When we need them most, life lessons seem to have a way of finding us.
Sometimes a simple shift in perspective can create a powerful impact on our approach to our relationships with our kids.
So, here are a handful of parenting lessons that found me, courtesy of Winnie the Pooh, when I saw the new Christopher Robin movie with my son this summer.
1. Childhood is a short season.
Our children are little for such a short season. Before we know it our babies are walking and talking, getting their own snacks and calling Nanna on Facetime.
We blink and they’re five and then twenty-five and we sound like our own parents when we ask, “How did you get so tall?”
So, create memories. Prioritise experiences. Be intentional in your choices. Hold them a little tighter. Linger a little longer.
Because short of finding a loophole in which I can press an imaginary pause button and stay in the wonder of my son’s littleness the best solution I can find is to simplify…which brings me to…
2. Sometimes doing nothing leads to the best of something.
So true Pooh! Simplify, simplify, simplify and see where the magic of your child’s imagination leads.
Revel in the messiness of your days.
Surrender to the chaos of new motherhood.
Forget about all the doing and focus on being with your child.
Opt out of the crazy race towards adulthood that childhood has become.
Find a way to say YES to your kids as often as you can.
Create space for your kids to follow their passions and to define their own dreams.
This is their childhood and in our fast-paced, results-driven society, it’s our job to protect it and make sure they have one!
3. Play and playfulness are so undervalued in our culture.
When I read Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen it shifted my perspective and helped me change the way I approach challenges with my son.
Playfulness is the shortest distance between us and our children. Having a sense of humour and risking public embarrassment are tools I use every day – I don’t know how I’d parent without them.
Be silly and have fun. If we can let go of our egos that often tell us that we need to be the ‘serious adult’ and just lighten up, life with kids can flow so much easier.⠀
4. Let go of the need to be right.
A counselor once said to me, “you can be right or you can be in a relationship, you can’t always have both”.
Well…sometimes, like everyone, I think I am right! But so often, especially with kids, it is better to be kind than right.
It’s not a matter of being permissive or letting kids do whatever they want all the time – we have a responsibility to set and hold boundaries with loving kindness when they test their limits.
But, sometimes our culture asks far too much of little kids; more than they’re able to give. Let’s meet our kids where they are and always ask ourselves, are our actions strengthening or weakening our connection?
5. A balloon is just as important as a very important briefcase full of very important things.
Sometimes the things our kids want seem trivial and unimportant in our productive adult world.
But to them, their things mean the world.
Their toys, their dreams, their passions and their emotions don’t hold any lesser value just because they belong to a smaller person.
When they stumble, physically or emotionally, they don’t need to hear “you’re ok” or “nothing to cry about”.
They need to know that their emotions are valid.
That when they’re hurt we will sit with them and allow their tears to fall.
That we will always hold the space for them.
That we are their safe place and with us, they always belong, no strings attached.
And perhaps my favourite lesson is that “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most space in your heart.” Mama, this one needs no explanation.