Hello everyone! I’m so glad you’re here for the part three of my parenting lessons series. I’ve really enjoyed sharing the different parenting lessons I learned from my own childhood. Today I want to share one that I use even today in my own life: always be learning.
Perhaps this lesson sounds like something you know and understand already, and if so, that’s great. I remember distinctly learning this lesson in high school and applying it to my life multiple times since then.
Let me tell you the story of the first time I realized this lesson was important.
A Tale of Teenage Angst
In high school, I loved writing and joined my school newspaper where I became editor-in-chief my senior year. It made me so happy to be on the staff and get access to some pretty cool events. The school newspaper functioned as a class, so I signed on for a full year of the class, which was “taught” by Mrs. J.
Mrs. J. taught English classes and the newspaper class, which was more of a loosely taught club than an actual class. Most of the time we spent our third period class talking, chatting, outlining a few stories we wanted to put in the next month’s newspaper, and goofing off like high school students do. Mrs. J. would be in the room most of the time, but she often disappeared to go hang out with the other teachers, especially her fellow English teachers.
I admit I was a bit of a control freak back in high school. I still am, but I’ve learned that I’m never really in control since then. That said, I became the slave driver editor-in-chief who wanted people to take the newspaper seriously. I was proud of our little paper, and I wanted everyone else to take pride in it as well and actually try to write something worth reading.
The problem I had was Mrs. J. Whenever I edited someone’s story and gave it back with red marks slashed through half the page, I watched the person go straight to her and tell her how harsh I was being. It frustrated me because of how she reacted to the other students, almost all of them arguably cooler than I was. She would sometimes reprimand me for being too harsh and not make them correct obvious errors.
When I went home from class angry about this, I talked to my dad. He’s the one who told me that we can learn lessons in any situation, and oftentimes we learn how not to act. I realized I could take my frustration about Mrs. J. and her lack of leadership as a lesson of what I wouldn’t want to do in my future.
Always Be Learning
My dad taught me this in high school, but I learned to apply it to all kinds of situations as an adult. I tend to be rather observant, and I pay attention to people a lot. So I have learned a lot of behaviors, actions, personality types, and other things that I do not want to pass on in my own life.
I think there are a few keys to how I look at different situations as a result of my dad’s lesson. And these are things I want to pass on to my own children someday.
One | View Everything with the Eyes of a Student
We teach our children to go to school and be students who pay attention to what each class is designed to teach them. But it helps our children to understand they can always be learning as long as they always look at the world as a student. I try to go into different situations to answer the question: What can I learn here? It helps me to really pay attention and put situations to use in my own life.Go into situations to answer the question: What can I learn here? Click To Tweet
Sometimes we feel like we’ve wasted our time in places we go or events we participate in. But I think we’d feel that way a lot less often if we went into those situations thinking we would learn something from them, even if it’s simply learning something negative.
Two | Always Ask Questions
Children learn so much just by asking questions, and I think this is a great trait to foster in a child. It’s important to not fear asking questions. We all get into situations where we’re over our heads, ignorant of some necessary knowledge, or simply lost. I think it helps foster our learning if we allow ourselves to ask questions so we can learn. Children need to be comfortable asking questions, too.
Asking questions and being curious help us to gain knowledge, period. I think sometimes in order to learn something we need to be able to let our curiosity free and ask as many questions as we want. Honestly being able to ask questions helped me in my various jobs over the years, but it goes deeper than just general education and job knowledge.Teach your children to ask questions and NOT to be afraid to ask! Click To Tweet
We ask questions about everything in life, from the food we eat to the restaurant menu, from the health problems we deal with to the prescriptions we take, from the pets we get to the best ways to train them, from the idea of being a parent to actually taking the steps to bring a child into the world. We always ask questions, and we need to encourage our children to ask questions to and not fear the asking.
Three | Be Open to All Lessons
Sometimes learning can be a tough pill to swallow, wouldn’t you agree? We fail a test or get reprimanded at work for a mistake. It’s tough because we hate to be wrong, but at the same time, it’s an opportunity to learn something. We learn how to be better, different, do something with greater efficiency.
Lessons come in all shapes and sizes. We learn as much from our negative school and work experiences as from life experiences. Sometimes life teaches us hard lessons, like how to grieve a loss or how to stay calm in a dangerous situation. These lessons are just as important as the education we receive and help us to grow emotionally.We learn as much from negative life experiences as we do positive ones! Sometimes even more... Click To Tweet
I think it’s vitally important to teach our children to be open to these lessons. Learning grows us up in so many ways, and we won’t always be able to shield our children from these lessons. So if we instead embrace them, we can help our children embrace them as well.
I’ll take a minute to share why this is important to me.
A Story of a Child’s Grief
When I was young, around 10 or 11 years old, my great-granny died of congestive heart failure. I was very close to her and called her my Granny Grump (a kind of amusing family story). I spent many summers visiting my grandparents in Indiana, and they lived next door to Granny Grump. I knew she was dying and had said my goodbyes to her the last time we visited but didn’t really understand. No one that close to me had died in my life up to that point.
As a child, I obviously didn’t understand how to grieve, but I knew I was sad. We went to Indiana for the funeral, and I remember being nervous about going to the funeral home and seeing her body. My dad went up to the casket with me, and we looked at her. I don’t know that it was my first time seeing a dead body, but it still shocked me to see my usually vibrant Granny Grump so still and silent.
My dad was so sensitive to my fears and sadness, and he pointed out that she had a very determined expression on her face. We shared a moment of remembering how stubborn she was, and he commented she looked as if she was determined to get to heaven. I took a lot of comfort from that conversation, and it helped me with my grief.
As a parent, I can’t shield my children from all the bad in the world. I’d love to. I want Emmeric to always be safe, happy, and healthy, but even in his short time on earth, I know we’ll see hardships. So if I can’t shield him from pain and suffering, I want to encourage him to be open to life’s lessons. The learning comes so much easier when we’re open to it, don’t you think?
Next week I’m sharing my last lesson from this series, and I can’t wait to share it with you! This series really reminded me of some great things I can incorporate in my parenting. I sincerely hope you got some great tips out of it. And if you’re looking for even more parenting goodness, I have a great bundled package coming soon through Ultimate Bundles! I’ll be sharing a little more about it in my next post, so stay tuned!