Seven Important Life Lessons I Learned from My Seven-Year-Old

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“Out of the mouths of babes.” There are so many times something my son says truly sticks with me. I often think, If I approached life in the innocent and matter-of-fact way he does at seven, I might be a happier person. While my job as a parent is to guide him, I realize that many times he is the one who’s teaching me.

1. “I don’t like how you treat me, so I don’t have to invite you to my party.”

As adults we often find ourselves forcing relationships out of obligation rather than acknowledging our feelings about someone and how they treat us. While we should always treat others with kindness, we don’t have to go out of our way for those who don’t treat us with respect. Being honest with ourselves also shows are kids that it’s healthy to set boundaries.

2. “One moment, please.”

Nobody likes to be interrupted. There’s nothing wrong with asking to finish a task before moving on. You’re not saying what the other person needs isn’t important. By completing the task at hand, you are able to shift your focus and be present while helping the other person.

3. “I need my alone time.”

Don’t we all, son, don’t we all. It’s OK that we need to recharge and it looks different for everyone. You might find solace in putting miles on the treadmill, curling up with a good book or staring at a streaming app before bed. There’s no shame in saying you want to be alone for a bit. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last two years, it’s that self-care fills your cup to be a better mom.

4. “We used to be friends, but we aren’t anymore.”

You change. Other people change. Cherish the time you spent with them. Recognize the impact you had on each other’s lives. Then give yourself permission to move on. You may realize it allows room for other relationships.

5. “I didn’t tell on him because he was already in trouble.”

Why kick someone when they’re down? Compassion and grace can go a long way when someone is having a bad day.

6. “I took my ‘no thank you’ bite.”

Give yourself permission to move on if you’ve tried something and it wasn’t for you. Remember this for our kids, too. They are not going to like every activity or sport, so let them move on after giving it a shot.

7. “Be kind. Have fun. Learn something.”

This is our daily mantra at school drop off. It sets the tone for his day. At the end of the day I sometimes ask myself, can I say I did all three of these today for myself?

What have you learned from your child lately?

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Ashley grew up in Augusta and has lived in the Wichita area for most of her life. She works full time as vice president at a marketing agency. She'd been in the workforce for 15 years and faced years of fertility challenges before being blessed with son Charlie in 2015. She met her husband, Josh, in kindergarten. The house-divided college sweethearts attended KU and K-State, starting their careers in Dallas before returning to Wichita in 2003. Not just a full-time executive and mom, she owns Josh Cook Golf Academy with her namesake husband. Ashley also enjoys volunteering as Wichita Aero Club vice chair, driving a golf cart with Josh and Charlie, drinking wine and spending time with family.

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