26 August 2011

Kids are smart, too

{wise: adjective, having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true} 

As adults we are egotistical, especially in dealing with our children (at least I caught myself behaving this way). "I'm the mom, I've been young, I know things now, I've got a degree, etcetera, etcetera."
But really, we don't know nearly as much as we think we do, and what we do know is, at times, extremely trivial.
Not too long ago, Elle reminded me of this as we were conversing (which we do a lot of, because she very much enjoys talking). I don't remember what we were talking about, but I remember trying to explain something to her.  She looked at me with a look of conviction, interrupted my explanation, and said "Mommy, kids are smart, too."

She caught me completely off-guard. Had I been talking down to her? Had I offended her? Surely I know that she's smart. But she was right in interrupting, she was right to point out her intelligence. Kids are smart.
And they are wise. They see the truth in things that we overlook or don't want to see.  They see that we are faulty, that we get worried over silly things like schedules, chores, bills, and that we don't stop often enough to enjoy life.  When they ask us to do things, like look at a picture they drew, or to smell the flower they picked, it is a reminder of their wisdom that simple things are important--and essential--to life.
Kids have the wisdom of aged people. By wisdom, I'm not referring to experience, but intuition and priority of what's important.  When we look back upon our lives, we won't reflect on the knowledge we have about British literature, chemistry, taxes, or home-maintenance. We'll reflect on our experiences of joy and pleasure, on the moments that define memories and feelings.  We'll remember baking cookies with our children, walking hand-in-hand with our spouses, and the time we shared with our families. 
 All the running around and worrying we do will be looked at as time wasted. Kids are smart enough to know this.  And I'm so glad that Ellie shared this wisdom with me. 
I try to slow down more now, to stop and notice things, to make time for little moments with her and my husband, moments that mean so much more to me than getting my homework done or grocery shopping. 
Lessons come to us from many places, but motherhood has shown me that the most important ones often come from the little people we are supposed to be teaching.  Instead, they often teach us.

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