The Lesson I Learned From a Two Year-Old

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Chris Bennett


I do not have children, nor am I married.  I consider myself a self driven independent, self motivated man deriving from the fact that I grew up an only child and was entrenched most my life with overachieving parents.  I have been called a lover of solitude and a breadwinner of independence, so you can imagine the strong dose of reality I got when I started dating a woman with a 2-year-old child.


It is incredible what children can teach you about family, even if they are not your own.  The dependence and loyalty that bind families are born from struggles that children always seem oblivious to, yet are always at the center of.  They test your patience to make you learn more of yourself, and obligate you to work with others you may not otherwise work with.  How does one cope with the tenacity of energetic information loving child?  You do not cope, you become skilled at the art of composure.  In return, they let you know that you are loved and thought about.  This scares those who thrive on independence.  Someone is now dependent on you.


I have now known this particular child from the age of 2 years and 1 month to almost 3 years and 6 months of age.  She is the daughter of a woman for whom I care much about, and I to have come to love this child as my own.  I have never experienced the unadulterated joy of a child’s smile, nor have I ever stopped to consider the impressionable delight of a baby.  I have also never experienced more frustration in my life than I do while trying to get this little one to go to bed.  My mixed emotions throw me in daily tailspins, but I cannot help but notice that for the first time in my life I felt like I was part of a nuclear family.


Arguing with young children as about as useful as arguing with a brick wall, nothing gets accomplished.  That’s what some do, they argue.  Some think they can systematically figure out what to do. With my experience (or lack of!), I did not comprehend that children are steadfast because they like to test boundaries.  This child in particular takes on an audacious, almost uncanny style of temperament after her mother.  Have I met my match with this child?  No I have not, but I have learned a new word in the English language – patience.  Patience must be perceived as an evolving concept.  I have realized it is not a annoying non-fixable struggle, but more so a joy.  It took me a year to realize that, but I have. 


The truth I learned is that children are a bundle of raw emotion, something I lacked severely.  The truth that I learned from this child is that any shell can be broken if pushed long enough.


“One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.”

-Forest Witcraft


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Posted on 15 November, 2008 in Finance & Family, Making the Day Count, Parenting
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