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Kids teach us what we need to know

By STEPHANIE ZUBIRI, The Philippine STAR Published May 14, 2023 5:00 am

Motherhood is such a big responsibility. Something that can be daunting at first, especially for first-time moms who worry every second and rush to the crib to listen if their child is still breathing at night or have their pediatrician on speed dial for each little cough or sniffle. As they get older, we realize that we have an even bigger responsibility: we are responsible for raising good humans. We do everything we can to teach them life skills and values, how to be kind and to live in society. We try to teach them, plain and simple, how to be good people.

However, children are also our greatest teachers. I have learned so much from both my boys because their sense of innocence and innate goodness is so palpable and special, no self-help book could ever teach me the lessons they have taught me.

One of the things I love about Seb and Max is their abundant optimism. Very often Max will ask me an adorable and out-of-this-world question like, “Mama, can dinosaurs be brought back to life from DNA like in Jurassic Park?” And I will answer, “Probably not.” To which he would reply: “But it’s possible, right? Like if science improves, there is still a chance it could happen?” And his brother Seb will say, “Yes! Even if it’s only a one percent chance, that’s still a chance!”

This reminds me that, yes, anything is possible! That in life, we always need to look at things positively and never limit ourselves. Our ancestors never thought we could fly and yet here we are with airplanes and jets. My children teach me that we are our own limits and the potential is boundless if only we can believe it.

Author with kids Seb (9) and Max (7)

Children are born with fresh eyes and an open heart. They carry no judgment or prejudice. They are inherently accepting of everyone and everything. It’s we adults and society that cascade down concepts and ideas to them. They only always see the good in the world until we point out the bad. I love how my boys move and connect so freely in this world. Their idea of family is a home full of love — they have friends that have only one mother, two fathers, two mothers, just grandparents, or a mix of everything in between. No judgment, just acceptance. Their norm is love.

Seb and Max have taught me to forgive and release. No matter how often the two boys fight they will make up immediately and forgive with no grudges. If I perhaps had a hard day and have been short with them, as soon as I apologize, they never hold it against me or bring it up again. Sometimes they’ll have an argument with a friend and the Mama Bear in me will be so angry at that kid for making my son feel bad, but Sebastian will tell me, “It’s okay, Mama, he’s still my friend. Maybe he had a bad day. He already said sorry. I still want to be his friend.” They move through life with a never-ending flow of good energy and don’t hold on to the bad stuff like anger and resentment.

Among the greatest lessons they have taught me is that everything is energy. Children are highly intuitive, something us grown-ups have forgotten by using our heads more than our hearts. They absorb energy and emotion and feel stressed when I’m stressed, or worried if I’m worried. Consequently, they gravitate to wherever there is an abundance of love, joy and peace. This is a constant reminder to me to continuously cultivate light. To always choose the higher path because the energy we hold flows outward to the people around us.

The greatest lesson I learned from my kids is to how to truly appreciate the good and bad in every situation. We’re all dealt different cards, but our kids are constant reminders that we just have to keep going.

Lastly, it’s unconditional love. To love wholly and unconditionally. It seems like such a natural thing to love your children this way, but I’ve also learned to apply this to everyone in my life and most especially, myself. To accept people for who they are and love them as is and not try to change them. Children love in this way. They don’t have this narcissistic ego idea that they can “change” someone. They just love. And they love themselves unconditionally as well and practice so much self-compassion. It’s something I personally struggle with but have truly learned to embrace by following their example.

“Children are our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons,” says human potential speaker Bryant McGill.

Here are a few other outstanding and inspiring women who share the wisdom their children have taught them.

Marga Nograles
Mateo (15), Massi (12), Nikka (10) with their dad Carlo Nograles

“The greatest lesson I learned from my children is that they need me. They need me to be there for them, to listen to them, to pick them up, to bring them to dance, to soccer… and to really just spend time with them. So now that I’m busier than ever I really make it a point to find time in my day to spend time with my children. This is a top priority now more than ever, because as I would always say, I am first and foremost a wife to my husband and a mother to my children.”

Camille Co-Koro
Sienna (age 2)

“That there really is no greater gift than the gift of being present — of being in the moment. We seem to forget this because of how busy life can get.”

Sara Black
Feliz (age 2)

“So many beautiful lessons! Top of mind is reasonless joy. Just constantly watching her in this state of excitement and it’s contagious. Second is how to hold myself unconditionally in a state of lightness. Children are so perceptive of energy and they really feel what you’re feeling. So making sure that I’m always keeping myself in an elevated state. Lastly, how to let go easily and forgive unconditionally. I witness Feliz getting so angry about something and she’ll throw a fit and then later she’ll completely forget about it. It’s such a reminder to let things go and not hold on to the heavy stuff.”

Karen Davila
David (21) and Lucas (15)

Every day my children teach me to be the best version of myself. David, my older son in the autism spectrum, has not only taught me what unconditional love is, but what purity of heart is as well. Lucas, on the other hand, has taught me thoughtful instruction. Both my kids have taught me to be more patient, gentle, encouraging. With them, I know the words I say can make or break them, so I take to heart that I speak life. I am not the typical mother, but I have become a more committed, devoted and relentless one because of them.”

Bianca Gonzalez Intal
Carmen (4) and Lucia (7)

“Too many, to be honest, but here are a few big ones: first, what it truly means to love. I thought I knew what true love was, till I had kids and had the honor of really living what love is. Another is that we are all born incredibly creative and curious, and as we grow older that gets stripped away. When did we get so conscious of what others think, and when did we get scared or shy to ask questions? They inspire me to tap into childlike creativity and curiosity.”

Mikaela Lagdameo
Noelle (19), Tyler (14) and Maxen (6)

“The greatest lesson I learned from my kids is to how to truly appreciate the good and bad in every situation. We’re all dealt different cards, but our kids are constant reminders that we just have to keep going. Just like a child, we have to feel every emotion, express it, then let it pass. It allows us to live more authentically and it does lift a heavy weight off our shoulders. You then realize that you have nothing to prove, because in the end, they will always love you.”