The lesson my kids have to keep teaching me

If you’re like me and have young children, it can be easy to think you have it all figured out.

We can pronounce “hyperbole,” play videos on a machine the size of our hand, and always find the Cheerios at the grocery store. Amazing!


When compared to our kids, we have more education, experience, and money. Plus, we’ve put in time changing diapers, making trips to the doctor, and planning for the future. Because of all that, it’s sooo easy to slide into the thinking that the wisdom train only goes one way. (From us to them.)

But thankfully, my kids are patient with me. They know I know stuff, but not the only stuff. So in their own spaghetti-on-the-chin way, they keep teaching me a lesson that I have to keep learning:

That happiness is often simpler than you think.

You see, here’s the problem. We parents—well, me anyway—can overthink things. Some of that is warranted. But not all of it.

We spend hours thinking about the perfect gift… and the kids end up playing with the box. We plan some huge trip; and when we get to the hotel… they just want to make a fort under the covers.

They keep having to remind me about the simple joys in life. And when they do, I know they’re right. If the proof is in the pudding, the pudding is laughter. I also notice that two things always seem to be present:

1. Being together
2. Being a little less serious

Those two things cost you so very little but give you so very much.

I realize that life can’t be 100% fun all the time. We parents need to teach about responsibility and fairness and prayer and love. But what if our kids were on a secret mission to teach us some things too?

Piggy backs. Wrestling. Doing a puzzle. Throwing the ball. Painting nails. Watching the rainfall with some popcorn.

When you’re not planning for God’s plan to happen, God’s plan happens. And when it comes to my kids, that plan often involves a simple happiness that you can’t prepare or budget for. Deep down they seem to know that life is lived one move at a time. And that move usually includes more togetherness and less seriousness. That’s a lesson I’m always happy to re-learn.

What about you?

Impromptu dance parties, ice cream on our noses, and a string of knock-knock jokes that make absolutely no sense… At all. To anyone.

Today, if you’re a parent, notice the moments that were made for fun. Your slice of life will still be tough, but it’ll be flavoured with a bit more laughter.

Happiness is often simpler than you think.

Check out Matthew’s 1-minute daily devotional here:
Twitter: @MatthewRuttan

One comment

  1. This article on the “lessons children teach us” is so well written and brings an air of delightfulness. I am happy to read this article over and over. Upon retiring as junior high teacher one year ago, I miss the happiness and challenges kids offer to the world from the classroom. Cherish every day with each of your children as time is an exact reflection of God’s plan yet it slips through your life if not gripped in the moment of joy. What happens…your children grow up too fast. Then you shake your head upon saying “Where did the time go”? “Less is more”…the simple pleasures in life can’t be bought but can be sought. This is the true abundance…hmmm, happiness???


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s