Eight Things I Learned from My Niece

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Kids teach us more than we think they do, and my eight-year old niece is no exception.  Ever since she came to live with us , I learned a lot of new things, but for this post I will just write about eight of them.

1: I learned from my niece that it is perfectly fine to express affection. My niece like most kids has no problem asking you for a hug, or giving you a hug when she is happy about something. In fact she would even demand that you give her a good night kiss. If you think about it, this is one trait we lose as adults. As we grow older, we forget to ask for affection. In fact, we learn to let our pride and ego take over and we refrain from asking for a hug even if we need it.

2: I learned that it is ok to cry. Kids cry all the time and no one tells them to stop. It is only in our adult life that we learn that crying is a sign of weakness when in fact it is perfectly fine to cry. In fact, crying has a cleansing effect.

3: I learned that simple activities can be fun. My niece can sit and color for hours, and it is only recently that I learned that coloring is a perfect pass-time for anyone even adults.

4: I learned that imagination has no boundaries. My niece can sit and invent things using glue, paint, and paper. Her inventions include, magic potions, sticks that can talk, and even an imaginary corporation that has the mission to safe animals. As we grow older, reality takes over and we limit ourselves to only those things we think we can do. The truth is we leave little room for trial and error, and we refrain from proposing things just so we don’t sound silly. Kids have no problem doing that, they say it and they don’t care.

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5: I learned from my niece to say things as they are. Kids are very honest, they ask openly about what they don’t know. They say what they think, and they tell you exactly how they feel. We as adults stop doing that because we believe we should e diplomatic, in fact in our pursuit not to hurt others with our words we only hurt ourselves.   In our pursuit to not sound silly, we prefer to pretend to know about something instead of asking others about it. If we are in public and we are not feeling well, we wouldn’t say so. We wouldn’t want to ruin the other people’s mood even if we ruin our own.

6: I learned from my niece not to hold a grudge. Kids are better than adults at this one. Two friends would argue about something,  then one friend would apologize and the other friend would accept the apology and life would go on. We adults hold grudges. We refuse to apologize, and we prefer to ruin solid friendships just so we look good. Again, this is another situation where we work too hard to feed the ego at the expense of our own well being.

7: I learned from my niece to feel for sick animals, lost children, kids in need, poor people, and beggars on the street. I learned that it is ok to cry over a dead pet because my niece would cry at about any of these things, while we adults learn that this is life and we should only look out for ourselves.

8: Finally, I learned from my niece that it is perfectly fine to be yourself, and to embrace those weird traits that make you the unique person you are. As adults, we are conditioned to lose this childhood innocence and instead to conform to what society wants us to be. For example, my niece sings at the top of her lungs  with any theme song for any program she likes. As adults we only do that when we are alone.

So maybe we should be more like kids, because in some aspects, kids have life more figured out than we do.

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