Lesson from a 3-year-old

Sitting around the dinner table last night, my family and I started in on the “how was your day” question that typically kicks-off conversation as we eat, listen to music, and enjoy time together to reflect.

Usually I will ask my three-year-old: “What did you do today, sweety?” and she’ll tell me about the games she played, the books she read, and the people she saw and spent time with.

As I wound up to ask her this question last night, she did something amazing. She beat me to the kick-off question! She looked at me and instead of asking what I did that day, she asked: “daddy, what did you learn today?”

Can you imagine?

There’s a couple things going on here:

  1. My daughter moved past the surface with one word and cut to a deeper ideal.

What we learn in a day lasts far longer than what we do. Learning is the internalization and subsequent ability to reproduce what we do. We’d better make sure that what we learn by doing is worth repeating.

2. She cared enough to ask me the question in the first place.

Don’t we often monopolize conversations and live in a “me-focused” world? This was a beautiful illustration of my previous post on asking more questions.

3.  Kids are in the learning-zone. As we get older we shut our learning receptors off and become more reactive. Let’s sharpen our learning skills again and re-frame our perspectives.

After she asked me what I had learned – I couldn’t even name three clear things! If we’re constantly seeking information, let’s look for the lessons hidden in all of our daily activities. This can dramatically alter our approach to conversations and automatically deepens our engagement in present moments.

Exercise: Each night, write down three things you learned that day. See how it re-frames your perspective and can systematically alter your approach to work and relationships.

We can all learn something, even from a three-year-old.

brother, child, dad

Referenced in this post:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s