What Your Children Will Teach You

By Guest Blogger Signe Whitson

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

–Buddhist proverb

As a mom, I am always on the lookout for teachable moments.  I’m sure my kids will moan and groan in their teenage years about how “everything with Mom has to be a ‘thing’” but I can’t help myself; I’m a processor and I like to think that helping my kids think through everyday events will fortify them with valuable life lessons.

what i learned from my children

Over the years, I do believe I have taught my children some great lessons about such things as the importance of kindness, our responsibility to protect the Earth, and the power of love.  What is more profound, however, are the lessons my children have taught ME.  Far beyond anything I have learned in high school, college, graduate school, or any of my experiences in between, my children have taught me lessons about how to really live.

Notice Everything

I love to go on walks with my family.  We walk in our neighborhood, at local parks, and along a path nestled between an old shipping canal and a lake.  When I think about a walk, my mind usually goes right to my destination; where does the path lead to and where does it end?

Some of the finest lessons my teacher-children have taught me is to put aside the destination, and focus on the journey.  My kids have taken my black and white world and splashed so much color into it, that it’s like I’m seeing with new eyes.  Furry animals, colorful flowers, teeny bugs, pretty leaves, you name it, my kids see it (and pick it up, and name it, and want to keep it).  They remind me to slow down and notice the world, rather than just walk right through it.  I love that about them!

stop and smell the flowers

Listen Quietly

I am a licensed clinical therapist, professionally trained to help people with their problems.  What I never mastered in school or in practice, but have learned by being a student of my own children, is to listen.  Because of my children, I finally realize that it is better, more selfless, and so much more helpful to put a lid on my own speech, and just purely listen to others.  I wish I had always known that.  What a gift to give—allowing others to feel heard and understood.

Savor Moments

If I had to sum it all up, these would be the two words I’d use.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am “efficient.”  I multi-task with the best of ‘em and manage to accomplish a lot in a day.  (In other words, I am a Mom.)

But what my children have taught me is that it is better to be a human being than a human doing.  When we walk together or spend an extra 20 minutes before bed laughing and playing, we enjoy our finest moments.  My lists, errands, tasks, and must-do’s will always be there, but my children are only young once—and for too short a time. How often we can forget.

spending time with your kids

Kids can be our greatest teachers.  When I am ready, mine are always there to show me what I really need to know in life. And for that, I am thankful.



Signe Whitson is a licensed social worker and author of The Angry Smile: The Psychology of Passive Aggressive Behavior in Families, Schools, and Workplaces, 2nd, ed.  Check out her Blog online! Many of her stories are also shared on My Baby Clothes Boutique.

Tell us, what life lessons have your children taught YOU?


  1. But what my children have taught me is that it is better to be a human being than a human doing — this totally impacted me. It’s so true. Thank you for such a nice post.

  2. My kids have taught me to be accepting of everyone. My son plays with everyone and isn’the clicky. Tolerance is a wonderful life lesson.

  3. Beautiful post! To notice the beauty of your surroundings is an invaluable reminder. I find that I forget to do this throughout my fast paced day-to-day life. I miss so much. I recently went on a trip to the mountains with my children. I had so many little adventures planned. My favorite moments were the quiet ones….Picking wild flowers and finding monarch butterfly eggs on the bottom of milkweed leaves….Ahhh, Simplicity!

    Zippy Chix 3

  4. I really enjoyed this one:)
    So so true! Every day of my life since their birth my kids have taught me and continue to teach me something. What a gift!

  5. I totally enjoyed reading this article. It is so true our children do teach us a lot and we do have to enjoy those moments because they grow to fast.Thank you very much for this post . I will pass it on

  6. What’s posted here are very important truthes – and I would only add one thing… listening to the voice of others is not only a gift to them, but also a gift to ourselves. For, I believe that we learn ourselves better by learning others. And also, I have found that as I move through life I have learned not only to listen to others, but if I’m really really quiet and still, I can also listen to myself – my own voice, that is almost always trying to tell me something important.
    I hope you are well Signe – very nice thoughts and sentiment.

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