1) Begin each day with great expectations!
Every morning, both of my daughters cannot wait to begin their day! My husband and I usually fight over who’s going to go get them out of bed because they are always so excited to see us. They expect great things for their day and so should we!
2) Be joyful in even the little things.
My youngest daughter loves the remote control. I have no idea why, but her whole world lights up when she gets a hold of that thing! To us, it’s just a gadget. To her, it’s by far the coolest toy ever! It’s the little things that bring joy to my daughters’ faces. We need to learn to enjoy the little things in life. It’s so much more fun that way!
3) Trust that all your needs will be met.
As adults, we have so much pressure and stress to meet even the most basic of needs in our lives. We have to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, and sometimes these basic needs can be the most overwhelming. The Bible says, however, that God will take care of our needs. He feeds the birds and dresses the flowers, how much more will He take care of His children? My little ones don’t worry about these basic needs. They know that mommy and daddy are going to feed them and clothe them. We need to be as trusting of our heavenly Father as our children are of us.
4) Learn to use your words.
My 2-year-old hasn’t quite mastered this skill yet, but it’s a work in progress. When she feels an overwhelming emotion (fear, anger, jealousy, etc.), she has a complete meltdown and cries. I’ve noticed, however, that many adults still do the same thing…it just takes on a different form. Some of us slam doors when we get angry. Others of us bottle up our emotions and say nothing when our feelings are hurt. We go to our friends and “vent” when things upset us. What if we learned to use our words? What if we chose to articulate our feelings rather than unleash them or bottle them up inside? We tell our children to use their words, yet it’s a skill that many adults (myself included) have yet to master.
5) Stop perceiving work as “work.”
My daughter LOVES to help mommy with the housework. Folding towels is her absolute favorite thing to do (besides watching Curious George on the couch with daddy and her Hello Kitty blanket). While I am stressing to get the housework done, she is simply enjoying the process. She gets to fold the towels, she doesn’t have to. How differently would I view my day if I chose to perceive my work the way she does?
6) Don’t be shy with encouraging words and blessings.
One of the most common phrases to come out of my toddler’s mouth these days is, “You did it!” The other day she congratulated my husband with these words for putting his belt on correctly. She felt it was an accomplishment worth praising! We all love to hear encouraging words. We love to feel appreciated and valuable. I truly believe we don’t voice our appreciation enough of others. We need to praise more and criticize less.
7) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
When learning how to walk, my daughter fell… a lot. What would have happened if she had chosen to only walk when she knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that she wouldn’t fall? My guess is that she would still be crawling. Toddlers aren’t afraid to wobble. They try and fail countless times before mastering a new skill. They don’t expect to be perfect the first time they try. Why then do we try to be perfect as adults when trying something new? We have to allow for mistakes as we learn to master new skills in this life – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The point is to keep trying…to keep progressing forward and eventually master the skill.
8) Be someone who nurtures others.
When my youngest daughter was born, my 2-year-old became an instant mother. Whenever we go somewhere, she makes certain that her little sister has her shoes, her coat, and a toy to play with in the car. She does all of this before worrying about herself. As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors and do our best to meet their needs. My daughter isn’t perfect by any means; she still has her selfish moments. But it’s so fun to see how much joy it brings her to take care of her family.
9) Remember how much God loves you.
When my daughter makes a mistake, do I love her any less? When she was learning how to roll over and crawl, did I make fun of her for failing? I love watching her grow and mature into who God created her to be…even when that involves helping her back up again when she falls. Our heavenly Father feels the same way about us. He loves to watch us grow and learn. He knows that failures typically come before great victories. He desires for us to succeed and to grow, and He loves us through the process.
10) Dance a lot and sing loudly!
I can’t reiterate this enough. I love how much joy both of my daughters express on a daily basis! Everything excites them! Just today, my daughter jumped up and down and ran around the living room over the news that we were going to the grocery store! Learn to love life. Enjoy the little things that God brings our way. And when all else fails, let the joy of the Lord be your strength!