Monday, February 09, 2009
Posted by Dharm
When I was a child, my parents liked to take credit for everything that I knew – as if they taught me all that I know. I do not dispute the fact that I learnt a lot from my parents. I learnt everything from the importance of good manners to the correct utensils to use at formal meals. I was taught math during rides in the car and picked up early cooking tips from helping Mom in the kitchen. But I learned a lot of things, including many life lessons, on my own. I often wonder if my parents learnt anything from me when I was young.
When I became a father myself, I persevered in the belief that I would need to teach my son and daughter everything and that there was no way that I could possibly learn anything from them. How wrong I have been! Aside from the unquestionable fact that my children have taught me to be a father, a skill that I had no prior knowledge off, they have taught me so much more.
At the age of two, my son developed a fascination for animals. In an attempt to cultivate this interest, both his Mother and I bought him numerous books. Through reading to him, I have learnt of animals that I never knew existed. I have learnt of the Jerboa, Hyrax and Okapi in Africa. I have learnt of the difference between alligators and crocodiles. I have learnt about Pandas, Polar Bears, Grizzly bears and Kodiak bears. Did you know that Polar bears are only found in the Arctic and not the Antarctic? I have even learnt the difference between the African and Asian elephants. What else have I learnt? I have learned about dinosaurs – something that I had no knowledge of nor interest in before. My son has become a walking encyclopaedia on dinosaurs and I have been forced to learn just to keep up with him.
My daughter has taught me some words in Spanish. She loves the cartoon Dora the Explorer and picked up some Spanish words that she has passed on to her Mother and me. Just like dinosaurs with my son, I have been forced to keep learning Spanish words just to keep up with her. My daughter loves to read and every car ride is filled with questions of how to pronounce certain words she sees on road signs and billboards. This has taught me patience and reinforced the fact that every situation can be a learning opportunity. My daughter loves art and craft and I have learnt that I am really not such a klutz when it comes to handicraft!
I have learnt that imagination knows no boundaries and I have learnt how to use imagination not just as a toy but also as a way to broaden the kids’ minds. I have learnt the joys of just being silly together with my children and learning how to laugh at ourselves.
I have learnt that the mind of a child is like a sponge. They absorb everything they see and hear. I have learnt that children develop at a phenomenal rate and that not providing them sufficient mental stimulus is akin to not providing them enough food. I have learnt the importance of cultivating their interests and taking an active interest in it myself. By doing so I am able to learn things I never knew before. And would probably never know at all.
I have learned to ignore the age-old adage – ‘children should be seen and not heard’ – rather I encourage them to ask whatever they want and try to find an answer to their questions.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that my two children have taught me is how to appreciate the gifts and blessings that God has given us. They have taught me to be thankful for what we have. They have taught me that life is made precious by the things we often take for granted – love, laughter, health and the warmth and security of a happy home. They have taught me to leave my worries outside the front door and to come back home with a clear head and a light heart. They have taught me that the sweetest sound a father could ever hear is the sound of his children’s laughter – especially when he is the one that makes them laugh.
We have been blessed with two remarkable children – a son and a daughter. They have taught me so much in such a short time and I can’t wait for them to teach me even more.
This post was written by Dharm
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