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Life lessons I learned from my toddler.

Posted June 16

“Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.” — Jean de la Bruyere (Deseret Photo)

Life lessons I learned from my toddler

As adults it is easy to get so caught up in our stressful, fast-paced lives that we cease to learn life's most important lessons along the way. It is ironic that most of what I learn is from my toddlers. With less life experience they understand and know what is most important. They don't know they are teaching me in the moment, but as I watch and study their reactions to life and living, I come to find joy and simplicity I often forget to attain for myself.

Laughter is the best medicine. When all else fails, laugh. Research shows that laughing boosts both your energy and heart rate by about 10 to 20 percent. This means you could burn up to 40 calories by laughing for around 15 minutes. Bonus!

Life is short. Gretchen Rubin reminds us, “The days are long but the years are short.” Enjoy the hard moments when you can, for one day you will miss the piles of laundry, the bedtime snacks and the never-ending questions.

Happiness is a heart-shaped sandwich. Something so simple can bring my toddlers great joy. Happiness is made of small and simple things and acts of kindness.

Most things can be solved by a good night's sleep. Children are resilient. After a bad day, all they need is a warm milk, goodnight kiss and a peaceful night's sleep in order to handle the next day's challenges. A new day can make a big difference for children and adults alike.

Sharing is caring. When you serve others, though not always easy, you will usually come to find out more about yourself and love the one you are serving.

No need to cry over spilled milk. Spilled milk is almost a daily occurrence in our home. My children don’t seem to mind because the glass is refillable.

Pink tennis shoes make you run faster. My daughter actually believes this, because if you look good, you feel good.

Dreams do come true. My toddlers don't doubt that what they want, they will achieve. We all need to have a little more hope in our dreams.

Dance like nobody's watching. My daughter does just that. In fact, when “Jessie’s Girl” comes on the radio, it’s as if no one else is in the room. You can't please everyone, so be silly and remember the words of Dr Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

A dinosaur Band-Aid can fix a lot. The proverb “Out of sight, out of mind” holds much power. My son does not dwell on simple pain. If a Band-Aaid covers the scar, he forgets it is there and continues to enjoy his life.

Honesty is the best policy. My toddlers say it how it is. They allow me to know exactly how they feel and in return I can help them succeed knowing how to handle the situation.

It’s OK to cry. My kids cry if they feel like crying. They laugh if they feel like laughing and they yell if they feel like yelling. They know their feelings and they express them.

There is no such thing as too many questions. Kids have an enthusiasm for life. “Why?” is a common questions in our house. We could all ask a few more questions and in return find many answers and freedom.

Always say “I love you.” My family doesn't leave one another without saying these three important words. We say it as we walk out the door, hang up the phone or drift off to sleep. We are never left wondering our worth in the eyes of others. We know we are loved.

Forgive and forget. Kids don't hold a grudge. When a friend hurts their feelings, the next day they become friends again. Forgiveness relieves us from carrying an unnecessary burden. Many studies have shown that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who do not. Holding on to grudges can harm your health by acting as a chronic stressor.

Accept your flaws. Toddlers don't care about their dirty shirt or crooked smile. They are enjoying life and the people around them. They love who they are and they know where they are headed.

Take a break. In a busy world we need to take time and slow down. My children actually stop and smell the roses on our daily walks. They stop to watch a butterfly, to enjoy the taste of their Oreo and to look at pictures in their library books.

Never give up. It doesn't matter how many times my children fall down, they keep going. They don’t forget the end goal and that “a bend in the road is not the end of the road.” — Helen Keller

Children will teach us what school degrees, literature and other adults cannot. We just need to listen and observe their simple way of life. While we should not become childish, becoming childlike can bring us much joy.

"My son does not dwell on simple pain. If a bandaid covers the scar, he is forgets it is there and continues to enjoy his life."

Candace is a freelance writer, victim advocate and stay at home mom and wife.

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