7 Things I Learned From My 5 Year Old Girl

A few weeks ago it was Bianca’s 5th birthday. As always, each year I write a post about what I learned from her during the last year. If you want to read the previous posts, here they are, in order for one, two, three and four year anniversaries.

1. Diplomacy Is Easy

Last year Bianca’s mother and I parted ways. For me it was an incredibly relieving and lightening event and I’m increasingly happy with this new context of my life. But for Bianca there were a few difficult situations. Although I do my best to keep a normal communication flow with her mother, glitches are occurring every now and then. I can’t control those glitches (being only one part of the discussion). The only thing I can do is to manage them. But at some point I realized something absolutely incredible: Bianca was actually helping me around. In a “childish” and selfless way, of course. Every time I had one of those glitches, she was doing her best to smooth things out. Again, I don’t think it was a conscious plan. I think she is just learning how to handle both me and her mother in this new context. And she’s doing this with a fantastic sense of diplomacy. I literally learned from her when and how to talk and when and why to shut up in a variety of situations. And I’m still learning this.

2. If You Don’t Know, Ask Around

Last year was the year of “why?” questions. I already told you that she is a diplomate. But that only means she is picking the right time to ask his gazillion questions she had to ask, not that she is not asking at all. I had to answer, as usual, the weirdest questions you can imagine, but that only made me realize how powerful this option is. When you don’t know something, just go around and ask. Don’t guess. Don’t imagine. Say out loud what you don’t know or what you don’t understand, or what you think is wrong. Chances are that your questions will be answered sooner than you think.

3. Being Happy Doesn’t Need A Reason

Bianca is happy about everything. Of course, there are contexts which are not pleasant for her, as for anybody else. For instance, every time we split after the time we spend together, she is sad. But after she finished with this separation sadness, she’s happy again. She expressed what she had to express (and I never try to refrain her from doing that) and then she returns to her natural state. Which is being happy just about everything. Too often we forget that. Too often we prefer to cling on our own sadness, or anger or frustration long after the cause of whatever bad feelings we had disappeared. And in this process we create tons and tons of reasons for hating our life. And we forget that we don’t need reasons for being happy. Happiness is an unreasonable state of our being. It’s also the fundamental state of our being. :)

4. Adaptation Is Evolution


In the separation process Bianca had to deal with a lot of changes. She moved away from her house, she changed school and she had to cope with a lot of new persons from her mother new or old circle of friends. But she coped with this incredibly well. Sometimes I think she has some magic powers that she summons every time she needs to overcome something in front of her. But then I realize we all have these powers, we all have this incredible ability to adjust and adapt, we just have to find it and let it manifest. After I identified this ability in Bianca I soon realized that I had this too. And so the processes of reverting back to parts of my old life I lost in the last 5 years or reinventing parts of my new life started to unfold much faster than before. I hardly remember how I lived just a few months ago. And when I do, I hardly recognize the reasons for living the way I used to.

5. Thirst For Learning

During last year she started to learn how to write and read. And she’s doing it like all the time. This isn’t like she has some time for doing her homework and then going back to “play”. She is learning every single second and her curiosity never stops. Somehow, she finds a way to enjoy and mentally devour every single piece of new information that enters her horizon. She learns lyrics from radio tunes. She plays small dialogues. She tells stories about her friends at school. Every single second she learns. And whenever I’m with her I refill my curiosity too. As adults, we lost this. We think we know everything. We weakened our curiosity muscle and let boredom conquer everything we have inside.

6. Test Newcomers

Bianca is never engaging into direct interactions. The first few seconds are for testing. Yes, this is against social norms. When somebody is saying “hello” to you, the norm is stating that you should instantly reply with a “hello” too. Well, Bianca doesn’t really give a damn about this norm. And I’m so happy that she doesn’t. She only engages in new interactions (if she engages at all) after at least 20-30 seconds of attentive research. This initial period of testing is so important for any new encounter we have. We give in to social games and we move forward based on dry convention and not on our own feelings about the other person. Sometimes I think my life would have been completely different if only I would take the time to test all the newcomers in my life, just as Bianca does.

7. The Will To Win

Lately, we started to play games together more and more. She really wants to win. As I am more of a “just playing the game is good enough” type of guy, her attitude is a very good reminder to pursue the winning game. Yes, the journey is the destination, but winning every once in a while, focusing on the victory, well, that’s something that pushes us forward. And Bianca really a has a lot of this. Every time after I finish a game in which she won, I carefully study her joy. And, little by little, I start to incorporate this desire to win too. Yes, being in the game is what counts.

But boy, that victory feels so good, isn’t it? :)

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10 Responses to 7 Things I Learned From My 5 Year Old Girl

  • Nice Dragos!!
    I like how you analysis and learn from your daughter!
    Kids are natural and don’t have many complicate thinking like what we adult have, thus we can learn and get back the the simple and most straight forward way of facing anything, problem, question, and also actions.

    One of my major thing learn from kids is that, they can be happy with many tiny things. Through there, we can find back the happiness of life that lost in the growth of age and when the “reality” fits in our life.

  • I have a 5 year old girl as well and can relate to so many of these things – very well put.

    Had a thought about point 7 – playing to win. I’m also dealing with this but have also had to teach her to lose graciously. When we play, the loser has to shake the other person’s hand and say “well played, congratulations!” :) It sounds way more formal in Icelandic, and alwas cracks her up.

    Your point about being happy as a default state of mind really rings true – she is my inspiration in so many ways but this one in particular.

  • This is one of the most wonderful articles you’ve written and you know why? Because it actually took me off the imaginable boundaries. Kids are these little bunches of positive energy.

    I really found the second last quality thought provoking. Interaction is something kids do best. A smile on their face and they communicate a whole story of their hearts.

  • Really spectacular article man. One of the biggest revelations I had was when I realized that being happy is a conscious choice. I mean, you obviously can’t be happy 100% of the time but keeping positive and thinking forward is huge. Sweating the small stuff just isn’t worth it.

    Isn’t is awesome how much little kids can teach us about ourselves?

  • Dear Dragos, you have revealed to me some very interesting angles of looking at your child’s reaction. The fact with the greeting – I”m certainly going to be more attentive when I constantly ask my son to nicely greet everybody. And one more thing – coming from a family of divorcees, I would like to urge you to always treat your girl like the marvelous princess in your life. I think it is the best thing you can do for her.This will empower her with the confidence to deal with all relationships later in her mature life. All the best!

  • One of the things I love most about kids is their resilience. This is not to say that they cannot have hard times that they need to be helped through at times, but they have an incredible capacity to bounce back. Your daughter certainly has that capacity.

    It’s great that you’re attentive to what you can learn from your daughter. All of us adults can learn a lot by becoming more childlike in our attitude and outlook on life.

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  • Andrew Thomas says: July 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    A kid is a human being in perfect, pristine condition; always ready to forgive, always ready to lend a hand. With no prejudices or double intentions. Fresh as the morning dew, and with observation skills sharp as a katana. With no grieve in his/her heart, and the biggest sense of truth, justice and altruism, friendship and love, all wrapped up into an angelic form. Your boy/girl is you born again, and given a second chance. He/she´s you and a new person, with their own opinions. When we raise a child, we are creating a new world, one person at time. A task of the utmost importance, if you ask me…

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