Life-Changing Lessons From A Little Girl
“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is about.” Angela Schwindt
My beautiful daughter will turn ten months old in about two weeks. I can’t believe how fast the journey has gone; she is growing so fast, I want to slow it down. I can’t believe how quickly she is growing, and I know if I’m not careful, I will look up, and she will be a teenager.
As a first time parent, we all go through this baptized by fire way of learning how to raise a child. Every day is like a new lesson. It’s fun, challenging and keeps me on my toes.
The best part of the last ten months has been this slightly surprising side of parenting that I wasn’t quite expecting. Beyond the fun of learning how to raise a child, and the blessing that each new day brings is this most incredible development — she has taught me more about life than I’ve taught her.
While there are so many I can’t list them all, here are the most memorable to date:
No Days Off
I work hard because I love my work. ~ Bill Gates
Being a parent is hard work. Yes…I know I used the word work, and I don’t apologize for it.
Trying to be a good parent is hard and takes dedication, time, and commitment towards something outside of yourself.
It’s work. Work that matters more than any other job. Work that, we hope, if we do it right, becomes the most critical work of our lives.
There are no days off for parents. Sick? Get over it. Tired? Find another day. Hurting? Too bad. Mentally exhausted? You better find it from somewhere.
Cal Ripken Jr. played 2,632 consecutive baseball games before he took a day off. As a parent, this is what I want to model.
This beautiful little person needs you, and you can’t let them down. You have to show up, no matter what, and you may not have your best every day, but you have to show up.
Hint: Marry a superhero wife and align yourself with a fantastic sidekick — this becomes much easier.
“To love deeply in one direction makes us more loving in all others.” Anne-Sophie Swetchine
This little girl has taught me how to love in a more profound and meaningful way than I thought my soul was capable of doing. This new depth has strengthened the love I have for everyone in my life.
While my love for this sweet girl grows daily, as does the love for my beautiful wife and partner in raising this little princess. This lesson alone has brought something more meaningful to my life and made me a better person and soul.
The World Has More Colors
“Color is a power which directly influences the soul.” ~Wassily Kandinsky
I have a theory that true love brings more colors into our world. We experience life with more color and vibrancy when we love deeply. My wife brought colors into my world, and my daughter brought the neons and fluorescents into the scene.
Not bad for a guy who spent much of his life living in black and white.
She Inspires Me To BE
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Shortly after she was born, I knew who I wanted to become in life. It may seem like a strange thing for a 37-year-old man to say, but it’s taking me much of my life to understand so many parts of myself. I’m still learning. I will always be learning.
Seeing her in her first few days, brought clarity to my life and has inspired me to chase something in my life that I was never able to admit until she came into the world. There’s a great line in the song “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise,” “If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected. Decide what to be and go be it.”
To Be Present
“In today’s rush we all think too much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.” — Eckhart Tolle
This lesson might be the most difficult one of them all. This one is incredibly challenging. It has brought a clarity that I can’t explain.
Less phone. Less TV. Less thinking about what doesn’t matter.
It’s easier than ever before to get caught up in the busyness of life and everything that is going on in our little worlds. There are distractions in our pockets, waiting for us to pull them out and see what we are missing.
And yet we aren’t missing anything that matters more than these moments. All the emails, texts, problems at work, and the latest news can wait. Let them fade. Be present with your child in these moments and let the worries of tomorrow fade away.
To Be Better
“There is no heavier burden than an unfulfilled potential.” — Charles Schulz
To make an effort each day to get better and be better is not always easy nor successful. It’s one of the hardest things in the world to do — to actively attempt to get better at who we are each day.
With a daughter, I feel as though it’s my responsibility. I must become a little better version of myself today than I was yesterday. My little girl deserves this from me, and I owe it to her to give her the best example I can be.
Even The Bad Days Are Good
Sometimes all it takes is one smile from the right person to turn a bad day around. — Susan Gale
Life brings hard days; no matter how happy you become, it’s just part of it. But, no matter how hard the day was or is going to be, one look at that smile, and you realize, it’s not that bad.
It’s Worth It
“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
My wife and I attempted to have a child for over seven years. A lot of heartache, disappointments, and doctor visits. After each gut-wrenching disappointment came a moment that leaves you thinking you can’t keep going down this path and working through this process.
Somehow, we kept feeling like there was a reason to keep going. Then our little blessing was here, and our world hasn’t been the same, nor will it ever be again.
It was worth every second of heartache.
Being a father has meant more to me than I could’ve ever fully understood ten months ago. I knew that it was unique and that it would change me in ways I couldn’t comprehend, but to live it the past ten months has been the most incredibly rewarding thing in my life.
Each day with her is like a brand new day full of joy and blessings. Not every day is easy. Many are hard. Somedays, you think you are drawing on empty. And yet, somehow, someway, you find a way to go and show up for her.
The truth is she’s teaching me more about life than I could have ever imagined.