Missteps Plus Baby Steps Equals Your Life Journey

Purposeful Parent Tip:  Every parent makes mistakes. How you handle failure is just as important as how you handle success.

The differences in how my children began to walk are vast. My son was the fastest crawler I’d ever seen. He had no interest in leaving the comfort of our wall-to-wall carpeting and so was a bit of a late walker. My daughter on the other hand, was practically putting one foot in front of the other before I left the hospital to take her home!

When I look back to this big milestone, it really makes me ponder a bit because how they each met this challenge is so indicative of their personalities today. I have spoken of this before when I’ve relayed the story of their births in my baby journaling workshops. While both arrived in this world several days late, my son came in with a quiet observance, whereas my daughter made sure that everyone knew she had arrived!

Similarly was their achievement of various milestones. My son approached each in his own time much to the worry of his mother. My daughter leapt to hers earlier than most. Even to this day, my son is the more cautious child taking his time and examining things before committing while my daughter is the risk-taker, jumping in with both feet.

In many respects my two children’s approach to life is a reflection of my own. For most of my life I have been very much like my son – cautious, risk-averse, a little scared of new things. However, in the past handful of years, I seem to be drifting more towards my daughter’s approach and diving into things with a “what’s the worst that can happen?” attitude.

Is this a reflection of my daughter’s influence on me? Do I secretly wish that I could be more like her and so am recalibrating my approach to life to do so? I’m not sure, but I do know this. For more years than I can count, I played it safe. I was the one who was always saying – “now let’s think about this some more before we move forward”. It was me who planned out every single detail so as to avoid any mistakes or surprises. In fact, in my corporate days, I was readily commended for my attention to detail and absence
of surprises when it came to managing large projects.

But here’s what I have found. Despite the most meticulous of plans, the unforeseen always happens. How you handle those little hiccups says alot about who you are as a parent or as a woman or man trying to navigate your life. My kids know fully well that I’m not a happy camper when things don’t go according to plan. And it’s not because I can’t face that little hiccup that occurred (after a bit of hysteria on my part!). But rather, as a divorced parent with little time to spare, those hiccups cost me precious minutes or hours, and time is something I try hard not to waste.

But are they getting that lesson? Do they understand that I value time so much that I want things to go smoothly so we can all take full advantage? Or are they learning a lesson of fear of the lost time? Are they learning that when things don’t go according to how we want or thought, that meltdowns are the answer?

Lately, there have been many things that have not turned out as I had planned. I have had to do some real soul-searching on how to best turn things around. Yes, there have been private tantrums. Yes, there have been days of frustration. But if I take the best of my children’s approaches to life – to think through things carefully like my son and then jump in with faith like my daughter, I’m sure I’ll have a few missteps along with those baby steps in my own life’s journey. And I will celebrate both.

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