Five life lessons from a toddler on peace

When we think of peace, we may think of a time without any war. Some of us may think a state of harmony, quiet and calm; not disturbed by anything at all…like a still pond with no ripples. Whether external or internal, peace is beautiful. It is what comes alongside compassion and love. As I raise my little ones, I ponder ways I can teach my kids about living in peace. I try to infuse it through books, selfless service in the community, yoga and meditation.

The other day, my sweet 2-year-old said, “mommy big breath.” We were in a rush, and went up and down the stairs gathering what we needed to get out of the house on time. It was chaos and far from peaceful. But he reminded me to take a deep breath. While peace is not something we think of with roaring full of energy toddlers, I realized how often he is my teacher.

He teaches me how to lead a peaceful life when I stand back as a witness to his pureness.

Here are 5 things my toddler has taught me about peace:

1. Have patience. While this is from parenting 101, it’s the thing that’s the hardest to do at times. When we are patient with those around us, we can keep the peace. This goes for our children, colleagues, spouses, the elderly. When we lose patience, we disrupt the natural ways we can find compassion for others and things can get ugly.

2. Curb the judgment. My little guy is unpredictable and in moments of embarrassment where I don’t want to be judged (yes, he recently took his diaper off in public and ran around) he reminds me to never judge others. Judging is assuming without knowing and is far from cultivating peace.

3. Love big. Where do I start with this one? My kids have taught me that love at first sight is real. My toddler loves everything new (his first time trying ice cream he screamed “I LOVE it momma!); he loves people around him (ok and animals-he kissed our friend’s dog). He emits the energy that love is free and it is meant to be shared without limitation. Peace is love. Fear is not…so don’t be afraid to share your love.

4. Enjoy the sweet moments of life. Dance like no ones watching. Jump in the puddles. Watch butterflies. Laugh to the sky. He shows me time and time again that this is what life is about. When we are present and happy, we are peaceful. We smile. We give. We share. We can be one.

5. Hug often. His injuries heal with hugs. His heart loss from a broken toy is fixed with snuggles. Human connection thrives with touch. Hugs defy hate and embody empathy, compassion and can make the world a more peaceful place. (There are even scientific studies on this!)

Ironically, as I write this, I hear him thumping around like a dinosaur and making his sister scream. Definitely not peaceful sounding and a recurring dilemma over here. This is when I remind myself of the things he’s taught me. It’s in that reminder that their roars and squeals end up sounding so much more peaceful.

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