My 1-year-old son is doggedly trying to learn to walk. It’s his singular passion at the moment. He holds on to my hands and we traipse all around the house. If I sit him in my lap to read a book, he immediately searches for my hands, grabs on and we set off. He also loves practicing taking two or three steps between his father and I. We spend hours doing this. He’s simply not willing to sit still. He can’t really crawl, he does a sort of bum shuffle, but gets frustrated. I can’t say that I blame him, it’s a slow way to move about. So he screeches and hollers in frustration unless we are holding hands, arms up, toddling about the house. A certain amount of this is entertaining, but after several weeks of it, I’ll admit I’m ready to move on.
However, his enthusiasm and persistence for this goal inspire me. Despite being completely reliant on our cooperation and his regular tumbles and falls he just keeps on trying. He’s completely focused on his goal and will persevere until he’s successful. What a spectacular life lesson. I am inspired by him.
At what point in our lives do we lose this single-minded determination? Already we struggle to inspire our oldest with the same enthusiasm for his own pursuits. He’s still very young (3 1/2), and yet we often hear him say “I’m too small, I can’t do it.” I’m sure he was just as determined as a baby to accomplish his own developmental milestones. When did this change? When did he learn to be more hesitant, to question his own abilities?
I want my children to grow up believing that it’s important to try. I don’t parent in such a way so as to lead them to believe they are the best at everything. It isn’t true and not what’s important. But I do want them to feel confident enough to try, to work hard, to believe that their goals are worth pursuing, even when there are obstacles to overcome.
How do you fuel your child’s enthusiasm? Do you have any tips for teaching the value of trying?