Why is Laasya so happy, even when she falls down for the 50th time?
Author Raja Krishnamoorthy / Kitty - Sep 10, 2013
Laasya, during her morning beach outing
We were at lunch yesterday, along with my daughter, at Moneys’ (her in-laws) home. Being a festival day- Ganesh Chaturthi- it was a heavy lunch session. Along with the fabulous spread there was something more interesting to feast.
It was Laasya, our granddaughter, all of 14+ months, taking her first few steps!
She was now starting her attempts at walking “independently”. In the last one week she has completed various graduation “courses”: climbing one staircase up, without any help; singing two or three lines of the tune of Carnatic song (Shyamaley meenatchi) continuously while on her beach walk ; Switching our FM radio on and off to produce sound ; eating pieces of Dosai by herself from a plate: putting 70% into her mouth & 30% all over the place…
Now for the last few days she is taking her baby steps of walking. Largely they were attempts at taking a single step, tottering a bit and then falling down. And then yet another try, and another, and another.
Today she decided that it was “show time” or “show off” time. Apparently she had walked a few steps in the morning, when only her parents were with her, but now during the lunch time, when there was a full audience of several people around, she decided to do a big demo!
Laasya’s show time: How to get appreciated for failing !
Watching laasya attempting to walk was amazing: Her face radiant with a big smile of confidence/joy/hope/fun she would slowly get up, shake and wobble a little bit, slowwwwly balance herself and slooowwwwllly take her one step; then even more ssssllllloooowwwwlllyyyy take the second, and …fall down. She would laugh, joining the grownups who are already laughing and applauding, look a 360* around for ensuring that everyone has noticed and then again. . Start her attempt to get up and walk.
Her attempts had different success patterns; few “not even one step” attempts, several one steps, quite a few two steps; many three steps…one great five step long walk, covering almost four feet of track…She went on and on. She must have fallen at least 50 to 60 times in those 15 minutes.
She was trying, moving, falling and laughing; was looking around, clapping and shrieking in joy as the audience kept egging her, praising her, applauding her and enjoying her “show”. As this was repeated again and again something struck my mind.
Why was she laughing, why was she so joyful even when she was falling?
She was simply enjoying. She was just being alive. She was living it up. She was being the essence of human existence: To be evolving, to be trying to overcome, to be doing her best and to be happily at that!
My mind was both curious and awestruck. The question came up again and again: Why was she laughing even when she was falling?
Because she did not know that falling down was “failure”!
She was simply being active; was being tempted to try again and again. She was at–tempt- ting! In being alive, she was enjoying moments of sincere and yet playful efforts.
Laasya, the little baby did not know that in the world of grownups you are not supposed to laugh when you fall; that you SHOULD cry when you fall because you do not just fall (as an adult), but even with the smallest of failures you fall from grace.
What goes wrong when grownups-adults- fall?
Why are we so intolerant to adults making several attempts to make things happen? Why do we condemn failed efforts so quickly and label the at-tempt-tor as success or failure?
Is it the compulsive need for the “grown up” mind to be pre-occupied with all forms ( material/things/possessions), and hence the madness of measurements – of skills, capabilities, talents, knowledge, ability, worth, value, usefulness…The need to constantly demand others to “measure up to something, somebody’s expectations” ?
Or is it the curse of having to constantly live up to roles? If you are a student, do not fail in examinations (even if you have no great interest in the subject); If you are married do not fail to stick to each other (even if the spouse is a lousy stinking rat); If you are a member of a team or social system do not fail to be obedient/loyal/dependable (even if the leadership is blind/deaf/mute to all human sensitivity and ground realities)
Similarly If you are a father do not fail to take care of the children’s wishes (even if the demands are stupid, “TV commercials driven” and unreasonable); if you are a mother do not fail to ensure that your child is “unconditionally loved” ( even if that brat is full of pre-conditions about everything-food, dressing, cleanliness, friends or necessary daily disciplines …)
Almost no space for failing or falling!
Roles carry “this standardized expectation, and we call it “performance”. We adults seem to say: “Fulfill our normal expectations, as we can only relate to your role, not the human being that you are. We will judge constantly and evaluate you thru the ONLY criteria of SUCCESS. We will be fairly intolerant to failures. We have no idea of how to be non-judgingly observing you or accommodating you or applauding you for your struggles”.
I wish Laasya did not have to GROW UP!
Lessons from Laasya: Falling is OK, Moving on is important…
I am learning a few things as I watch Laasya:
- Be courageous; be cheerful in-spite of falling or failing .Getting up and moving on is more important.
- In fact enjoying whatever is happening is the essence of being PRESENT and being in the FLOW
- Creativity, innovation, change, evolution necessarily include failing or falling. Sure, You need not fail, but growing up is an option all thru life! You can be stuck forever!
- Allowing falling and failing is also human inclusivity as much as any other forms of acceptance and accommodation.
- I have a new meaning for persisting, a new understanding for determination. Hmmm, more on this in my next few blogs.
Thank you Laasya for making those 50, 60 attempts to just walk a few steps.
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