This afternoon, I glanced up just in time to see Joy lose her balance and plummet forehead-first toward the carpet. They probably heard that "BONK" as far east as Detroit. After the standard 1.7-second pause during which a toddler mentally registers that they're hurt and not happy about it, Joy started wailing while I did my best to comfort with hugs and few favorite toys. I found myself wondering why baby stores don't sell infant-sized helmets with full face guards in their childproofing sections.
I also got to thinking about the oft-used analogy that we should approach life like toddler learning to walk. Most people focus on the fact that babies don't let the frustration of mistakes deter them from their goal of walking. I think it's also significant to point out that learning to walk isn't just difficult and fraught with mistakes - it hurts! If Joy invested a dollar for every time she bopped a body part in the pursuit of mobility, we wouldn't have to save a cent for college.
What makes babies persevere despite all the bumps and tumbles? Is it because they have such short memories? Is it because they have no concept of failure, or simply that they don't yet care whether they fail at something that interests them? I would guess it's a combination of all those options.
As an adult, I can't simply forget that I have failed in the past and will no doubt fail at things in the future. However, I like Joy's example of making decisions based on interest and curiosity rather than fear. I'm better at that than I used to be, but I still have a little room for improvement.