Your dinner table is covered in textbooks and papers… pencils are hiding under folders… and you can just make out a calculator or two buried under some barely legible scribbled notes. But none of it belongs to your children.
Homework time isn’t just for kids anymore.
Where you once quizzed your son in preparation for his spelling test, he’s now quizzing you for your World Geography final exam. Just as you used to listen to your daughter read aloud in the other room while you secretly listened from the kitchen sink, she’s now offering pointers on how to be a more effective public speaker for your video assignments. Or maybe you’ve noticed that your pre-teen excels on a test when he or she gets a full night sleep the day before.
Whether your kid is six or 36, there’s a lot you can learn from them about going back to school, reaching a milestone and succeeding.
They get rest.
Children hate naps, and they will huff and puff before finally falling asleep. Without much needed rest, a tantrum isn’t far behind. However, when they wake up from the sleep they so vehemently refused, they are instead refreshed and energetic. Sound familiar? Like most adults, you probably don’t get enough sleep. But by ensuring you get a full night’s rest, you too can wake up ready and recharged to tackle the day (and that final exam) ahead.
They stay creative.
You know how they can turn almost anything into an art project? Dried pasta becomes a macaroni necklace, and your kitchen wall becomes a finger paint project (whether you knew about it or not…). They see the possibilities in even the most mundane things. You too can take a step back and think outside the box. By pausing and rethinking your options, there’s no doubt you can produce a masterpiece your creative writing mentor will love.
No matter the circumstances, a child’s confidence speaks volumes. Nothing can break their spirit, and as adults, we can’t help but admire that. They can’t ride a two-wheeler? No problem! They’ll climb on anyway and in a couple hours (and a few scraped knees), they’ve accomplished what they set out to do. Consider your own confidence. Worried about how hard a course may be? Why not challenge yourself? The results may surprise (and delight) you.
They ask for help.
When they were two, they needed help getting dressed. When they were 10, they needed help with homework. They were never afraid to ask for your help, so why should you be afraid to do the same? There are some things in life that can’t be tackled alone; we all need a little help along the way. So if you are confused by an assignment, or your group project seems to rest squarely on your shoulders, send that email or make that phone call to ensure your education is on the right track.
They never stop learning.
Childhood is filled with triumphs, achievements and small victories. Whenever they learn a new skill or lesson, it’s a celebration of their development. Learning is crucial in childhood, and it should never stop in adulthood. Learning is a never-ending cycle, and should be treated as such. By continuing to pursue subjects passionate to you, life becomes an interesting lesson every day, and your memory will get a boost too.
They have fun.
Kids are on a constant quest to play and have fun. They simply do what they enjoy doing. And we can’t help but be jealous as our days revolve around responsibilities and busy schedules. But even with a full calendar, you can still have fun. Enjoy the outdoors? Combine it with family time. Love traveling? Take a course on world geography (and use it to research your next vacation destination).
They pursue new interests.
On Monday your child comes home claiming they want to play soccer. Then, on Thursday, they’ve determined that they want to take piano lessons. Their interests are wide and varied, but before you know it, they are on the field getting grass stains and playing “Mary had a Little Lamb” on the piano. So it’s ok if you want to pursue new interests, even a different degree than the one you started 20 years ago. Every new experience can enrich our lives and bring exciting and rewarding triumphs.
They don’t take no for an answer.
Sure, this one may cause some consternation when your child goes about doing what they want, even after you’ve told them no. But children can be very resourceful; told they can’t get a raise on their allowance? Instead, they set up a lemonade stand in the driveway. Don’t let ‘no’ be a final answer for you either. Can’t get that promotion because of your background? Learn the knowledge you’ll need so that next time, you will make the answer “yes.”
They give it their all.
It can be heartbreaking when your child does his or her best, only to come up a little short of their goal. But children have a remarkable resilience that inspires them to get back up and try again, whether focusing on something new or going for round two. Whenever you find life isn’t going your way - maybe you didn’t achieve the exam grade you wanted – get back up and try again. Kids prove time and again that persistence pays off, and your best is all that matters.
How have your children inspired you to go back to school? What have you learned from them?
Written by Thomas Edison State University