5 Lessons My Son Learning to Walk Taught Me
It’s amazing how someone with so little life experience can actually teach us so much.
Kids, so unfettered by life’s hard lessons. Unjaded by the fears and failures of past experiences. They are pure. Their day-to-day life is pretty much the definition of a Growth Mindset.
So what did my son learning to walk teach me? Oh so much.
He was 8 months when he started taking steps without holding on. I never got any “first steps” video because he would always do it when you were barely looking.
Lesson 1: Don’t do things for others or for “fame”, do it for you.
While kids love getting praised or at least garnering a reaction from an adult, especially at this age, for him it was really about just meeting his own goal per say. Since he was a newborn he’s always wanted to be upright and even to walk to some extent. He’s not a talker, he’s a mover. He wanted to try something, to learn something new, not because we were there egging him on, not because he thought it would make us happy, but because he wanted to. I need to do that more. I need to stop and look at my motivation for some things. Am I doing it because I feel I HAVE to, to get noticed, or because I truly want to do it because I’m personally interested in it?
“J” started taking independent steps by 8m (max of like 4). It was about 2 months later that he finally started walking any sort of distance. Other babies have been known to take their first hesitant steps and then 2 weeks later they’re walking regularly, and others still just start walking with no initial hesitation period.
Lesson 2: Go at your own pace.
There’s such pressure these days to achieve as super fast speeds. Whether it’s kids learning to walk and talk before one, kids learning to read and write by first grade, or adults who are supposed to get married, have 2.2 kids, own their own house, and be making enough money to have all the latest and greatest and take nice vacations by the time they’re 30 (and for many 30 seems to be too late!), our world demands excellence at ever-increasing speeds. Sure my son walked early, but he did it all at his own pace. He let go and tried when he was ready, not a moment before. He taught me that it’s ok to slow down a bit, to practice a little while longer and have patience.
When he did take steps they weren’t the normal hesitant steps of most babies. I literally never saw him take those small wobbly steps where it feels the child is a bit in slow motion. His were more along the lines of he’s let go and then “run” the 2 feet to the next couch or ottoman where he’d hold on again. Eventually, right before he really took off with walking, he’d do more of a little dance lol.
Lesson 3: Do you!
Who says you have to do things a certain way? “J” could care less how every other human learned to walk, what they did first, or how long it took. He just did what came naturally to him. He taught me to stop caring how everyone else does things and just worry about being me. However I do things, if it’s true to who I am and honors God then who cares what anyone else thinks?!
As soon as he started trying to take more than a few steps he fell down pretty much Every. Single. Time. Not once, not five times, not even twenty times, but every time and even now that he’s been walking for months and can even run he still falls at least a couple of times a day. Sometimes it’s just falling on his butt (luckily it’s a fluff butt lol), but other times it’s straight on his face. Like his face literally bounces off the ground and he ends up with yet another scrape or bruise. And why are those bruises always in the same exact spot?!
Lesson 4: Get back up!
This one is so timely and I will have to remind myself of this often. Learning and growing is going to be filled with ups and downs and those downs will sometimes hurt bad and cause some scars. As an adult those scars are usually scars of the heart and mind more than physical scars, but the premise is the same, we can either stop and just nurse those scars, or we can take a moment and cry about the pain and then brush it off and try again. Now the question is how can I make sure he continues to treat life’s disappointments this way and not become so scared and jaded that he no longer wants to take the risks needed to grow like so many of us adults?
I have these videos of right after Christmas when I was trying to get him walking on video (forget first steps those happened too fast lol). We would set him up and let him go. We knew he could do it because we had just seen it, but once the camera was on and he saw Bear he got so excited that he would fall again lol. He has such joy in walking. Even now he gets so excited when he knows he’s going to get to go walking. He just truly enjoys himself.
Lesson 5: Be joyful in the struggle.
Ok this is probably the hardest one for me. Seriously, who is actually joyful when they’re struggling or can’t do something they really want/ need to do?! Well, it seems young children are. It shows how this kind of fear of failure is a learned response. Failure, struggle, obstacles: these are all definites in life. NO ONE gets through life without struggling at some point. And there is failure in learning. So if this is true why can’t we see the struggle as something to celebrate? The struggles, the failures, they all get us one step closer to success, to new ideas and information, so why not enjoy the journey?! When you fall, laugh it off, when you don’t solve the problem the first time be confident in the fact that you are one step closer, not farther, from the correct solution. Take joy in the learning!
So there you go, 5 lessons my son taught me just by learning to walk. What has your child taught you about life?