I'll be frank: Sometimes my kids surprise me with their astuteness, their candor, and their awareness. I know I am biased, but for 6 and 9, I really believe they are wise beyond their years. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a post where I talk endlessly about how awesome my kids are (although, I will do that from time to time and I am not afraid to admit it) — but it is going to be a post about how, even in our omnipotent adult lives, we can learn a lot from the simple, uncomplicated wisdom that children have to offer.
I would like to share this video with you. You can hear from Brenna – in her own words – and see how she has already picked up on the concepts of work-ethic, being a team-player, and helping people. I will also distill some of Brenna's thoughts and share some of my insights below, which I think may be valuable for you no matter what your aspirations in life might be.
This post stems from a very spontaneous, and very adult, conversation that I had with my 9 year- old the other day. I have been working from home for over a year now, and as such, my kids are often exposed to certain aspects of my job. I don't beat them over the head with it, but they have been privy to some product and business information, as well as some personal development kinds of things. They have also had an opportunity to meet several of the people that I work most closely with. And, as kids do, they ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. And, they absorb things like little sponges.
That is the first thing we can learn from our children! ASK QUESTIONS! Don't make snap judgements. Don't assume you know it all. Don't make the mistake of thinking conventional wisdom as the only wisdom there is. Although it might be annoying, kids ask questions to learn more about the world around them. They are broadening their knowledge-base and are genuinely interested in your responses. Inquiring and listening are two fine arts that we should always be working to perfect. I have yet to meet a person who really knows it all and I truly believe that acquiring new wisdoms and learning new viewpoints helps to make us better people.
Now, in Brenna's video, you will hear her make references to a 9 year-old understanding of economics. You will hear her say, "if you want to be a hobo on the street, then don't work." I would like to take that a step further and add some context to that statement. She asked me about one of my colleagues who she hasn't seen in a while and was wondering if I had worked with her that day. I replied that, no, I have not spoken with her in a while because she appears to be distracted and not focusing on her work, so I am choosing to focus my attention on those that are eager to work and are worthy of my time. In our pre-video conversation, she inquired as to why this woman would not be working and doesn't she realize that if she doesn't work, she doesn't get paid. Pretty astute and observant. She already knows that work = money and has learned from me being self-employed that the level of the work you do directly correlates to your salary. She has seen me make some sacrifices as I am building my business and is aware of the price you sometimes pay when following your dreams. In Brenna's mind, she is having a hard time comprehending why this individual is letting herself be distracted by things that aren't helpng her get to her goal. Even at 9, she understands the value of hard work and dedication.
Lesson #2 from children: don't be distracted from your ultimate goal! I have yet to meet a child that does not follow through with something that is important to them. It doesn't matter if that "object of importance" is a trip to Target, a popsicle after a soccer game, a new album downloaded onto an iPod, time to play with friends outside, or a new book for a school project — one way or another, they are going to get what is important to them. They do that in a number of ways, but the most obvious are persistence and follow through. For example, when Brenna really wanted to sign up for her afterschool sports activity, I told her that I would sign her up. That was not good enough for her. She knew what day she wanted to attend and which friends she wanted to have with her (requiring me to call/email other parents). She had also done her research: she knew that in order to get a slot on her preferred day, either her dad or I would have to stay up until midnight to register as soon as the registration was live because her preferred day was the one to sell out the quickest. Leading up to the registration, she was not to be deterred. She checked in with us regularly — even going so far as to ask us to set alarms (in case we fell asleep) and to make sure I didn't plan any business events that would interfere with the registration process. Her vision and unwavering determination netted her one thing: SUCCESS. She reached her goal and felt happy and accomplished. Kids don't feel rejection and they don't take it personally when you say "no" — they just keep on trucking. They keep on looking for the golden opportunity. We could learn a thing or two from her steadfast determination and I try to incorporate that into my business every opportunity I get.
The final thing I want to focus on is, as Brenna mentions, being a team-player and helping people. I don't think that is something that children, as the selfish little beings they are, are inherently born with. But, it CAN be taught. And, that is one of the parts of this journey with Nu Skin that I love the best. As I work on myself and become a better person, I am teaching my chidren to be better people. Children truly do learn what they live and the apple really does not fall far from the tree. The are the mirrors to the things we wish they did not see in us, so you can bet that if you are judgemental and catty, little Suzy will be too. If you are someone who takes zero responsibility for your actions, Joey will mimic that behavior. If you dole out insults and criticisms freely, Mikey will too. But on the flip side, if you are kind, generous, nurturing, and truly looking to make a difference in this world, your children will grow up ready to make their mark. Think about this as you go through your days, especially if you have tiny sets of eyes that are following your every move.
I am really happy with the way things are going now. I've learned a lot about myself and like to think I have passed some of that on to my daughters. I hope the past year and a half has taught my children that they are never stuck in a bad situation — they have the strength and the skills to make changes. I hope they know that reinvention is possible and sometimes the scariest and most uncertain path is the most rewarding. I hope they realize their unique gifts, make the best use of them, and share them with the world. I hope that, in watching me, they have learned to never let anyone silence their dreams. I hope they learn to be better listeners than they are talkers. I hope they learn to appreciate just how powerful it is to have a positive impact on even just one life. I hope they learn the valuable skills of time-management, goal-setting, and hard work. I hope they dream big, live large, love with all their hearts, and laugh unabashedly. I hope they never let anyone determine their worth for them. I hope they learn that they will always be learning — even when they think they know it all. I hope they learn to never treat anyone small — least of all themselves. I hope they learn (and practice) the Golden Rule. I hope they learn to love the journey, as imperfect as it can be sometimes. And, most importantly, I hope they will always be themselves — because they are perfect just the way they are.
Thanks for reading (and watching) and have a great day!