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7 Lessons My Baby Taught Me

7 Lessons My Baby Taught Me
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A couple of weekends ago, I had the privilege of watching my nine-month-old son. This may not seem like a big deal, however, this was the first weekend that he and I would spend together alone. As my wife walked out the door, she turned and assured me that all would be fine and we would have a great time.

I didn’t doubt her, but there was a lingering question in the back of my head asking, “Are you sure you know what you are doing?”

Admittedly, I didn’t. I knew that I had to change him, feed him, play with him, and give him a bath, but other than that, I didn’t know how I was going to entertain him for an entire weekend.

As he looked at me with uncertainty (and rightfully so), I took a deep breath and asked him what he wanted to do. To my amazement, he said nothing.

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Back to square one.

After a little back and forth, it suddenly dawned on me that I had a unique opportunity to undo everything that my wife had taught him and teach him the things that I wanted to teach him.

I could teach him how to use power tools, play football, learn how to play Xbox, and many other “cool” things.

Much to my chagrin, he had no desire to learn any of these.

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It took some time, but after the “feeling out” phase, we had a blast.

We played, sang, danced, read a few books, and napped together.

The most amazing part of the weekend was not all the things we did together (although those were amazing), but rather what he ended up teaching me. Here are 7 lessons my baby taught me.

1. Be Fearless

As I watched him stumble his way around things, I realized that he is relentless in his pursuit of walking. As with any new skill, learning can be a struggle. What makes his pursuit remarkable is that his struggling only forced him to work harder at it. At such a young age, he understands that his goals will not happen if he does not work at them.

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2. Challenge Authority

He has just about mastered this. While unable to construct words yet, he has become very proficient at vocalizing his displeasure. Too often, we are afraid to speak up for fear of judgment, rejection, or ridicule.  Much like him voicing his concerns, if you know there is a better way to do something, speak up.

3. Never Stop Learning

Watching him is the most amazing experience. He uses the senses that most take for granted (touch, taste, smell, hearing, and feeling) to learn and interpret his surroundings. He understands that to achieve his goals, he must be willing to learn in different ways.

4. Try New Things

He is constantly attempting new things to see what they are and how they work. Yes, he gets frustrated, as we all do, but he never gives up, which is something that we all need to do.

5. Unconditionally Love Those Around You

No matter the time, day, or moment, when he looks at me, I know his love is unconditional. He has not had the time to experience love in any other way and due to this, remains innocent. Love is the answer. There is a reason an entire decade was formed around it.

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6. Never Forget Who Matters Most

At the moment my wife walked back in, his eyes lit up. Go home tonight and show those closest to you the same display of affection.

7. Zero Prejudice

He willingly goes to anyone. For him, it does not matter who they are, where they came from, or what they do. In a time of such uncertainty, imagine what would happen if we all took a moment to experience life in this way.

Life has a funny way of teaching us, and on occasion, these lessons might come from the most unlikely of sources. For me, that source is my son. The moments that he and I share together and the lessons that he has taught me will be things that I will never forget.

Featured photo credit: www.pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Joel a Scott

Writer/Blogger

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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