I’ve been a daddy for my son for 1 year now. It sparked me on the thought of having a self-reflection on the wonderful journey that we have had. I wanted to take the time to reflect on the things that I’ve learned so far.
Although it has been our dream to become a parent, nonetheless, it is a challenging responsibility. He is the “product” of ours. It is important for us to cultivate the right values and beliefs in him from his early days.
Despite being a teacher to my son, most of the time it is the other way around too. He had taught me a good amount, growing up. He is pure in his mind. He is innocent in his doing. He is adorable being fully present.
This is the 6 life-lessons that I’ve learned from my son for the past 365 days.
1. Shamelessly asking for things that you need and saying no.
My son was born to this world. The first action he did and do it perfectly is to cry. He cried to seek people’s attention, or perhaps his way of saying, “Thanks mommy, I’m doing good now”. He has limited skills in his disposal to get his message across. His ultimate talent from small is crying, flipping, then screaming, then using his hand gesture and walk on his feet.
My son takes his need seriously and he means what he wants. His natural action to hunger is crying. If his needs are no fulfilled in a timely manner, he escalated from crying to crying even louder. Occasionally, he rewarded us with a cute smile on his face right after feeding. This is his way of getting help and saying gratitude.
There is a time when he needs our help to ferry him around the house or getting the colourful fridge magnet, which is out of his reach. He walked toward me, hug my giant leg with his open hand, looking up with his cute-innocent face signalling me to carry him up. Indeed, his creative approach for getting help.
My son a smart human being. I’m blessed that he is born with his unique personality and thought. There are a few times when we served him with food that he dislikes. Such as the green bean chicken soup with rice and oat with banana. He can protest by shaking his head left and right vigorously although occasionally open his mouth to gallop the food. Most of the time we respected his decision.
Raise your hand and ask for help. It is not guaranteed that we’ll get it. However, it will yield a better chance than never ask. Not to forget to remember saying no to give way to a better opportunity.
2. Persistent learning is fundamental.
My son started his journey in this world in nothingness. From my point of view, every day is a challenge. Yet, he woke up with a burst of sunshine on his face every morning. Keep on learning and striving to perfection.
A year ago, his only skill is to lie on his back, occasionally opens his little eyes to peek on the beautiful colours of the world. Right from the first day, he is looking forward to his walking day.
When he was at 11th month, we know that he already had the energy to walk on his own. I was thinking to myself, perhaps, he needs a little bit more courage to keep going. Bit by bit, he wakes up everyday training toward his day to walk on his feet.
July 6: Stand on his feet for 1 second.
July 22: Walk holding walls and chairs
August 4: Walk 3 steps and fell on his knee
August 10: Walk 5 steps and fell on his face
On his birthday, for the first time, we had witnessed him walking on his own. The enormous happiness is unimaginably radiated from his face. He just felt the eureka moment. We are so happy with his achievement as well.
The fundamental is to stay laser focus on learning and be persistent. Mastery takes times, and it is rewarding. You win! Once you had decided the transition today.
3. Curiosity in the play.
The energy fueling my son is; curiosity. His eye and face expression shows fascination on the world around him. In his complex mind, his baby self talk:
- “It is interesting to see mommy and daddy, walking, I’ll walk soon”
- Hrm.. that is one interesting sound, how can I imitate that. “Ga ga ga, ma ma ma …”
- “Look at that beautiful running red LED light, what makes is so eye-catching”
- “The shopping mall is so crowded, there is so many unique human-being. Keep looking….”
He followed us climbing the giant staircase in our house. It is a big leap of faith and courage to crawl up the stairs. Each baby step builds his confidence and strengthens his muscle.
My son has his way to climb up and down the high sofa in our house. Firstly, he struggled a little. In addition, he felt nervous a bit coming down from the sofa. He had tried a few methods such as grabbing the side of the sofa while touching the ground with his tiny toe to ensure clear landing. Today, those climbing is a breeze. It is had been a pre-programmed routine.
The curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat. Let the curiosity of the abundance possibilities filled your life. Life is a fun play.
4. Be happy laughing at your own shit
Every day my son put on his smiling face, his giggling laughter and his cheerful complexion. The giving birth and the growing up process for my son was a challenging moment for us. It is proven that laughter is always the best medicine.
Literally, he laughed at his own shit. After we changed his poop and carry him to see his own poop. He put his hand covering his mouth, while the eye closed smaller, he giggled in happiness.
His shit also symbolized the mistakes that he had made along his journey in growing up. He falls down and gets up on his feet again. During the moment of unhappiness and pain, he cried. Nonetheless, he did laugh at his own mistake, which he happily repeats to re-learn as required.
Some shitty moment is rewarding. Every morning my parent who is babysitting my son wakes up earlier than him. Therefore, he is left in the room by himself sleeping. As soon as he wakes up, he first enjoys himself rolling on the bed. Until he heard the small cracking sound of the opening door. In lightning speed, he zooms up the size of his baby cot waiting for the door to open. That always successfully make my parent’s day. He got the biggest hug from them.
Failure and mistake is part of the journey to mastery. Learn the experiment. Remember to enjoy the moment, while looking back and laugh at your own shit.
5. Be 100% present to enjoy the moment
Baby is the purest human being. Baby does not have the concept of time, which there is no yesterday and there is no tomorrow. Baby live only in the present.
Although my son has a short span of interest in his activities, he gave his 100% in everything he does. 100% of his focus. 100% of his energy. Doing exactly the one thing giving it is crying, flippling, crawling, walking or even falling.
As an adult in this information age, I picked up my handphone on my hand and keep checking for updates. Neglecting the moment with my son. Yet, he countlessly taps me on my shoulder reminding me of his existence.
I’ve realized he brings lots of happiness to us. The moment spent with him is a positive encouragement to me, which cultivates a positive mindset in both of us.
Be 100% present has become a more solid principle in me. Contradictory, it is an improvement in the quality of the time I spend in my life. The clear direction helped me in crafting my focus.
6. Giving unconditionally
I’m blessed to have loving parents that taking care of me. They had been my role model. The familiar love is shown taking care of their grandson. This is a giving that has nothing to return, except the abstract love.
We thought that every transaction in this world is a give and take. That means the giving from us must be matched with an equivalent value of the return.
In fact, I have received an abundance of happiness and satisfaction when giving my fullest love unconditionally. I no longer play the game of guessing if the return will come. Magically, the return came internally, not the external.
Be generous with your giving. You’ll feel that you receive much more when you give without expectation. Give unconditionally.