Children can help adults in so many ways, and many times they unknowingly do so. A person does not have to be a parent to have a kid make them a better person. I constantly see how little ones help teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and others by being a guiding force of all that can be good in life.
I think the vast majority of the population acts better when they are around kids. Foul language gets curbed and tempers are typically toned down when in the presence of youngsters. There is also a drive for many adults to set good examples for children so that they can be adequate role models,
My friend told me a story a few weeks ago about how her sons drove her to an act of kindness towards a stranger. This deed occurred in the middle of summer, on a blistering hot day when temperatures were well beyond the 100 degree mark. My gal pal was driving with her mom and two young boys, and they happened to go by a man with a sign asking for help. Everyone in the vehicle observed the guy begging for assistance, and my friend’s oldest son wondered aloud who he was and questioned why he was standing out in the heat.
My friend felt bad for the man, but being with her sons at that moment is what really made her take the opportunity to assist. She took a slight detour to purchase something to drink, and then circled back to where the man with the sign was located and handed him some cash and bottled water. Her sons witnessed the whole exchange from a safe distance with their grandmother.
After helping the man, my friend got back in her SUV and had a great dialogue with her kiddos about how not everyone is as fortunate as their family and that helping others is important. This story happened awhile ago, but my friend said it has stuck with her because if it had not been for the presence of her kids in the vehicle, she is not sure she would have taken the time to help. When we are alone and going about our day, it is hard to hit the pause button in these types of situations. My friend gave her kids a lot of credit as being the driving force that made her stop and offer assistance. She also remembers the horrible heat of the day, and how miserable and desperate the stranger had to be feeling in order to be standing in the sun on a busy street asking for help. Doing the right thing, showing compassion, and discussing it as a family are wonderful things and made for a great life lesson that day. Well done friend!
In Festive Ways
Another way children help us is when it comes to celebrating the holidays. My daughters and son make Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and every other festive event on the calendar more fun. This is good for me, because I am not big on holiday decorating and can get pretty bah-hum-bug when it comes to the huge planning efforts and clean-up that revolves around any sort of festive celebration.
My kids make holidays special, even the small ones like St. Patrick’s Day or Memorial Day. March is a bleak month weather wise, therefore having a leprechaun come play pranks at our house on March 17th puts a smile on my face. My kiddos enjoy seeing what trouble the little green guy has brought and they talk about this family tradition every year and for months following. I typically toilet paper our kitchen or add green food coloring to the toilet, and one year I cut up four-leaf clovers and scattered them all over our basement. It was a mess and somewhat time consuming, but I loved it because I knew it would get laughs. There is nothing better than genuine giggles from children.
Prior to my kids, Memorial Day was just a typical Monday off of work and enjoyment of an extended weekend. Now that I am older (and hopefully wiser) my husband and I take the time to make sure our youngsters understand that Memorial Day is about remembering fallen soldiers. Patriotism is important, and we try to go back to my hometown for their church service at the cemetery where a band plays and many USA flags are on display. My daughters ask lots of questions about the day and it is good for me and my husband to be held accountable for explaining to them why we celebrate Memorial Day and what it means to many people.
I have talked before about my “mom thing” of healthy eating in past posts. My focus on nutrition stemmed from having kids and wanting them to get good foods on a daily basis. If I expected them to eat fruits and veggies, then I better have them on my plate as well. I also got a lot more physically active when I became a mother. Having kids got me outdoors, running long distances, and joining a gym via a family membership.
I want to be around until my babies are senior citizens, so I need to take care of myself. Hopefully by example some of my better health habits will trickle down to my kiddos and teach them the importance of good nutrition and exercise.
My children also help others in their quest to be healthy. My brother-in-law visits the gym frequently and my folks have always been great when it comes to portion control with meals, getting check-ups at the doctor, and being physically active. I think the fact that they want to be able to keep up with my children is good motivation.
I see this type of activity and diligence in other families as well. My older brother and sister-in-law hit the fitness center in the winter and are outdoors consistently with my niece and nephew during the Spring, Summer and Fall. In my neighborhood I have “mom friends” that I can call whenever to go on evening walks that can last 3-5 miles at a really good pace. We get to chat, while also taking care of ourselves.
My husband has many co-workers and buddies that push him and me in a positive way to try new work-outs, enter fun runs, and even tackle triathlon events. I once did a mud run that left me a total mess, but my daughters talked about it for weeks on end. My husband’s first triathlon had my oldest so excited she could barely sleep the night before it. The best part of these races is seeing the kids cheering from the sidelines and holding up posters in support. Without the kiddos, it would be nowhere near as memorable or gratifying.
Kids are so helpful, even when they are trying our patience and testing limits. So take the time to be thankful for all the ways they contribute to making us better adults. How do kids help you? Let Family Footnote know by leaving a comment or sending an email to email@example.com.