When I was a kid I was taught that adults know better because age and experience trump youth. I grew up in a culture that looked down at kids and became overly familiar with the “What do you know?” attitude.
But of course, the truth is far from that.
Children are great teachers, some of the best in fact. Their speciality: how to enjoy and live life fully.
As a family photographer, I find myself in hundrends of situations that give me the opportunity to pay attention and learn from children. I’ve shared a few of the things I’ve learnt from them and have applied to my life and the way I work.
But I wanted to see what others think too, so I’ve asked those closest to children – parents and educators – what are some of the things they’ve learnt. I was not disappointed.
“To be curious
I’ve learnt that asking questions is ok. When I was young I was told to stop asking questions because it was seen to be nosy. I’ve since changed my approach and now ask as many questions as I can think of. With experiencing children’s natural inclination to ask questions no matter how big or small, how wild or wonderful, and then seeing the amount of learning coming from their approach I now find curiosity so valuable in my everyday life.
To slow down
In our rush rush world, when I am with children I relish in being in the present. To sit, to walk, to talk, to do anything and everything with ease. I embrace the many precious moments I have with them. This ability to slow down with children is now blissfully seeping into other parts of my life too; to enjoy dinner at the dining table, to sit on the sofa and read a book not watch TV, to literally stop and smell the sweet blossoms I pass as I walk to and from my workplace. Slowing down is a lesson I am still learning, but I am grateful to be gaining a more peaceful life now, living more in the moment as children do so well.
To smile and spread joy
I have appreciated every smile I have ever exchanged with a child and have adored hearing their contagious laughter. Their infectious joyful ways impress me to no end and inspire me to smile and spread more joy everywhere I go and with everyone I interact with. What greater gift is there in the world than the smile of a child?”
“The kindergarden I work at is the best school I’ve ever attended and the kids there are my best teachers. I’ve learnt from them not to over complicate my life (or at least do it less) and to enjoy the simplest things: bread dough, the colours that mix up on the paper in all sort of nuances, the morning light that slips in through the tree branches, a made up story or movement and most of all the energising afternoon nap.
I’ve also learnt to have patience. Lots and lots of it. Mostly during winter time when each child has 5 layers of clothing and don’t know to put even one of them on by themselves.
I have learnt to live in the present and stop thinking about how long it will take to clean up all the toys that are spread around the room or the flour that reached under the table.
To breathe when things don’t go as I expect or when those around me are slower than myself. I’m still learning that sometimes it’s ok to do nothing.
With them I too learn to express my needs and dissatisfaction with more ease. I learnt to be braver and give unconditionally: a compliment, a surprise, a hug a little magic.”
“I had my first daughter at the age of 22, my partner and I were extremely excited and anxious at the same time. I didn’t know if I would be a good mum or a good mum to a girl. Before having my girls, I was irresponsible and careless and didn’t care much about anyone’s feelings. Since becoming a mum, my girls have shown me compassion and forgiveness and a will to be successful.”
“My kiddo taught me to enjoy every moment, to instantly detach from any worries and trust more.”
“Children taught me patience, resilience and smiles.”