The Third Thing We Learn

It’s been said that a human child is a learning machine. We are born with our eyes open and the lessons begin immediately and never stop. At one year or so we take our first steps. In the effort to walk we learn three things. The first two we discover ourselves, the third thing we learn is shown to us by someone else, usually our mother, but it can be whoever happens to be there. Lessons one and two are purely mechanical and have no deeper meaning beyond the information we acquire by them. The third thing we learn when we take our first steps can set the tone of our lives.

Newborns spend the first few months of their lives unlimbering arms and legs that have been confined by the limits of the womb. They learn to grab what ever is handy; a bottle, their foot, your nose; and usually drag in to their mouth. Pumping the legs and feet teaches them to use the weight and momentum to turn themselves over and then raise their bodies up and crawl. When the arms and legs have gained enough strength by these exercises they are ready to try walking.

First they learn to pull themselves into a standing position, the bars on the crib, a chair leg, the coffee table anything solid will do. Lesson one; how to stand up. Next a step and a fall. Lesson two; how to fall down. Now lesson three.

After he falls our baby will lay there with a blank face and look to see your reaction to this setback. He’s counting on you to tell him how he should respond to falling down; is it a tragedy?, should he cry?, or is it of no consequence. Your actions when he falls will give him a wealth of information. Sweep him up in your arms and coo and cuddle and tell him what a poor baby he is, how that nasty old floor must have hurt him, and you have taught him that the most significant thing that has happened is that he has fallen down, and he must avoid that at all costs.

AMarguerite Gérard - The first stepslternately, if you laugh and set him back on his feet, you tell him that falling is not important, walking is, trying is, perseverance is . In this life success consists of hundreds of failures and one bright triumph. It is important to learn that early on, it will save you a lot of time wasted over falls that are as important as you make them.

Posted on April 6, 2012, in Where This Road Goes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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