Who are Your Teachers?
Our teachers in life come in all shapes are sizes. For example, my kids are often my teachers. I know I’m biased, but I think they’re amazing little people. While both display these characteristics, one son loves passionately, thinks with such clarity, is compassionate and very patient. The other is creative and courageous and vivacious. I love them both dearly!
I also love that they are willing to call me on behaviour that others wouldn’t. I think this is important. They call my behaviour, question my comments and metaphorically hold up a mirror for me. This can be a little confronting. It is also very healthy. Fortunately, sometimes what they say is also what I’ve said to them, but clearly I need to hear the message too!
In fact, I’m sure they teach me as much as I teach them. Often this is about being mindful, about being present and about being grateful. Inadvertently, they enforce some of the principles behind Positive Psychology!
Let me give you a few examples:
One son wanted to buy Christmas presents for a couple of his friends. He used his pocket money and bought what I believed to be ‘expensive plastic crap’. I clearly mentioned this a few too many times, because he said to me, ‘Mum, can you not wreck this for me?’
He stopped me in my tracks. Instead of appreciating that he’d put a lot of thought into what
his friends would love, and being excited for him that he would enjoy the look on his friends’ faces when he gave them what he knew they would love, I was focused on how I objectively valued the gifts.
I immediately said, ‘Yes, I can let you enjoy this. I’ll stop.’
In one sentence, he’d reminded me that it’s the value we place on something that matters. Whether I thought there was value in the actual item or not, there was certainly value in the joy he was getting in giving the gifts and the joy he was getting out of thinking about his friends. Once I saw this, I got a lot of joy out of his joy.
Sometimes the boys will ask why I’m shouting and sometimes I’ll have a very good answer. Other times the answer will be that I’m grumpy or tired or frustrated with something or someone other than them. I love that they ask this question as it brings me into the present moment where I can mindfully think about what I’m actually upset about, be it with them, or something completely different.
Sometimes I have trouble with being present. My son’s have called me on this and as a result, I am more present with them. And it’s not always a matter of being ‘called on something’. Sometimes it’s just noticing. Noticing how much more the boys talk to me when we go for a walk and I listen intently, without thinking about all the other things I need to do.
Sometimes it’s watching how they interact with each other, or how they speak to someone who needs some help, or it’s how intently they listen to someone more knowledgeable (especially about soccer!).
Sometimes it’s about noticing how grateful I am that my youngest will still hold my hand in public and how both boys genuinely really want to spend time with me.
So while I have no intention of beating myself up about not being perfect (who is?), I am very grateful to have two little teachers under my roof!
Personally I love that we have the opportunity to continually learn throughout our lives and I think it’s important to always be open to this.
So I’ll leave you with a question to ponder. Who are the teachers in your life and what do they teach you?
Laurenne Di Salvo
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