Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cherishing the failure

My little boy has come a long way.  Now 28+ months old, he can walk, run, and climb, he can carry (empty) boxes and turn little wooden nuts onto bolts.  He can talk with reasonable articulation in English, and can name a number of things in Spanish.  He's undeniably clever and developing physical skills at a nice clip.

But with regularity, when attempting something that he easily did moments before, he falls flat on his face.  Very often the fall is quite literal.  And I am learning to thoroughly enjoy these little failures.

Just this morning, Jude went to swing his leg over a little Scooter that he rides around the house - this is a super simple action he has completed successfully countless times - but he started the maneuver from too far away.  It was funny to watch, one of his feet firmly planted about 18 inches from the front of the bike and the other foot kind of flailing around in space about 4 inches short of the seat.  And what came next was instructive: he realized the error, replanted the pivot foot a little closer, and successfully mounted up and off he went with a smile.

In the same kind of way, I'll watch him tear around the house like a little Nascar racer, looping from kitchen to dining to living rooms, ducking under and around table corners and sporting a kind of wild eyed look on his face.  Jude can manage this circuit with ease, except every once in a while the floor apparently reaches up and grabs him and he full on tumbles into the hardwood.  And then he gets up and takes off again.

We are in a great stage because these kinds of little accidents cost us little.  Jude has gotten good at falling without injury, and he rarely cries over it any more.  My hope is that he is cultivating resilience and patience with the bumps and tumbles that come with life, the little frustrations that can so easily reduce an adult to literal or figurative tears.  And maybe that's part of why I am enjoying watching my son fail - failure for him is not tiger pit or an insurmountable obstacle, but just one of those little things that happen before you move on with a goofy smile on your face.