We are all students and teachers at the same time. This principle becomes most apparent when I speak with my two nieces (7 and 9). I just visited them –we had a lot of fun in an indoor playground, shared thoughts and opinions. My big niece has always wanted to become a veterinarian, she loves their dog and all animals; the little one is still considering various options, e.g. forensic doctor, director, or singer. It is amazing how curious they are and how they explore every aspect of their world in a playful and fearless way. They are my role models in this regard. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being highest), how playful and fearless are you today?
Here is what we spoke about and what I learned:
Advice from Kids I – On Happiness
When I asked my nieces what made them happy, they burst out cheerfully and wildly: “Playing with my toys, my friends, horse-riding, eating my favorite dish, sleeping in, shopping, canoodling, Star Wars movies, blue skies and sunshine.” “That’s all?” I asked. “Well, sometimes school and learning new things are fun, too.” What’s on your list of things that give you energy and motivate you? It is wonderful to see that my nieces are delighted by little things. How little or big do your motivators need to be?
Advice from Kids II – On Adulthood
My nieces shared with me their views on what they like about adults and what they aspire to be when they are grown up. What they appreciate besides presents is that adults protect children and take care of them; when they feel treated in a fair manner; when they have the chance to learn; or others think of them, and when they feel loved and accepted. When they will be grown ups themselves they want to say ‘no’ less often, will never be unfair, and never make anyone do what they want. It will certainly be a long and fascinating journey to observe. What has become of your childhood dreams?
Advice from Kids III – On Relationships
I knew that when I asked my nieces for some ideas on how to nurture relationships, I would not only have fun but would also learn the deep truths. Here is what they came up with:
- Get some new toys
- Bake chocolate cookies and serve sweets
- Ask the other person what else s/he might want or need
- Be fair, always
- Choose the attitude to make every day a beautiful one
- Take nothing for granted
- Really like every aspect about the other person
Of course, for me my nieces are the two most adorable girls in the world, though I know, they can be big trouble, too. When I shared with them that the longest relationship they will have in their lives is with their sibling, they took another look at the list they had come up with, gulped, and went silent.
How do you nurture your relationships – at work or at home? Please share below.
Advice from Kids IV – On Anger Management
There are different strategies that my nieces pursue to express and manage their anger. The little one prefers boxing, hitting the bag, dancing hip hop or listening to music. My big niece rather reads a book or snuggles with her teddy bear; she wants to be alone, and prefers not to talk. Both also play or cry when they are irked, peeved or angry; and they are very conscious about their anger. What’s your personal approach to managing anger? What does it clarify for you?
Advice from Kids V – On Patience
There is a similar trait between my little niece and me: We are fast at thinking and doing things, and can also get impatient pretty quickly. Ever since she started school, she has been working on developing more patience, pacing herself, and allowing others to also express their needs. I was curious about her approach and asked her “Sweetheart, what’s your secret for becoming more patient?”. She raised her eyebrow and put an impatient expression on her face. “Annette, why are you asking me something you already know? The only way is via meditation. Let me show you again.” She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths; then she explained to me what to focus on while meditating and warned me: ”Keep that in mind. Or take some notes to remember later.” What is your favorite approach for more patience? What effect does it have? Please leave a comment below.
What strikes me again and again is that often times, adults do not significantly behave differently from children. Their behavioral style and communicative approaches might have become a little more refined; however, the underlying patterns can still be discovered. It is hard for us adults to face and accept the truth. Needs and emotions are universal; they find a way to be expressed or surface.
I am very grateful to have my nieces in my life and to be part of their lives. Our interaction is a source of inspiration for me. And I trust that some of my insight inspires you. Contact me for a complimentary coaching session and let’s explore some of the insight and advice that your experiences and encounters have presented you with.
Wishing you the courage and awareness to connect with your inner child, Annette.