Imagine for a second that babies and toddlers were constantly paralyzed by the barrier of perfection, just as many adults are. Their thought process may look something like this:
I better not roll over, because I have yet to learn how to sit.
I better not sit, because I have yet to learn how to crawl.
I better not crawl, because I have yet to learn how to walk.
I better not walk, because I have yet to learn how to run.
I better not run, because I have yet to learn how to jump.
I better not jump, because I have yet to learn how to climb.
These thoughts could continue on forever, and the child would never take risk in order to learn new skills, all because she hasn’t figured it all out yet.
Now, think of a typical baby and toddler. They are constantly taking risks, falling down, and picking themselves back up. They are always learning from their mistakes and are not letting failure hold them back. This was bluntly obvious in my life yesterday. I was out for an appointment in the afternoon, but received a text around 3:30 from my husband saying that one of our 2.5 year old boys had fallen off of the play structure at the park, and he thought that he had possibly broken his arm. I got home around 4 and Brecken had fallen asleep on the couch while icing his arm. I packed up, got Brecken ready, and we headed to the walk in for X-rays. During this time, it was obvious that Brecken was in pain. He cried and fussed every time he moved his arm and was very protective of it. Getting X-rays was hard because just placing his arm in the right positions was quite painful for him. At 5pm, it was confirmed that he had broken two bones in his forearm… so, we headed to the Children’s Hospital to get him a cast. Here’s the crazy part: we waited there for a while, but by the time we saw the doctor (maybe around 6:45pm), Brecken was back to his happy self, moving around freely and being goofy. He was using his arm and I swear (apart from the few times that he said oww, hurt, bobo), you wouldn’t even know that he had hurt himself. He was using his arm and was even trying to climb up the chair I was sitting on. Amazing right? I was starting to wonder if the walk-in doctor had misread the X-rays and if Brecken was fine after all… but he wasn’t.
Brecken reminded me yesterday not to let perfection paralyze us from taking risks. He also asreminded me that taking risks and failing is simply an opportunity to learn and grow! I don’t think that this little setback will prevent him from playing on the play structure at the park again (he’s already crawling all over me as I write this post!), but I’m sure he will be more careful around the edges. Yesterday, Brecken failed forward, will you?