I have watched my niece grow up for the past three plus years since she was born, and I have gained a newfound respect for babies and children; earthlings and how persistent we are in growing and becoming better. Once upon a time, it was unthinkable to have my niece stand without adult arms at reach. And she fell, so many times; and still she went at it- trying to merely stand. And without meaning to, she taught us to not see her missteps as tragic but literally as baby steps towards bigger mountains. Her own first steady steps then finding her own ways to step past the single doorstep on the way outside, without tripping.
To see her walk up the stairs as confidently as she does, or effortlessly jump that single one on the door to go play with her friends nowadays, I am convinced that children are born smart. They grow up and we teach them to be stupid.
We teach them to fear; and not just things they should truly fear- things that may kill them or break their pretty little limbs. We teach them foolish fears like the fear of failure.
Kids grow up and suddenly failure is not merely the startling landing on one’s bum on the floor after a small misstep on unsteady feet. Failure becomes a scary yawning chasm that opens up on the floor to swallow one deep into its depths and climbing out, we teach them, will be near impossible.
And yet we get where we are- doing seemingly insignificant things such as rushing down a flight of stairs – because first, we failed at it. Yet we knew deep in our bones, to do it again and again till we got it right, and we did!
I am relearning that bravery of childhood now and telling myself like children do, that I may fall on the unfamiliar single steps of new doors I walk out of, but I know it must be done, and I will keep at it until I conquer that stair; because that very first step is the way to the exciting beyond.
And to not be able to breath, see, touch, taste, feel what lies in the beyond is a thought so unthinkable a single misstep in the right direction is worth all the dares and falls.