Kids are amazing because everything they do is to become better. They are constantly searching for ways to become the best at what they do. Even if that’s playing.
The funniest thing about kids is that they have no filter. They say what they think and think what they say is always appropriate for any situation. There is beauty in this type of honesty.
Somewhere along the way we develop a sense of self and realize that everything we think shouldn’t be uttered aloud. The day that happens is a bittersweet day for parents. We desperately want our kids to stop saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times but we will also truly miss the funny outbursts they have.
There’s something else we need to think about, though. Something we can learn from the way children behave without regard to their surroundings. It’s a mindset we, as adults, could spend a little more time adopting and putting into play. Everything they do is about becoming better.
Everything they do is about becoming better.
It may seem like their just playing with action figures or dolls, but in their mind they are developing their imagination. They are coming up with new ways to have those action figures or dolls interact.
When they read the road signs from the back seat (which always interrupts the conversation you’re having with the other parent) they are putting new words in their vocabulary and applying those words to a situation where they would need to be six feet tall.
Each behavior kids conduct is a step forward in personal growth.
It’s unfortunate that the term “personal growth” has become somewhat of an annoyance for people these days. It’s been overused and misplaced to the point that people almost think of it the same way people think of geocaching (ok, that may be a bit over the top).
You have to wonder how sports became so popular throughout the world. I mean, if you really break it down, most sports are simply a few people running in circles trying to take control of a ball to score an arbitrary number of points. But the last part is critical. So they can win.
Winning is what drives most things in our lives. But in order to win, one must constantly grow. One must constantly get better. This isn’t a foreign concept for us in the context of athletes. We admire those who work harder than the rest, who achieve more than the rest, who leave a legacy greater than the rest. That’s the only reason sports still exist, because we admire the greats. And all athletes are trying to be that one person everyone admires.
It sounds egocentric, but I don’t think it is. I think it’s a sense of trying to reach our maximum potential. This is what children do. Their entire lives until they are well into their teens, they are trying to be the best they can be at whatever they attempt.
I’ve noticed many times over the past couple of years that I find myself working tirelessly to become the best writer I can be. I’ve written well over a million words since 2012 and I feel like I’ve made great progress. But I still find that I lose my cool with my son at times when I shouldn’t be. I’ve lost valuable teaching moments with him because I was impatient. All he was trying to do was be better at something. Even if that something was manipulating his mother and I.
I’ve made it a goal for 2016 that I work on my patience with my kids. That I take this new observation and apply it to my parenting. If they can spend every ounce of energy trying to be the best kid they can be, then I can spend all of my “personal growth” energy trying to be the best parent I can be.
They deserve it.
Photo credit: Flickr/Tom Woodward