I love to ‘watch to learn’ from the choices of other people. My mother taught me, “it’s always better to learn from someone else’s skinned knee instead of your own.”
Watching my granddaughter at play gave me daily opportunities to learn a few significant life lessons.
One morning I noticed that she was captivated by a feather that is nothing more than a fragment. But somehow in her hands it’s the singularly most fascinating thing in the room.
I watched as she blew with all her might only to have her feather elevate slightly out of her reach. Her next attempt to blow the feather from her finger failed so she tried again and again. Her fierce determination doesn’t allow her to give up as easily as I have over the years.
But several attempts later it still wouldn’t budge.
The force of her breath simply wasn’t strong enough to dislodge the feather from her sticky two and a half year old hand.
I watch to learn that giving up doesn’t seem to cross her mind.
She holds her hand out in my direction, so I ask, “may I help you?” “Yes, please!” the hope in her voice tells me she’s excited that her game will continue. Pulling her hand closer to my lips, I blow on the feather, and the strength of my breath blows the fragment upward, higher than she could take it on her own.
The game of ‘chase the feather’ resumes, squeals of delight erupt, and all is well.
Several things crossed my mind as I journaled my thoughts at the end of the day. I had to ask myself, “do I give up too soon?” and “do I intervene in the struggles of other people too soon?”
Lessons from a morning spent watching and learning:
1: If I intervene too soon I might deny someone
a lesson they need to learn on their own.
2: Sometimes we need the help of someone stronger to take
our ambitions higher than we could ever manage on our own.
3: I must always remember that giving up
denies us the opportunity to experience success.
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