Teachings From My Four-Year-Old Nieces

Today I’m a magical My Little Pony named Fluttershy. I’m singing in a school concert with my friends Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie about how we can do “ANYTHING, ANYTHING, ANYTHING” we put our minds to.

And now I’m a chef, whipping up culinary masterpieces to feed my hungry stuffed animal guests.

And next? I’m a hungry baby bird, of course! And my mommy is feeding my squiggly, wiggly worms.

Recently, I was lucky to spend the day in my hilarious, imaginative, four-year-old nieces’ world. I love when I get this opportunity – even for just short periods of time. Four is a seriously fun age. They are growing up so quickly, and yet are young enough to think their auntie is wickedly cool, simply due to her ability to give a cheese string a crazy hairdo. And because she shares her cheese string with them, while they pretend to be a hungry baby birds being fed worms by mommy bird.

Slowly and surely they will grow out of this stage, just like their brother did. One day they will prefer to hang out with their friends instead of playing silly, make-believe games with me. So right now, I will pretend to be a prince to their princess and a dragon to their knight. Because that’s a world I want to live in – where anything is possible and where you can be whatever you dream.

Four Life Lessons from My Four-Year-Old Nieces

1. Live Authentically
Four year olds are great for doing what feels right and what makes them happy. Whether it’s jumping into a puddle (even after your mom says you shouldn’t) or watching the same episode of your favourite cartoon for the millionth time. Do you want to wear your favourite pink and orange sparkly skirt over top of your outfit every single day? Do it. Dying for just one more chip before supper? Eat it. If it makes you feel good and isn’t hurting anybody else, why not go for it? Don’t be afraid to be yourself!

2. Find joy in the little things
Seriously, I have watched my nieces get more enjoyment out of a ladybug than most adults do out of their crazy expensive holidays. A walk to the store for a small treat on a hot summer day is cause for celebration when you’re four, as is getting to stay up past your bedtime because you have special company over. When do we forget that simple is so often better? If you need a reminder, go find a four year to hang out with for a couple of hours. They’ll show you how it’s done.

3. Stand up for yourself
If someone offends one of my nieces, you know right away by the ear-splitting shriek she lets out. Although I wouldn’t suggest an adult scream incoherently to make their point, I do think she has the right idea. It’s true when they say that no one is better at looking out for you than you. Make sure to speak up when the time calls for it.

4. Learn something new every day
There aren’t many cooler things to witness than a child learning something that really delights them for the first time. And one of the best things is that they aren’t afraid to ask when they don’t know something. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid – be proud that you want to learn more. A passion for learning is something that never goes out of style, whether you’re 4 or 94!

There you have it. Try acting like a four year for a day. Chances are you’ll end that day feeling fulfilled, exhausted, and happy. And then you’ll want to do it again tomorrow.