Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Learning Success from a Child

Have your ever watched a child learn? It is amazing to me the persistence they have. My 7 month old daughter is just mastering rolling over. It has taken her weeks to get it down. Even last week she was still rolling over onto one arm which would put her face in the carpet and no arm to push her up. She didn’t like that very much.

From one small accomplishment to the next, children continue to succeed. In a few more months, my daughter will start to get up on her hands and knees, then shortly after she will learn to crawl. Next comes walking. This is where things start to get interesting: the bumps, the bruises, and the pain. I almost hate to take my kids out in public during this learning phase. They look so bad! But they fall, get hurt, and then get back up until they get it right. Sometimes it takes weeks or months, but they persist until they succeed.

When we set our sights on a goal and start pursuing it, what happens the first time we “fall down” and get a bump and bruise? We tend to quit; or at best, we try a couple of more times, then quit.

As we begin life here on earth, we have a large potential and inclination for success. Without it, many of us may still be crawling around today, and maybe some wouldn’t be toilet trained yet either.

What happens to us to change the unconquerable spirit that empowered us to success at all costs? Let me share a story. My 8th grade year in school, I was talking in English class when I shouldn’t have been. My teacher singled me out in front of the whole class and stated with emotion, “Steven! You will never amount to anything!”

Whether she was right or not is irrelevant to this discussion. But as we become more aware of our surroundings, we begin to put more value in the comments of others, and strive to live up to other’s views of ourselves, and little by little, the unconquerable spirit is whittled away and we become less and less believing in ourselves and our potential.

Two things I think we should learn from this. First, how do we interact with the children around us? Do we encourage them and build up their belief in themselves? Or do we contribute to the taking away of their inherent capacity to succeed?

Second; the next time you set a goal and have a setback and want to give up, get down on your hands and knees and crawl around for a minute; the ability to succeed never left you. Then get back up on your feet and get after it again, and again.

Your potential to contribute to your family, your neighbors, and society is great! What legacy are you leaving? Someday in the future, we will all leave this life. When that day arrives, will you have completed everything you wanted and needed to do? When that day comes none of us know, but we do have NOW! The gift of NOW is only valued by how you use it. Start NOW the dreams you have always had, and do those things that will leave the legacy that is fitting of you and the success you realized as a child.

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