Lessons from a 6 year old

Lessons from a 6 year old

On the beach in 2014 (I’m slightly obsessed with his beautiful head)

Yesterday, the first nephew/grandson in our family turned 6. My nephew is one of the funniest kids I know. I’m not just saying that because I have to-he’s legit hilarious. He’s a mini adult in a child body.

He’s also the definition of strong willed. Sam was born a leader and has taught me a few things in his short 6 years on this planet.

6 Lessons I’ve learned from a Strong Willed 6-year-old:

Lesson # 1: Be a Negotiator

 

My nephew is always trying to wheel and deal, especially at meal time. The standard “If I eat (a certain number of bites), can I go?” is how he deals with eating. He’s not a big eater; he deals with sensory issues and one of those issues is food texture. He doesn’t feel the need to clean his plate, which is also a good lesson from a health standpoint. He listens to his body when it comes to food and what he prefers to eat. Some would say that he needs to listen to his parents and eat what’s provided. This would work for “normal” kids, but as a child who struggles with sensory issues, he’s learned what works for him and what doesn’t. That’s an awesome skill to have, especially at a young age.

Lesson # 2: Call people on their crap (but don’t rub it in their faces)

As his aunt, I can admire the fact that a 6 year will talk to an older kid and not be afraid. I witnessed this on a playground one day. The older kid said he could sit in the baby swing and not get stuck. My nephew proceeded to tell me, in a not so subtle whisper voice, “he’s lying, Tessie, he’s lying.” I had to give my nephew props- he was right. The kid became stuck. Did my nephew make fun of the kid? Nope. He knew not to rub it in his face.  He went about his business and knew not to believe everything you’re told.

Lesson # 3: Be a leader

My sister told me when my nephew was in preschool, he was the ring leader. She would get reports of him goofing off at lunch, telling jokes. The kids would follow him. This made me so proud!  One of my favorite quotes from Lao Tzu: “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

Lesson # 4: Question everything

My nephew is the King of Why. He needs to have a reason behind everything. He doesn’t settle until he gets an answer he can live with. To him, if it doesn’t make sense to him, why would he do it? I can respect that and my sister and her husband do a great job of explaining why certain things need to get done.

Lesson # 5: Find joy in the small things

I struggle with finding the joy in small things. I am in constant worry mode.  My nephew will get so excited over the smallest things- playing Pokémon Go, going to Target (this, I can relate to) or going to a park to play.  I get excited when he becomes excited over these small moments. I then get a twinge of sadness.  I become sad because I remember being constantly stressed out as a child due to my chaotic childhood and not enjoying the little moments. My sister and brother in law do a fantastic job of allowing my nephew to be young.

Lesson # 6: Do what works for you

My nephew likes to wear certain clothes because it works for him due to his sensory issues. He chooses comfort over everything else, like wearing socks in the sprinkler. He doesn’t care if he’s made a fashion faux pas; he’s happy and comfortable and isn’t that what life should be about?

For all these things and more, I admire my strong willed 6 year old nephew. My hope for him is to always believe in himself and be the leader he was born to be.

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