Life Lessons From Toddlers

7 Oct

“The child’s primary business is learning. It is also the primary entertainment.”  Nathaniel Branden on Psychology

Over the course of our lives we develop learned behaviours based on the teachings and wisdom of our society.  As a rule, we depend on the older, more mature members of our families to show us the way to achieving our best life.  We have been schooled in the sciences, mathematics, history, politics, religion and the arts.

Rarely do we look to learn in reverse through children but some of the most important life lessons can be learned by observing toddlers.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Toddlers fall an average of 38 times a day while learning how to walk.  They may cry and get frustrated but they get right back up and try again.  A child’s desire to walk is much greater than their desire to give up.

How often do we try anything after we have failed at it more than 3 times?  Try 38 falls (failures) a day.  Toddlers teach us that we have to crawl before we can walk and we have to walk before we can run.  Baby steps.  Our desire to accomplish anything should be more important to us than any temporary temptation to quit.  Remember, even when we do fail, our dreams are worth another try.

What hurts us can also make us stronger.

Obstacles often trip up toddlers.  Tables, toys and chairs can cause major injuries as well as minor bumps and bruises.  Still, all these things have a purpose and while they may be troublesome to a wobbly baby, they also serve the great purpose of giving the child something to pull up with.

An example of this is a baby who bloodied his lip on a living room coffee table.  His mother was so upset, she had all the tables and furniture removed.  As it turned out, this toddler didn’t learn how to walk till he was 22 months old, most likely because he didn’t have anything to pull up on.

So it is as adults.  We deal with inter-personal relationship challenges everyday at home, at work and in our community.  Our first instinct may be to just avoid some difficult personalities but by working through the emotions and communications involved with certain people we are developing our social skills.

Just the same, on a physical level.  If your desire is to run a marathon of 26.2 miles, you may find the challenges of training painful.  Runner’s knee, side-stitches and blisters are a few possible early difficulties in training but given enough consistency you’ll be a success running across that finish line!

Keep a good sense of humor.

Very early on, babies  begin to smile.   One study has shown that children laugh about 400 times a day as compared to adults who laugh an average of 17 times a day.  As toddlers explore, bond and play they naturally giggle and glow in blissful unabashed laughter.

Approaching everyday circumstances with a sense of humor can open us up to new ways of seeing the world and fresh new answers to old questions.  Joy gives us a feeling of freedom from the inside out and that is a gift to all those around us and our own peace of mind.  Having a sense of humor has a relaxing effect on our body, especially during stressful times.  Laughing at ourselves can also lighten the mood of those we share time and space with.

Over-reacting and judging ourselves and other’s mistakes can prolong the process of growth and development.  Instead, take a lesson from the toddler and smile because everything is working out exactly as it should and finding our balance is much easier with the open ease of playfulness than the tight-fisted tension of taking things too seriously.  Sometimes when our life looks like a mess, we may be much closer to changing and growing than we realize.  Chaos often breeds great creativity.

4 Responses to “Life Lessons From Toddlers”

  1. Steve October 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    I forget the exact qoute but one thing I always think about when I think about how failure can relate to success is Thomas Edision.

    It took him about 10,000 trys to create the lightbulb. Somewhere along the way he was asked how he felt about so many failures and said something like, “I don’t see it as 10,000 failures, I see it as eliminating 10,000 things that didn’t work”

    Failure is a part of life. Like you pointed out a kids reaction is important. They may get frustrated, they may cry a little, but they get right back up and try again.

    After all everything you fail at is just one way you know doesn’t work. Do it enough and you get a lightbulb!


    • Lynn Van Noy October 11, 2010 at 12:16 am #

      Talk about concerted effort & dedication. That takes a serious vision. I love it. Reminds me that anything IS possible. Thanks for reminding me, Steve.


  2. zarkocompare October 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    You are 100% right.

    I have always admired toddlers and their ability to pick themselves up and to go from tears to smiles in the blink of an eye. We lost that at some point 😦


    • Lynn Van Noy October 20, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

      Kids are brilliant & they don’t even have to try to be. I think that’s the trick. When we put up the filter of “having to be” something or another.. we lose that delicious freedom.

      Let’s just BE!


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