A few minutes ago I was sitting on the bed, making sure my 6-month-old didn't crawl off. OK, maybe crawl is the wrong word. He wiggles and squirms and otherwise moves and sort of makes progress in a direction either toward what interests him, or in the exact opposite direction. It's always unfortunate when your gyrations don't lead you toward your goal. Today was a good day, he was progressing toward his goal.
It amazed me how he would wiggle and squirm with all his might until he got closer to his goal. Children have an unrelenting persistence. So, the kid would move closer to the edge of the bed (that was his goal as far as I could tell), and I would pull him back to the middle. Then he would wiggle his way to the edge again. Over and over again, that kid would put his all into moving to the edge of the bed. Over and over again, I would pull him back to the center. Really, it was in his best interest. It's amazing to think of the perseverance that it takes to learn to walk, talk, socialize and otherwise grow up. Think of the set-backs that this kid will experience. Imagine how many times he will fall, fail to communicate, socialize or otherwise live a 'perfect' life.
Yesterday my wife was helping the 4-year-old ride his bike for the first time without training wheels. He crashed. He crashed numerous times. He crashed in the grass. He crashed on concrete. He even crashed into the van once. Each time he shed a few tears and jumped up with a huge grin to do it again. Some day he will ride a bike without training wheels and will go off jumps, dodge obstacles and do other stunts that his father thinks are a bad idea.
Give them 20 years and they will be typical adults. (At least we're hoping for typical in some ways... in other ways we're praying that they will be anything but typical). If they are anything like me they will grow up to have fears and anxiety. Fears of failure and fears of success. Fears to try things because of what others might think. Fears that prevent them from being genuine. I find it interesting that many of my greatest fears are the things that make children progress so quickly. The things that I fear most are the things that I feel that I need to protect my children from.
Maybe instead of protecting, I should follow their lead? ... I'm too afraid to try.