Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Can We Learn from the Fearless Nature of Babies?

My son recently turned 8 months old. Now he’s becoming mobile – no longer just sitting and looking at things around him. He’s starting to creep. He hasn’t quite perfected the skill just yet. But he’s learning. My daughter is 12 years old and it really does seem like only yesterday that she was at that stage.
As she became more mobile, I recall thinking how much better it was when she would only just lie there – no creeping around and pulling down things and putting strange things in her mouth. But as the golf expression goes, it’s par for the course. In other words, it comes with the territory. Kids grow and develop and that’s part of the process.
I have learned a very important life lesson from watching my kids grow. My son is at the stage now where this lesson certainly applies. He does not yet know of the dangers that his different movements can present. He hasn’t yet learned what it’s like to fall off the bed; or to have something on a shelf fall on him. Right now, he’s just all about moving around and exploring his surroundings.
Just last week he was on the bed one morning and he saw my cell phone on the bedside table. He made his way across the bed and when he got to the edge, it’s as if there was no edge at all. He was so ready to get the phone that, in his mind, he would probably just be suspended in midair in the process of reaching for the phone. Had I not grabbed him, he would have fallen off the bed. There was absolutely no fear of falling on his part. That’s typical of a child at his stage. He knows no fear when it comes to such matters.
That got me thinking. There’s a lesson in this part of the nature of children for each of us adults. What can we learn from this? Well, check this out:
Babies do not know of the inherent danger in doing some of the things that they do. They only know that they like to explore their surroundings. Sometimes in life, there are things that we know we want to do but to a great degree, fear grips us and has such a hold on us that it’s as if we’re paralyzed and never take any action. We analyze and contemplate every possible pro and con and before we know it, time passes us by and we still haven’t taken action. Have you ever heard the term “analysis paralysis?” We think about decisions so much that we end up not doing the very thing that we set out to do.
As our kids grow and develop, they become more aware of the dangers that their actions can cause. That’s why, as parents, we have to be so mindful of their every move. They’ll put the strangest things in their mouths and to them, it’s no big deal. They open cabinets and pull out pots and pans and it’s all a learning process for them.
Inevitably, they get hurt or otherwise disappointed as they take these actions. But the point is that they have taken action. Do you know how much they learn as they explore their surroundings? I dare say that for every accident that occurs during their exploration, there are much more beneficial lessons that they learn. If they sat still and never took any action, they certainly wouldn’t have any accidents or incidents. But at the same time, they wouldn’t learn much would they?
Sometimes, as adults, we are so fearful of failing that we’d rather stand back and watch others take action while we sit back where it’s comfortable for us. I do believe that we learn much from observing others but I also believe that in order for us to realize our greatest potential, we must develop the fearless nature that is so evident in babies. Even when we do fail, sometimes the lessons that we learn are so priceless that, given the choice, we’d do it again.
How will you know what you can do if you don’t try? How will your gifts be used to help others if you simply sit and analyze each situation? The calculated risks that we take can lead us to some of the greatest rewards we could ever realize.
My challenge to you with this post is to learn from the youngest citizens of this world. Forget your own weaknesses and inhibitions and just take action to realize your hopes and dreams. This lesson applies to every phase of our lives. A couple might be struggling and might be hesitant to seek marriage counseling because of preconceived notions about that process. So they never seek counseling and end up divorced. In this scenario, do you think they might have benefited from counseling? What’s there to lose?
In our careers and professional lives, the benefits from this lesson ought to scream out to us! We want to climb the corporate ladder. We want to start that business we’ve dreamed about. We want to go back to school and finish the degree that we started but never quite finished. But then we think and analyze and overanalyze every possible angle of these decisions and then we end up taking no action at all.
Have you heard the saying, “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?” I’ll state that in another way, “It is better to try and fail than not to try at all.” Some things in life are just worth trying.
I hope you embrace the truth of this lesson. You are loaded with great potential! Let the smallest among us inspire us to achieve true greatness!
Enjoy your day!

The Upbeat Dad

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