My nephews have this toy. It’s a tiny figurine with proportionally giant feet, weighted so that it always stands upright no matter what. Toss it across the room, drop it on the floor, even run over it with a car, the toy will always bobble it’s way back to standing posture, smiling confidently as if to say, “Can’t get me down today, Uncle Doug.”
The toy reminds me of my son in the stage he’s at right now. His massive baby head must be weighted because, I swear, it’s always falling on the floor. The poor kid wants to walk but his bobblehead denies him the pleasure again and again. I even wonder sometimes if he is actually trying to smack his head on every surface of the home like it’s some sort of pledge week initiation or the first to-dos off his bucket list. Kitchen hardwood? Check. Living room carpet? Check. Rocking chair? Check. TV stand? Check, check, and check. But somehow he still keeps getting back up to try again.
Imagine if babies had the same amount of resiliency as you do. Don’t flatter yourself. They’d probably never walk, talk, feed themselves or master a toilet. What would they do? Maybe mope defeated and broken, half-heartedly giving excuses for why they gave up. If my son had my resiliency, he certainly wouldn’t get up after every fall. He’d retreat into himself and try forgetting all about his failures by the mastered art of avoidance.
The thing is, failing is not a character fault, it’s a natural and normal part of living. We can see this truth represented within our children. Inspirational writer Israelmore Ayivor encourages, “When you fall down, rise up. When you fall again, rise up again. This is just a developmental process that makes a healthy baby become a successful man.”
It will serve us well to imagine ourselves as babies when taking on any a new task. My eight-month-old son isn’t yet aware of the shame, embarrassment, or timidity that can so often keep adults from learning new abilities. His understanding of building a new skillset goes as far as thinking I’m going to do this. He doesn’t get lost in daunting if-then scenarios, doomsday predictions, or fears of what other people will think. He isn’t counting failures and he isn’t even counting successes, he is just trying. If we could only learn from the falls of babes, we could liberate ourselves from much anxiety and maybe even enjoy learning a few new things.
Trying only hurts when we fail. Failing only hurts when we let it. Let’s bobble our way back to standing posture when we fall. Let’s smile confidently and say, “Can’t get me down today!”
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