Whenever I see toddlers with a parent, I get this overwhelming feeling of joy, and I am quickly reminded of what a gift it is to be a parent.
I have a three-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. Some of my fondest moments are when my son or daughter will take my hand and lead me off to a different location in the house to show me some artwork they created or the new space where their dolls should live, taking over once again another room in the house. Or they’ll show me some new thing they have discovered, something that begs the response from me, “this is Dad’s, so please do not destroy.”
It is thrilling to watch them develop, and as they learn, I learn from them, in turn. The lessons they teach me arrive on a daily basis, moment to moment and often not in words, but in their mannerisms and interactions. I thought I would share some of these stories with you over the coming weeks. They are sometimes humorous, other times cringe-inducing, but always enlightening. Enjoy!
They are teaching me how to negotiate.
As a trained Attorney, one would think I should have some level of proficiency as a negotiator, but I have experienced with my interactions with my toddlers that my skills need some work. They quickly learned that, in any situation, the best outcome for them is a “win, win” and that can be done through the skillful art of negotiating. For instance:
Me: Put the plastic Tupperware away, as these are not toys.
Them: Fine, but only if we get some ice cream.
Me: No, you had ice cream yesterday.
Them: Okay, but we each still get just two bits of ice cream.
Me: Okay, fine.
Again, they are skilled in the win, win approach. They win with some ice cream, and I win with the kitchen floor being clean for about an hour or two. Then, once the ice cream win has worn off, it is back to the Tupperware party in the kitchen.
For them, they come full circle back to their respective “win, win.” My “win, win” is to then pretend I do not see the Tupperware, because in the big picture, they are safe, since not much harm can come from playing with plastic Tupperware.
If, like me, you look for and appreciate the lessons we can learn from everyday life, I’d like to recommend my book, Thank You! With Deepest Gratitude. In it, I share many more stories and observations from my ongoing search for a life of gratitude.