You know, I think that we adults have got it all wrong. The best advice doesn’t come from social media superstars, successful CEOs or the Hollywood elite. Lean in, lean out, be a queen…um, can I just have a nap now? That’s right, an actual nap – just like my two little kids, who might actually be the wisest people I know. They are the ones who give me the very best life advice, usually while they are going about their daily kid-business of gobbling food and playing.
Children just know how to live their lives right. They know what’s important. If I ask my three-year-old daughter, Emmy, what she loves, she’ll say, “My mummy, daddy, baby brother, my best friends and Strawberry Shortcake.” See? Family, friends and Netflix. All the good stuff.
Even though they can’t drive or even wipe their own bums, my children give the most incredible, hilarious advice. Here are some sage teachings from the Gurus of Cuteness, otherwise known as Emmy and Will.
1. “If you eat something, you’ll feel better.”
Afternoon tea is one of our favourite family times, because it gives us a chance to refuel and reconnect. And, truthfully, it wards off a severe case of the five o’clock grizzlies. Because how can you be grumpy if you have some yummy food in your tummy?
If Emmy notices that I am stressed or cranky, she’ll tell me to have a snack, because “if you eat something, you’ll feel better!”. Actually, she’s just parroting what I tell her, so perhaps I’m the guru here! Sometimes, kids can be hungry without realising it, and will start acting out. And so, if you shove a healthy snack into their hands (and, consequently, their mouths), you’ll have them back on track in no time. And now, I take a similar approach to my own appetite. No dieting or weird stuff – if I’m hungry, I’ll eat. Full tummy, full life, right? (I made that up. As I said, it takes a guru to make a guru.)
2. ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ is all you need.
Simplifying our responses can simplify our lives. Personally, I loathe those Facebook event RSVP buttons: interested, going, not going, maybe. They make my head spin. Um, what about just ‘yes’ or ‘no’? My one-year-old son, Will, has taught me that a simple yay or nay will suffice. A defiant shake of his head when offered tinned tuna, compared to enthusiastic nodding when we show him a strawberry, is all the communication we need at afternoon tea time. If he said, “interested” or “maybe”, I would probably go crazy and end up blending the tuna and strawberries together into a bizarre smoothie. And NOBODY wants that, because that’s disgusting.
3. “When we fall, we get back up again.”
Part of being a kid is running faster than your legs can carry you – and then having the scrapes on your knees to prove it. My daughter has the best philosophy about this: “When we fall, we get back up again”. One of her preschool teachers taught her these insightful words. And it’s an important lesson for life, too – that whatever knocks us down or sets us back, we should always pull ourselves to our feet and get on with it.
4. Know where you’re going, and lead the way.
A very cute baby phase that I love is the ‘pointing phase’. At the moment, when I carry Will, he will point in the direction he wants to go, and we will take him there. He knows what he wants, and is direct in communicating what and where it is. So often, we adults can be so concerned about offending each other that we end up saying nothing of meaning, and causing more confusion. Let’s all do each other a favour and make it clear what we want, and when we want it.
5. “Some people do, some people don’t.”
I am always bursting with questions for Emmy about her preschool, and the friends she’s made there. Recently, she told me that her friends want to play with the soft toy hedgehog she brings to preschool, but she doesn’t want to share with them. “Do the other kids bring toys to school?” I asked her. Emmy’s reply was this: “Some people do, some people don’t.”
This is something that she says quite often, whether it’s about owning a pet or joining in with a game of tip. What I love about that phrase is that it shows her awareness of diversity – that not everyone is the same, which is both normal and fabulous. As my children are mixed race (half Chinese, half white Australian), the recognition of diversity is something very important within our family, and I’m proud that my daughter already understands it.
What wise, hilarious pieces of advice have your kids given to you?
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