At The Feet Of A Master

Here at MamasOnCall we work hard to help you do what you do — raise your children well and teach them everything they need to know in order to live happy, independent, successful lives. You are their first and most important teacher on their path through life and your value cannot be overstated.

There is a flip side to this equation, though. Yes, you are the teacher but did you ever consider that you can also be the student? True, kids don’t know much about manners or nutrition or how to tie their shoes, make their beds or prepare for a math test. They don’t know how to take turns or make up with a playmate after squabbling over a favorite toy. They can’t cook, drive a car, restrain themselves around an open bar featuring unlimited bowls of skittles or ice cream and they might burn their eyes (and brains) out watching t.v. or playing computer games if no one is around to say, “That’s enough!”

But here’s what they do know (and what you may have forgotten): how to be in the moment with no worries about the future or regrets about the past; how to make time slow down; how to feel their feelings deeply, express them plainly and then let them go; how to say they’re sorry and really mean it; how to find enjoyment in the simplest of activities like playing with an ant and a stick for half an hour; how to forgive and forget; how to become fully absorbed in whatever it is they are doing; how to live with the expectation that all will be well regardless of what’s going on now; how to open their hearts and love with abandon; how to challenge themselves to reach higher and farther than they did the day before; how to make a new friend in seconds; how to judge people based on their personal qualities instead of their looks, income level, job title or social status; how to sleep like a rock; how to express their creativity joyfully without giving a thought to what others might think; how to wonder; and how to greet each day with new eyes and a sense of excitement.

One of the most profound gifts that children bring to us is their willingness to just be who they are without excuses or apologies. They are comfortable in their own skins and able to greet each person who comes into their lives with an open heart and an open mind. In other words, they are able to be their real, authentic selves. And that’s why we feel so comfortable around them.

So do yourself a favor while you have the chance. Slow down and pay attention to how your children do these things. Watch them carefully and allow yourself to marvel at their ability to be present and authentic. Join them in their sense of fun and adventure. Relearn how to play, and how to “be”. They have a lot to teach, if we’re willing to listen.

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Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

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