7 lessons from a 7-year-old

AllieKids are great teachers.  Recently I had the privilege of spending the evening with Allie, a smart, funny, beautiful 7-year-old girl who is the daughter of friends of mine.  After a cancelled babysitting night with her and her little brother (who was sick); we resorted to a Plan B that resulted in a night out with just us.  The few hours we spent together taught me a few lessons that I thought you might benefit from as well. 

Lesson #1:  Every day has a “favorite” part.
During dinner, I asked Allie to tell me her favorite part of the school day (she’s in 2nd grade).  She put her finger on her nose and pondered a bit then told me she learned that tigers may soon become extinct.  That fascinated her and she said wanted to learn more.  What if adults reflected on each day and named our favorite part?  Sure, on some days, just getting through it may be our favorite; but I suspect on most, there is a moment in the day, a conversation or accomplishment we can call our “favorite”.  That simple act is one of gratitude.

Lesson #2:  Everyone needs at least one BFF.
During dinner, Allie told me about her friends.  I asked her if she had a best friend. Without missing a beat, she began to tell me the names of BFF #1, #2, #3 and #4 – in order (3 girls and a boy).  Each friend had different qualities and a specific relationship with Allie – one was a friend since pre-school, another from church and so on.  The same is true for you and me.  Everyone has relationships; but those one or two really close ones help us get through life.

Lesson #3:  An inquisitive spirit creates great conversation.
Our chat about tigers spurred Allie to tell me about her interest in dinosaurs.  And oh, did the conversation get interesting from there.  She was curious how dinosaurs and tigers lived together in the Garden of Eden.  “After all,” she said, “wouldn’t the dinosaurs want to eat tigers?”  Hmm…very insightful question from her little mind.  We talked a good while about that and I could just see her wheels turning.  Questions are good in any environment.  They really do spur wonderful conversation.

Lesson #4:  Hobbies give you balance in a busy world.
Allie loves to read. Students are allowed to visit the library each day at school and check out books and she loves it.  She told me she reads something every night (and loves books about animals).  She sighed a bit when she told me she has to do her homework first!  And let’s just say she was not too crazy about that. What is your hobby (or hobbies)? Yes, we have to get our work done first but those hobbies help bring balance to our lives.  Maybe we should all visit the library?

Lesson #5:  It’s okay to be scared.
After dinner, we saw the movie Zootopia.  It was Allie’s first 3D movie so of course we had a mini fashion show with our glasses before the movie began (hence the pic in our post).  Like most movies, there were good guys and bad guys (or animals in this case).  And those bad guys growl and try to hurt the good guys.  Little by little Allie moved closer and closer to me then told me she was scared. She wasn’t afraid to tell me either.  You know, the same is true for you and me. Some parts of life are hard and it’s okay to admit we are afraid.

Lesson #6:  Holding hands makes you feel safe.
When Allie was scared she reached out for my hand. She just wanted to feel safe.  It was sweet for me but reassuring to her.  What a true concept – being connected to others does provide reassurance.  At some point, everyone needs a sounding board, encouragement and comfort. While we may not physically take someone’s hand, that connection with someone else affirms we are not alone.

Lesson #7;  Belly laughs are good for the soul.
It’s no surprise, we laughed a lot that night.  Sometimes we giggled and other times we belly-laughed.  From the fun of eating blue jello at the restaurant to playing guessing games in the car, the night was full of smiles and laughter.  I hope belly-laughs still happen to you too.  Without them, we are just too “grown up”.

For a few hours, I saw life through the eyes of a child.   At one point Allie called our time together Girls’ Night Out.  I hope she had fun.  I know I did and learned a few things along the way.  Oh, and for the record, we agreed that we would be BFF #5 for each other.  If only you could also be that lucky.

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