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Life and Financial Lessons from a Five Year Old

When you have children, sometimes you feel as if you are always walking uphill just to make it from  work to school to activities on time. It is often easy to be on automatic pilot, but if you pay attention, sometimes you can learn life lessons from the smallest people.

Our daughter started gymnastics a year ago when she was four years old. It was a new program in our area, and was offered through the city recreation center, so it was very affordable. Her class consisted of 4-6 year olds, and she absolutely loved it.  When we began kindergarten, we had to stop the classes because we are attennding an out of district school. We just couldn’t make it in time.  The gymnastics program has taken off like a rocket, and the earlier, younger classes are now averaging 50-60 kids. To spread the load, the coaches decided to offer three classes, mixing all ages together but separating like ages into groups within the class. We were able to make the later class, so we tried it out last week.

When we arrived, it was obvious that my daughter was the youngest and smallest one there. There were a couple of first graders, but the rest were older, including the high school cheer squad. When they began the warm up, which is the same for all classes, it was much faster and louder with the older kids. As I’m watching from the bleachers, my daughter comes running toward me with tears streaming down her face.

Daughter, “Moooommmmmy, I can’t do it. It’s too loud.”

Me, “It’s the same as in your class, honey, the girls are just a little bigger.”

Daughter, “It’s just too hard, Mommy, I can’t.”

Me, “Well we’ve signed up for today. Let’s try, and if you don’t like it, we don’t have to come back.”

Daughter (with more tears), “I don’t think I can, Mommy.”

Me, “This is the only time we can come to class. If we leave now, we can’t do gymnastics anymore.”

Daughter, “But I WANT  to do gymnastics, Mommy.”

I convinced her to give it a try and lead her back to the mat beside the first graders. When they separated into smaller groups, she got a little more confident. She started goofing off on the balance beam, like the little girls sometimes did in her other class. The coach gently scolded her, and as I waited for  the waterworks  to start up again, she turned into another child. She concentrated and had the best gymnastics day she’s ever had. She held her own with the kids in her group. Heck, I can’t even walk across the balance beam or do a flip on the lower of the uneven bars. I was impressed and very proud. She was so happy afterwards and can’t wait to go back next week.

How often in life do we give up when we’re faced with an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation?

Getting out of Debt

When you are living beyond your means, it’s hard to pull the plug on spending. You might have to sell some possessions or start driving an older car. It’s hard to tell coworkers you can’t go out to lunch with them anymore. If we really want to become debt free, we have to overcome how others see us and do what it takes to get to the place we want to be.

Getting Ahead at Work

To be a true leader in the workplace, we need to overcome our insecurities. There is always going to be someone smarter, older, and with more experience than you.  Sometimes you have to jump in and make a name for yourself. Trust your training, education, and natural talents, and don’t hide out in your cubicle. By associating with people who are working at a higher level, it will elevate your performance. If you stay with the crowd, you can only hope for mediocrity.

Living an Extraordinary Life

Some people dream of traveling the world, while others dream about staying home and spending more time with family. Whatever your dream, sometimes you have to take an opportunity when it arises. If you wait for the most perfect, most convenient time, it will never come. Plan what you want to do and take the chance when it comes along.

In my case, I’m selling a profitable business that I don’t enjoy anymore. I’ve decided that I don’t want to become a burned out shell of the person I know I can be. I’m finding other streams of income, like our rental property, to achieve financial stability without working myself into oblivion. If you aren’t happy with your current situation, do some planning, live smart, get out of debt, and find a way to achieve what you are looking for.

My daughter just loves gymnastics. At age 5, she figured out how to step out of her comfort zone to get what she wanted.  I can only hope she continues to conquer her fears as she gets older. Sometimes, we can all take life lessons from a five year old.

What lessons have you learned from children? Do I sound too much like Tony Robbins today?


Photo courtesy of Sam Green at The Cortez Journal

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I think living an extraordinary life is the only way to live. We must make the most of it.

    One thing I love about kids is their willingness to just jump in and take risks. We often as adults hold back more than we should and we miss out.

    • I’ve seen so many people miss the boat because they were afraid to take a risk. I don’t think you should throw all caution to the wind, but sometimes you just have to go for it.

  2. Could agree more about living an extraordinary life. No situation is absolutely perfect, but when the chance arrives we have to grab the bull by the horns and take a risk – then roll with the consequences. Those that do this are the ones who live amazing lives. I think we all want to be this person – I know I do.

    Best of luck in selling your business and living the life of your dreams, Kim.

  3. Stepping out of your comfort zone is SO important in life! I think people in general are afraid to do things because of what others will think. For example, if you leave your corporate job for a small business or to start a small business yourself, people will judge you. There’s no getting around it. Sometimes you just need to do what you want without worrying what others will think!

  4. Great post! I am actually working on something similar for my blog. My wife and I have three kids… 5, 3 & 8 months. It’s amazing what lessons kids can teach you about life, finances, or anything else for that matter. 🙂 I echo the key to stepping out of a comfort zone. They’re called that for a reason, because they can be painless and lead us to avoid things. Yet, by stepping out, we can experience growth and new possibilities.

    • There are so many lessons to learn from our kids. Stop eating when you’re full. Sleep makes us all function better. I could go on and on. I bet that is a busy house you live in!

  5. When it comes to taking risks, having someone provide the loving support that you provide your daughter, makes all the difference.

  6. This is a great story!

    My grand daughter did kind of the same thing at swim class. She will do things for the instructor that Mom, Dad nor I can get her to repeat!

    Seeing that other people her size can do it, and knowing that the expectation is there that she WILL be able to do it are key in my mind.

    • That always amazes me that a teacher can get a whole class of kids to do the same thing in an efficient manner when we can barely get shoes on and out the door in the morning!

  7. I’ve tried living more like my younger self actually. I find that as you get older, change get more and more terrifying. It’s important to step outside of your comfort zone once in a while.

    • I am a terrible public speaker, but I joined a group last year where I had to speak weekly. It was terrifying but I am a much better speaker now and can stand up in front of most groups without too much knee knocking.

  8. It truly is amazing the lessons we can learn from little ones! I’m so proud of her for you! I think as we become adults we allow these fears to completely take over, and there’s no one there telling us we have to at least try, so we don’t. We really can learn anything and excel at anything if we put our minds to it and let the fear of failure go.

  9. Well, Tony, I think that this was a great post. There’s huge power in being five. When you were five you wanted to be the President or an astronaut. Somehow that all gets muddled and before you know it, you’re hoping for a cost-of-living pay increase and maybe some better steaks for dinner. Think big!

  10. This is very cute, ** Tony ** 🙂 There are a lot of great lessons we can pull from our kids that still apply to our lives as adults. Don’t worry about sounding to motivational. Part of getting rich is mastering the psychological just as much as the technical part.

  11. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

    It’s so amazing how our kids can teach us things isn’t it! My next post is about a parenting lesson from my 4 year old!

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