If you don't know me, then you may not know that I have a 3-year-old son, who pretty much rules the majority of my life. Outside of my long hours at work, my time is mostly spent with my son, Brycen. He's a little man on a mission 90% of the time, and he gets incredibly excited when he knows I'm about to come home from work. He spends his days counting down the hours, if he actually could count down, until I get home. Brycen is always daddy this or daddy that and he has picked up many of my mannerisms, to my wife's chagrin I'm sure.
For the most part we have a routine most nights after I get home; we play outside for a while or just hang out together for a while depending on how late I am that night. We'll play and he'll tell me all about his day, and ask me how my day was even though he won't understand anything that I am saying. I still tell him about it, because it's our process. It's what we are both accustomed to and we love it.
Close to 9, we will sit down in bed, wife included, and watch a movie or show of his choice as a family. What we watch usually varies, ultimately depending on what he sees show up on Netflix first. Sometimes it's Justice League or Avengers (and I cheer in my head) other times its Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Pony (and I just shake my head). Yes, you read that correctly.
I truly do let him choose his show, no matter what he chooses (within reason). There are some shows that I will not let him watch, just because of the elements in them, seeing as he is only 3-years-old there are things that are beyond his imagination, and I don't really want to be woken up because of his nightmares... personal preference, you know.
For a while though, he has wanted to watch nothing but The Little Einsteins. At first I wasn't excited about watching that with him, mostly because I didn't know anything about it. Same can be said about My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake... Yet, there we sat as the show started into its catchy opening song.
I smiled awkwardly as he looked up at me with his beautiful blue eyes. He was so excited, filled to the brim with pure joy. That was partly due to the fact that he was sitting in my lap, and partly because he picked a new show and I let him watch it.
We started with the very first episode on Netflix, entitled "Ring Around the Planet." The basic plot of this episode is that one of Saturn's rings falls into the backyard of one of the team, June, and they all must go on a mission through outer space to get the ring back where it belongs.
Yes, Saturn lost a ring and 4 toddlers are going to return it.
Okay, so far so good on my part. I haven't rolled my eyes too many times, that he could see, but I'm not really paying attention to the show anyway. I'm more entertained by Brycen as he watches wide-eyed and mystified by what is happening on screen as the team flies through space in Rocket, their best friend the rocket ship.
Brycen is still completely zoned in on the Little Einsteins and he is repeating everything going on in this episode. He's so excited to tell me that Rocket is red, and that he is flying past the moon. He's completely overjoyed to tell me that Leo is conducting the music with his baton. He can't contain his smile when he's telling me that Annie is singing into her microphone. He's squirming with excitement when he sees Quincy pull out and play an instrument or when he sees June dancing.
If only we could see things from a child's eye...
For a fleeting few minutes a day I get to watch the same thing as my son and I try as hard as I can to imagine what he is thinking and seeing because I can guarantee that his mind is swirling with possibilities and his imagination is soaring as high as the Little Einsteins are flying in Rocket. That right there is life lesson one.
Find joy in the little things
I've always been a fairly well read person, I love books and so does my son. It's one of the things that I'm glad he's been able to find joy in. He loves story time and he finds joy in that. I forgot the simple joy that can be found in things like that. I forgot to look for the joy in the smallest of things.
Show I learned this lesson from: Super Why
Super Why is all about stories and enjoying being a part of something bigger, and it's in the bigger story that they learn about all the little things that make life just a little bit sweeter.
Taking a break from the hustle keeps your sanity
It would be easy for me to continue working late into the night, whether writing an article for Moviepilot, or digging into some preparation for my day job. I could spend my hours at home unplugged from my family and still connected to the hustle and bustle of the 'real world.'
Show I learned this lesson from: My Little Pony
As much as it pains to admit that I learned something from a pony, it's true. All of the ponies have their own work to do, but once they finish their work they go enjoy the things around them. They escape the hustle and bustle and let life happen and they embrace it.
Sometimes, it's all about the journey
I'd be lying to you if I told you that I enjoy the journey of life. Most of the time I find myself trudging through the day, bogged down by some inner or outer turmoil that's got me distracted. Life truly is about the process of living. It's about the journey to get to the final destination. We aren't in a race to get there, eventually we will all meet the same end, but it's what you do with the journey you're given that really matters.
Show I learned this lesson from: Thomas the Train and Friends
Thomas is always on the move, always concerned with getting to where he's supposed to be. There's always something that comes up that causes him to stray from his plan and it's in those moments that he learns.
Always be yourself
This is easier said than done most days, as it's always easiest to conform to what is around you. The peers that you keep and the colleagues that you have more often than not play a role in the persona that you convey to everyone you meet. It's not always easy to be yourself: whether you've forgotten the 'real' you or you're just to introverted to express yourself, it's best to stay true to yourself and believe that you have something to offer.
Show I learned this lesson from: Clifford the Big Red Dog
Clifford is nothing if he isn't unique, he's a big red dog. There really aren't many of him out there just like... there is only one me and one you, and that's exactly how it should be.
Risk can be beneficial
I've always leaned on the side of caution. I'm not the type to jump into a situation without having a basic understanding of what I am getting myself into. Fear tended to rule my life for so many years. I felt that being overly cautious was the best way to lead my life. No risk meant no chance of failure, but with no risk also came no growth. I had been stunting myself by never taking chances and getting dirty.
Show I learned this lesson from: Curious George
If George has taught me one thing, it's that risk can be beneficial. George is constantly taking risk and exploring the world around him.
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It's funny how sometimes the places that you wouldn't assume you'd find life lessons, are the places that teach you the most.