Who teaches who: parents or children?

Published On: August 5, 2020 04:00 PM NPT By: Sudarshan Neupane

Sudarshan Neupane

Sudarshan Neupane

Sudarshan Neupane is an Australian Awards Alumni from Nepal, currently associated with Terre des hommes Foundation in Bangladesh. Views are personal.

Children can teach several important lessons to parents and all adults to treasure inherent childhood qualities and learn to balance our life in a more joyous and meaningful manner.

One of the greatest concerns most parents I know experience is: Would we be able to maintain the ‘good enough’ parenting role for our children? How might we nurture the culture, family values and traditions in ways that we inherited from our own parents and grandparents in today’s modern upbringing? But if we pay close attention to what we adults seem to have forgotten, we can indefinitely derive joy and confidence in our life. In this article, I aim to share some of the profound childhood lessons that we parents (or any adults) can recollect from children that may help establish mutually reinforcing positive relationships and help to living our lives with more clarity and joy.

Creative energy

Believe it or not, every human is born with some artistic abilities. We just need to identify ways to bring that side out by adopting an enabling environment. As Franklin Roosevelt rightly said, “happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. How often do we notice children spending hours losing themselves in a creative project such as singing, dancing, playing in the mud and building castles, trying music and arts with so great attention to detail? For some reason, most adults lose that attention as we get older and stop considering creative pursuit as worthwhile. If you prefer to do the reality check, let’s ask ourselves: How many of us spend time doing creative works a day just for fun?

When we look at our children, one of the amazing things most of us would recall is how enthusiastic we were to do things that were important for us, no matter how trivial it may seem now. Children would run and chase their friends till they go out of breath, bump into the cartwheels, and hide themselves in strange places. I still remember how the end of the school days felt so accomplished and the summer and winter holidays seemed like a lifetime. Because as a child, we experience every day as a new opportunity to make friends, adventures, and learn new things. And it was fun too. One of the reminders from our children is that we should not carry too much baggage into our life and be willing to start afresh enthusiastically. 

Love yourself fully

If you observe carefully, you will notice that children are centered around themselves. They view themselves as the hero of their story. It is wonderful to see how children imagine the world around them. As we become adults, many of us sideline these inherent qualities and get driven by the need to look after family, meet up the expectations of the society and much more. It is also true that we do not want to be conceited so we end up to the side of self-deprecation. In several instances, we put ourselves down to make others feel better and embrace mediocrity. Thus, time and again we need to bring ourselves to the center of our attention and look at us as the hero of our life.

Children embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms. They demonstrate emotions openly and freely without any fears or humiliation. Have you noticed how they find joy all around them, be it in the shopping mall or agriculture fields, or at the park?

When they get their favorite toys or books or go to visit places that they like, they express their joys openly. And when they feel bad about not being appreciated for their work or have a fight with their close friends, they start throwing tantrums with grumpy face. It is easy to understand a child’s emotions. As we age, most adults learn to hide our emotions and show the socially acceptable demeanors and do not take fun in the silliness anymore. In that process, sometimes there may occur a gap in what psychologists say ‘ventilation’ of thoughts and emotions. If we do not pay enough attention to this, this may trigger various types of mental and physical health issues. Therefore, we should embrace our thoughts, emotions and feelings carefully and nurture healthy self-talk.

Let your imagination free 

Our daughter Subhi loves watching the turtles run back and forth in the water tank. She observes their little legs and how fast they move along in the water and land. Sometimes, simple things that we take for granted brings her immense joy and profound inspiration. As we grew older, we stop noticing the small miracles that surround us daily. But it is worth pondering sometimes how beautiful life would be if we could see tiny miracles again? Most of the profoundly successful people in all professions—from Jack Ma to Steve Jobs, or Lionel Messi to Mohammad Ali—had one thing in common: They believed in themselves and never shut their imagination down while going through failures and difficult times. We should all have the courage to chase our dreams and give wings to our imaginations.

In conclusion, connecting it to the question of ‘who teaches who?’, it is important to remind ourselves that parenting these days is not only about educating our children what they need to do but also make them understand why it is important to do it. Children can teach several important lessons to parents and all adults to treasure inherent childhood qualities and learn to balance our life in a more joyous and meaningful manner. All that will help us to venture out into a more adventurous life like our children and embrace the ambiguity of being an adult or parents.

The author, Australian Awards Alumni from Nepal, is currently associated with Terre des hommes in Bangladesh. Views are personal.


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