Did you ever try to fly when you were a child? If your experience was anything like mine, your attempt probably didn’t go as planned. I remember running as fast my little legs would go, from one side of the porch to the other. As the edge drew near, my wings (arms) unfolded and I began flapping them with as much power as I could muster. With arms outstretched and the air beneath me, I plummeted to the ground below.
My son tried a similar stunt yesterday. He wasn’t exactly trying to fly, but he believed that he could jump from one side of the street to the other. After a few practice runs, it was time for his debut.
Starting at one end of the sidewalk, he carefully positioned his body sprint style, took a couple deep breaths and took off! Like lightening, he bolted down the sidewalk. Never had I seen him run so quickly. He had his mind made up. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Reaching the edge of the sidewalk, he lifted his feet off the ground and took the longest leap he had ever attempted. A few more feet of air and he would have made it to the other side. Instead, his body went crashing down to the pavement below. He landed and rolled three times before finally coming to a stop.
After a moment of me standing there in shock and him getting air back into his lungs, he raised himself from the pavement. My son is tough. Not one tear was in his eyes as he walked up to me.
When he was younger and would get injured, I would tell him “You’re like a Christmas tree and those are your decorations! Isn’t that neat?” Oddly enough, that seemed to work. He quickly turned into one tough cookie when it came to pain. So now when he gets hurt he doesn’t cry. He just grunts a little and breathes deeply.
As he held out his hands for me to see what he had done, I just kept walking and staring ahead. With the fall that he had just experienced, I knew they had to be pretty messed up, but figured that it would be best not to look until we were actually in a position to care for them. Home was only a short walk ahead.
Long story short, he was missing a rather large piece of skin on each of his palms. While he stood patiently and calmly watching my every move, I cleaned his wounds and bandaged his hands.
A short while later, I tucked him into bed. Even at 15, a child is never too old to be tucked into bed. That’s precious time to us as we read together, share our thoughts and tell each other good night. He’s only a child once, and I only have one chance to be a mom, so I endeavor to make the time count.
As I tucked him into bed, he looked up at me and said (speaking of his jump), “Next time, I’ll wear gloves.”
By saying that, he made me so proud. He’s not a quitter. As I went on to tell him, many people get hurt and their fear causes them to quit; to never try again. They just give up. Unlike them, he’s not a quitter. He’s a learner.
Instead of throwing in the towel, he reflected on his experience and learned from it. His solution – next time, he’ll wear gloves.
My son is a great teacher. In life, we’re going to experience pain. We’re going to get scrapes and bruises. But when those things happen, it’s how we respond that is most important. Will we allow our fears to keep us down and cause us to quit? Or will we get up, dust ourselves off and learn from it?
Growing as an individual requires learning, and lessons don’t always come easy. I rather make a thousand mistakes and learn from them, than make no mistakes at all…
“A person who makes few mistakes makes little progress.” – Bryant McGill