Sunday, December 5, 2010

One step at a time

My nephew, Noah, is almost a year old. I met him briefly the day he was born and then didn’t see him for like 5 months. When I got home he couldn’t sit up on his own. He would just topple over and cry. But in the time that I was home for about 3 months he learned to sit up, crawl, and now he’s starting to walk. Just watching the video of him trying to walk made me think about a couple of things.

First, I thought about how amazing it is that babies just do what they need to do—how innate it is. No one really tells him he’s supposed to walk now. He could still crawl to get from point A to point B. But now, he stands, takes a few steps, and isn’t afraid to fall. And he does fall. A lot. But he’s not afraid to fail—and doesn’t even know what failure is. And he just keeps doing it until he gets it right, and moves on to the next thing.

Second, it’s funny to see how hard it is for him to walk. To think about how long I’ve been walking—I’m pretty good at it now. But at some point it was hard for me too—arms flailing about, not sure how to get one foot in front of the other, then a crash landing. We walk all the time without even thinking about it. Everything is hard before it is easy.

Somewhere along the line, we learn fear of failure and that we don’t really have to do things if they just seem too hard. I guess it’s a good thing as babies we didn’t know these things because we never would have taken our first steps.

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