As parents we’re required to do a lot of things: comfort, heal, love, protect, provide, and teach. And along with each of these parental responsibilities, our hearts are called to do the same for our partner, friends, extended family, and ourselves.
But that last part gets a little tricky sometimes. We’re often so busy doing for others that we forget to do these things for ourselves.
As hard as I try to teach my children the necessary lessons for responsible living, they are the ones who continually provide me with the simple life lessons so easily forgotten.
Learn from your kids and make time for happiness 1 of 26
Take a look at 25 things that we as grown-ups need to make time for again. I promise, we'll be happier for them!
Create something 2 of 26
"It is better to create than to learn! Creating is the essence of life." ~Julius Caesar
Long before kids grow into adults who will doubt and criticize their personal abilities, they take tremendous pride in creating beauty with their own two hands. Let's get back to creating in the mediums that bring us joy, whether through words, music, art, poetry, dance, design, and beyond — we were each designed to create beauty.
Throw a pity party 3 of 26
"Every man supposes himself not to be fully understood or appreciated." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
You're thinking, "A pity party? What?" Hear me out. Kids throw themselves the most ridiculous (and annoying) pity parties ever, but once they've allowed themselves to feel all the sads, they're over it and ready to move on as if the whole thing never happened. As parents we try so hard to shelter our families from our sadness, when all it usually does is backfire in the end. What do you say we just throw ourselves a pity party, push through the pain, and move on?
Really sing 4 of 26
"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." ~Lou Holtz
There's singing and then there's singing. Kids sing with their whole heart as if no one is listening, pouring their soul into every last butchered lyric with unabashed conviction. Now it's our turn.
Listen 5 of 26
"Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk." ~Carl Jung
We expect our kids to listen, but how often to do we really listen? We're so caught up with the next big thing that we rarely take the time to listen to our kids, spouse, friends, parents, or even grandparents. Wisdom and inspiration come from a variety of places; when we listen, we learn.
Experience wonder 6 of 26
"If you enjoy living, it is not difficult to keep the sense of wonder." ~Ray Bradbury
What is it about adulthood that causes us to stop appreciating the simple pleasures in life? Oh, right, we're moving too fast. Let's take a page out of our kids' book and begin to recognize the joy in simple wonders. Blow bubbles, ride a bike, take a hike, fly a kite - anything that makes your heart feel free and your spirit feel full.
Go for ice cream 7 of 26
"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate" ~Thorton Wilder
Kids don't need an excuse to enjoy ice cream, nor do they feel the need to justify calories. Treat yourself to ice cream any time you want to. You're a grown up, you earned this.
Be daring 8 of 26
"We must dare, and dare again, and go on daring." ~Georges Jacques Danton
Kids have no problem testing their limits and it's through these experiences that they grow to develop a heightened sense of self. If you (like I) can't remember the last time you tested your limits of bravery, perhaps it's time to remind yourself what you're really made of.
Snuggle 9 of 26
"My days, if they start in the morning with a cuddle from my son, are just so much more glorious than they were prior to that." ~Russell Crowe
There will always be laundry to fold, dishes to wash, and trash to take out, but your kids won't be cuddling size forever. Take advantage of every opportunity to hug, snuggle, cuddle, and love on your kids — as much for them as for you!
Go on a picnic 10 of 26
"Nothing's better than a picnic." ~Zooey Deschanel
A blanket, fresh air, packed nummies, and good company are all it takes to turn a regular afternoon into a true delight.
Search for seashells 11 of 26
"I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." ~Isaac Newton
There's nothing quite like the ocean to make you feel small. Feel like a kid again and celebrate the many wonders of the ocean while making priceless memories.
Eat like you mean it 12 of 26
"Food is for eating, and good food is to be enjoyed... I think food is, actually, very beautiful in itself." ~Delia Smith
Some of us eat to live, while others live to eat. Food is a life pleasure that deserves to be enjoyed. Fill your body with healthy and delicious food but never forget dessert. Life is short!
Use your imagination 13 of 26
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." ~Albert Einstein
Kids exercise their imaginations effortlessly, while we as adults have been known to struggle with ours. Like anything, imagination takes practice. Won't you join me in daring to dream? Imagine how fun it would be to somehow make the impossible possible!
Make a wish 14 of 26
"There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality." ~Jonas Salk
My kids make wishes on dandelions, shooting stars, coins in a fountain, and found pennies. They don't do it because they know their wish will come true, they do it because it makes them feel hopeful. So go on, make a wish. Be hopeful. Stay positive. And keep wishing.
Try new things 15 of 26
"You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That's how you know you're still alive." ~Jerry Seinfeld
Indeed, life is full of hard decisions and difficult circumstances, but are we challenging ourselves to grow, do better, or be more? Our kids do, all the time, without so much as a second thought. Perhaps it's time we take baby steps toward personal development — we never know where it might take us! Remember, we can do hard things!
Create a haven 16 of 26
"The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don't have." ~Woody Allen
When we were kids, a personal haven was as close as a pile of blankets transformed by our imagination. Today we need to work a little harder to carve out that sacred personal corner where we can go to unwind, regroup, and feel grounded, but it's worth it!
Dress up 17 of 26
"All men who have achieved great things have been great dreamers." ~Orison Swett Marden
Remember how fun it was to dress up just because? The idea of pretending to be someone else made us feel like we could do or be anything! Get that feeling back and dress up just because. Whether you're thinking sexy, strong, smart, fierce, or a combination thereof, there's tremendous power in dressing a new part with confidence.
Bake something 18 of 26
"Happiness is homemade." ~Unknown
For some of us, the kitchen is a dreaded place where rushed dinners are prepared and school lunches are made, but if we relax and allow it, our kitchen can become a space for creating sweet family memories. Bake up precious memories that warm your heart and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Be heard 19 of 26
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak." ~Audre Lorde
If there's one thing kids are good at, it's being heard. It's time to speak your truth. Remember: you don't need an invitation to be heard!
Take baths 20 of 26
"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them." ~Sylvia Plath
Few of us have the time to make luxurious bathing a priority, but imagine how refreshed and relaxed we would feel if we did. Our kids take baths seriously, maybe we should too!
Read a good book 21 of 26
"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." ~Maya Angelou
So many of us think reading is a luxury that we don't have time for, but if we let go of social media and turn off the TV, we give ourselves the opportunity to expand our minds and serve as a positive example for our kids.
Play in the snow 22 of 26
"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship." ~Markus Zusak
For all the hassle that snow can bring, there's nothing quite like its ability to create a soft place to land. Take the time to enjoy snow the way you used to — the way your kids do!
Believe in something 23 of 26
"There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing." ~Maya Angelou
It was so easy to believe in the unseen as a child, even when we had little more to go on than a hunch and the desire to believe. Unfortunately for many of us, experience and cynicism has tested our faith. When we take the time to listen to our heart, we begin to remember that there's so much left to believe in.
Ride a carousel 24 of 26
"Riding a carousel is an event that often involves not only a family but multiple generations. It is one of the few things we do together; often families don't even eat or watch TV in the same room. The wind in your hair, the thrill of the first ride, the euphoria created by twirling in circles, the challenge of grabbing the brass ring, the appreciation of the carving and the artistry all are factors." ~Bette Largent
Who says carousels are just for kids? Since the mid-16th century, merry-go-rounds have been making folks feel young again with their beautifully decorated horses and festive circus music. So hop on and enjoy the ride; nostalgia and merriment have an amazing way of brightening your day.
Play games 25 of 26
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." ~George Bernard Shaw
Playing is a vehicle for learning, not to mention an ever-present opportunity for fun. So go play and leave the guilt behind!
Be a hero 26 of 26
"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." ~Joseph Campbell
Parents may be everyday heroes, but so often we fail to recognize the power within our role. Pat yourself on the back for being everything your children aspire to become. Because of you, anything is possible!