again.
My wife, Natasha, and I went skating with Sullivan a couple weeks ago and skated about 5km. Sullivan skated the entire time but he likely did 7km with all the zig zagging he did. He also fell down dozens of times and took hundreds more strides than we did. Not once did he complain or get discouraged. He just kept getting back up and he was having a blast. He didn't care about what others thought. He was having fun and he was with mommy and daddy.
The most important thing I have learned from my son is who I am.
He does what I do, not what I say. If I have a bad habit, he'll pick up that habit. If I'm quick to get frustrated, he's quick to get frustrated. If I eat shitty food, he'll think it's ok to eat shitty food. If I sit and watch TV all the time, he'll want to watch TV all the time. If I work too much, he'll tell me he wants me to work less. He is a projection of his environment and Natasha and I are the main environment.
Learning does not stop when you're an adult. It never stops. Learning is growth and if you are not growing, you are dying.
And teaching does not only begin when you are an adult. We teach through what we do and who we are.
Remember, our children are watching you. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."