Often times the wisest words come from a place that you’d never expect: children. For years, kids have been showing off their hilarity as seen in Kids Say the Darndest Things, a TV show aired primarily between 1998 and 2000. Parents often take the time to share stories of the silly incidents their kids get into, but often times forget to reflect on the wise things that come out of their mouths. In the past year, I have begun to notice this as I began to tutor first graders at the local literacy center*.
A child I often tutored named John was very energetic and hated taking the time to slow down and do homework. First I tried to get him to simply blaze through it, but then I realized that if he did his homework a little at a time with small breaks in between, he would finish everything much quicker. This discovery was not done by myself. Another little girl came up to me and said, “Sometimes when we take breaks while doing work we focus better.” I knew this already, but I didn’t think to apply it as I often do when I study by myself. When applied, John was much more willing to do his work and even read, which he didn’t enjoy as much as math.
Another lesson to be learned from children is how to forgive. Kids go from best friends to enemies, and back to best friends within 30 minutes. This amazes me because I wouldn’t be able to forgive as quickly as they do. When I asked a child recently he told me, “The past is the past, now is now, and they have a cool toy so I want to be friends.” This ability to quickly forgive is one of the most admirable traits in children. If teenagers and adults applied this more often, then there would be a lot less need for gossip and spiteful actions.
Other members of the Prospect shared similar stories. Josette Marsh, was speaking with her younger brother about musical instruments, and he essentially told her, “If you want to play the guitar, play the guitar.” This can be carried on to other situations with the principal, if you want to do something, just do it. We shouldn’t let fear of the unknown hold us back, even a child knows that. Another fellow intern, Zulakha Sheikh, explained that her six year old cousin showed her several times that, “Sometimes you just need to come out and say what you need to. As in, don’t be afraid to say what you need to, and don’t always feel pressured to sugar coat things.” This lesson may travel with you when you need to answer someone honestly. Kaitlyn Kelly encountered two girls approaching her old tree house who welcomed her in for tea. This moment of kindness for a stranger that the girls didn’t know helped her remember to, “Think the best of people and give them trust until there is a reason not to.” The girls also showed her, with their tea party, that being content in simply the close company of friends, and away from technology, is the best way to go. To be around loved ones is what really mattered to the girls, and for her, “Those little girls reminded me of that when I needed it the most.”
While children can be devilish and full of trickery, they are also very wise. Without them we would both miss out on humor and wisdom, so when you’re feeling irritated by a wee one, just remember that they can teach you more than you’d imagine.
*The literacy center is my community’s fancy way of saying the kindergarten-first grade school building.