In all situations ask: what would a toddler do?

Archive for the ‘all by myself’ Category

Whistle while you work

I’m sure you’ve noticed that adults don’t like to work so much. People thank God for Fridays and dread Mondays. When the weekend rolls around everyone runs to freedom with the hope of never having to step back into the office again. Lottery tickets are bought with the dream of achieving this very purpose. Even for a one-in-a-billion chance of winning, the few dollars are worth it if it means never going back to work.

While this sounds normal for the adult world, it is entirely foreign in the toddler world.

Nothing makes toddlers happier than working. Clean up time is a song, pre-school is a pleasure and helping out in any way is an absolute dream come true.

When adults have to go grocery shopping or make a trip to the bank, it is a necessary errand. When toddlers hear of such an outing they ask, “can I come?”

Recently Maayan has accompanied me on various errands – and she is so happy to do it. When I ask her to come grocery shopping she lights up. When I say, “let’s go to the bank” she jumps with excitement into the car. Anytime I do anything, she is filled with joy and gratitude to come with me.

Now imagine that I’d ask an adult to come grocery shopping with me. Imagine I’d ask an adult, “hey, do you want to come to the bank with me?” They’d think I’m crazy and start running in the opposite direction. Very, very fast.

But not toddlers. It’s pure joy and totally fun. No task is a burden and no errand annoying. Everything is enjoyed & appreciated. Fridays are as fun as Mondays and weekends are as great as everyday of the week.

Toddlers seem to live the life that adults really want to. They enjoy their work and love their activities.

The secret is to live like a toddler: with open eyes of gratitude and wonder for every activity that you can do.

Life lesson of a toddler #31: Be grateful for your work and appreciate the wonder in being active and productive.

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All by myself

I’ve noticed lately (or maybe for a while!) how often Maayan says that she wants to do things by herself.

Opening the door, pressing the elevator button, getting in the car, opening the milk, the orange juice, the mail, clicking the “call” button on Skype, taking in the groceries, sweeping the floor, doing the dishes, talking on the phone, writing a note, throwing a ball, doing yoga, turning the key, pouring the water, getting the cup and shovelling the snow.

I can’t speak for other parents, but personally I feel how tremendous this is. A 4-year-old wants to do things by herself, as difficult as it may be.

Many things are not easy for a toddler to do. Pouring water or milk is a little heavy, the car is big, the door is big, the sink is high, the keyhole is small, the snow is heavy and the broom is too big. Despite all the challenge and difficulty in a 4-year-old doing these things, Maayan has a drive to just do it.

Independence is a tough thing for a parent to give, but a crucial and essential thing for a toddler to receive. They must do things by themselves. They must grow, they must learn, they must become the “I” word: Independent.

Adults seem to have it backwards though. Adults see success as when everyone is doing things for them. Having an assistant to make them coffee, a personal driver to drive them places, hired help for the kitchen and laundry.

Why do adults want others to do things for them while toddlers want to do things all by themselves?

Adults would benefit a lot from getting out of the “adult” mindset and stepping into a fresh and clean toddler mindset. Not to rely or depend on others to get things done, but to do it yourself. Not to ask your assistant to make you a cup of coffee, but to get up and make it yourself. Not to wait for the world to serve you. Instead, you serve the world.

As soon as adults start seeing success in serving others and stop seeing it as others serve them, we’ll be living life on a whole new level.  We’ll stop being people who wait and complain, who whine and don’t shine. We’ll start to be doers, movers, thinkers, innovators and creators. Yes, we’ll be like toddlers.

Life lesson of a toddler #28: Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Do it all by yourself.