“Daddy, I want to put my foot in the toilet.”
“No, don’t do that!”
“Yeah, daddy. That’s weird.”
This is a typical conversation in my house.
And this is my nearly-three-year-old, Rylan. He’s basically the coolest kid I know. In his short life, he’s taught me so much. I’ve learned so many things about myself and how to live my life better because of him. About a year ago, I started taking notes as I picked up on these critical observations. These are tips from a toddler.
1. Set the tone for your day
Every day we have a unique choice to make. We can choose to be in a mood, in a good mood or in a great mood. It starts when we wake up. Rylan is usually in a great mood when he wakes up. I supposed I would be, too, if I woke up with a pile of toys around me. Rylan is so excited to jump out of bed, come see me and ask how I slept (even if he is waking me up while doing so).
Do the first thoughts I have during the day include how I am going to serve God today? Am I ready to be in a great mood despite the challenges the day might bring me?
2. Imitation is awesome
I have learned that Rylan will do whatever I do. As soon as I put two Legos together, he wants to play with those two Legos, because they are clearly the best ones ever. If I make a…err…bodily noise…at the dinner table, Rylan wants to do the same thing. If I want to give Mommy a big hug, he wants to join in, too.
I need to remember to surround myself with people and things I want to imitate. I need to fill my life with friends who will build me up, coworkers who will inspire me and media that doesn’t cause my sinful mind to be led astray.
3. Cars or Legos?
This kid has a ridiculous amount of toys. More accurately, the apartment living room that we’re crammed in is constantly covered in all our toys. Rylan has so many options, but he quite often knows exactly which toys he wants to play with. Though things are changing now that his sister is walking around and stealing his toys, Rylan is usually happy playing with absolutely anything or even nothing at all.
How often am I completely satisfied with the things I have been blessed with rather than coveting the things I can do without?
4. Boogers in nose
Rylan knows how to speak in better sentences than many of my friends (I’m looking at you South Carolina). His grammar is pretty rockin’ for a kid. When Rylan was first learning how to talk in sentences and needed his nose wiped, he simply told us “boogers in nose.” There was no sugar coating what he wanted. He didn’t beat around the bush. He just stated the problem. Very directly.
I often find in my prayer time that I beat around the bush and don’t tell God exactly what I’m struggling with. This is absurd. He already knows! But, I do it time and time again. Prayer takes practice, just like learning a language.
Arrrrrrrrg. Ugghhggghhh. Oooohhaaaarrhhhhggg. I’m kidding.
When Rylan was learning to talk, I taught him how to saw ‘Chewbacca’. By the way, isn’t it awesome to tell kids to say absolutely anything? Anyway, he nailed saying ‘Chewbacca’ and I exploited it every chance I got. I was a proud daddy. The point is that he loved the way it sounded and he thought it was fun so he wanted to repeat it.
This could come as a surprise, but I’m a bit hard-headed. I need to take the time to repeat things that I find important. I need to ask God if I’m understanding Him correctly. I need to repeat things to my wife, my coworkers and clients in order for them to know that I’m on the same page as them.
More life lessons from someone who can’t wipe their own booty coming soon.
I’m enjoying your blog, Jason. For what it’s worth, I was all in for Happy Things. Sad Things, too. Here’s a party trick you can teach Rylan, courtesy of John and Jack. When John farts, Jack now says “Chewie, get us out of here!” You’re welcome.
Katy, Rylan regularly says “ermagersh” in reference to the internet meme. We were reading out of Job in Sunday School last week and came across the term “jagged potsherds”. Of course, I leaned over to Elizabeth and said “Ermagersh! Jergged pertsherds!” Rylan has been repeating ever since.
Ermahgersh! Blerg perst!