A long time ago my sister Jessica told me that she learned that we can learn a lot from babies. It was just one of those little bits of trivia to me at that time, but it stuck.
She said that if you watch a very small child interact with the world around him, you can learn the natural way our bodies are meant to operate. She may have given a couple examples, but the one I remember most, is that a little guy or girlie who has just started to walk, will squat down at the knees with their back straight and pick up toys or objects using their leg muscles. They don’t have to be taught to “lift with their legs”.
Hmmm, kinda cool isn’t it? Basically she was telling me that we are born smart and do things naturally the best way. Then we learn from society the “proper”, actually “stupider” methods 🙂 Like: it’s unsightly to squat down to pick stuff up.
I’m sure Jessica was in college or something when she learned this, and passed it on to me. Anyway, it was looooong ago, but I’ve remembered it from time to time.
Another cool thing I recently learned, that we can learn from babies, was taught to me last Sunday, by her 11 month old son. My cutie nephew William.
Along the same lines of thought, little William was doing something completely natural and yet completely opposite of society’s ways. During Church service, the little guy was practicing and working on his mastery of the English Language.
I’ve appreciated him reminding me of this truth, all week long. I’ve thought about it a lot.
You see, what was happening to my ears, and those sitting around us, was a series of unintelligible noises, coming out of his mouth, at random intervals, random volumes and in random configurations.
Keep in mind, this was not crying, not laughing, no whining or grunting. It was pure play.
Eventually, these sounds will lead to basic, and not perfect-at-all versions of words like Mama, Dada and Abba (every kid’s favorite band!) Now, I’m no expert, but I’m guessing that the child is reinforced in his learning effort by parents who repeat words, encourage and parrot-back to the child with object names, and very basic dialogue.
Those words will lead to more complex ones, and then be combined with others, and eventually rudimentary sentences will form, and someday in the not too distant future, this little guy and his random noises will mature into a little-bigger guy using the English language to verbally communicate. Amazing!
My point here is this.
Will understands the way to learn a big hairy complex monumental task, like learning English from scratch. It’s natural to him. It isn’t a chore, in fact, it’s play!
He’s not agonizing over getting things right the first time. He’s not worried if it sounds okay to other people. He’s not comparing his language-learning accomplishments to another toddler’s. He’s not doing it at certain times of practice, and within certain guidelines.
He won’t really know till later on in life, that that is even what he’s doing, but he’s following some amazing instinct to want to accomplish this “talking” thing. It’s really mind-boggling!
Also of note: We as adults around him, are not upset that his first words ever don’t make sense. We’re not criticizing him for failing to conjugate verbs properly. We understand that this is what it’s going to take for the little guy to learn, and we actually enjoy seeing him try.
Another way to look at it is that he’s going to make hundreds, probably thousands of mistakes before a real sentence ever comes out! Maybe all during one church service!
Anyway, I will bring this point back home to my own experience in learning to discuss, and explain to the world around me, what it is that I have a passion for, and especially, my business, True North Financial Fitness Coaching.
You see, I’ve done a really crappy job of this exact thing over the last year and a half. Sometimes, I feel so lost on how to explain it, that I shut down, don’t try, make an excuse or change the subject. This is a real problem. And I’m regretful of my failures at it.
Because I didn’t come out of the gate with a perfectly planned and already flawless fully developed business and stuffed-full client calendar, with lots of pure success to spout about, the speech about True North Financial Fitness Coaching sounded a lot like Will’s baby talk!
This left a lot of confusion out there. It stoked the fires of insecurities in me. The gaps and jumbled explanations left lots of room for cynicism and mistrust in the concept altogether.
As I was beginning my own learning process in this world of self-employment, with the monumental task of building something brand-new from scratch that is a unique concept in our area, that has the potential to make a huge difference in real people’s lives, I’ve overall been quite quiet in my attempt to learn to explain it clearly to others…
Is that what Will would do??
I wonder what his advice would be:
Get Loud Uncle A. Be Inappropriate Uncle A. Blab On and On Until Someone Starts Working With Ya’, Uncle A. Make Yourself Known. Try and Fail. Try and Fail. Don’t Worry About the Other People. When You’ve Practiced Enough, You’ll Get Hints That Some Parts of What You’re Doing are RIGHT. Some Parts Not. But Either Way, Just Keep on Trying! Be a Baby and Play While You Learn. Have Fun! Be Cute! Add to the Experience of Others! Have a Short Memory. If You Need Something Cry Out for It! It’s in Your Nature to Master Things You Practice At! Eventually, You Will Succeed!
Wow! That’s a lot of wisdom for only 11 months old!
It is true that I could see these things in God’s Message to me, through Will, last Sunday at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
It reminds me of the ironic truth in the quote:
“Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”
– R. Buckminster Fuller
So where do I go from here, and what tidbit can I implore you to ponder this week?
Well, I need to be ready to be much more open, much free-er about what my heart wants to express. Less holding back, More Giving. More Sharing. More Play. More Love. More of the Natural Me, the Cute Me 🙂
The thing I ask society as a whole to understand is that when someone is out there trying something new, see all the little failures and mistakes as building blocks on which something fantastic is being constructed. I have been too harsh on myself, some others have been too harsh on me as well. This is how we get there. I surely could have chosen an easier route, I certainly could have been smarter and more prepared and all that.
And then I have a couple questions. What big hairy audacious goal are you chasing today? What monumental task is God calling you to conquer? Would it make it any easier to know that you don’t have to have it all figured out, to begin the process of learning? That screwing up and starting with little primitive attempts is absolutely natural?
I of course, will re-begin anew, again, with knowledge now, that I AM getting somewhere, even though I usually still sound like a baby!
Thanks for being here, and sticking with my babbling again this week. Someday, I hope you can say, you remember when I was just a toddler in this fantastic journey.
One other thing about Nephews, that I can share with you today: If one is good, then two is better! Meet Lil’ William and Lil’ Tucker, both making tons of fun in our family right now!!