Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Never Gonna Keep Me Down November 29, 2014

It started so very small. A couple of baby steps a few weeks ago was all it took to get the proverbial ball rolling. Each day since then, the steps have gotten bigger and gone farther, as they tend to do with practice. Meanwhile, I stand by and watch it all unfold.

It can only be described as persistence. Or maybe stubbornness. What I’ve been witnessing around here is truly a study in little person behavior. It’s nothing new, as I know it happens to most babies. But it’s new to me, and what I’m learning from watching it all unfold is surprisingly insightful.Feeling Thoughtful

What stands out to me most prominently is how much trial and error is involved in the process of dear baby Carter learning how to walk. He has these unmistakable bursts of energy when all he does is walk. And fall. And walk. And fall. The process is one that has involved as many falls as it has steps, which I’d like to say are getting easier for all of us to see. But really it’s still hard to stand on the sidelines, fully capable of walking, and watch this dear little being struggle so desperately.

Especially today, when the poor little guy just couldn’t catch a break. Sure, he walked farther than he did yesterday. But he fell too. A lot. And he kept bumping his little head on things as he did it. Nothing scary enough to worry about, but I’m not going to lie to you. It was pretty tough to see.

What there is to be learned from all of this, though, is no small feat. First of all, starting small and building slowly is a recipe for both short- and long-term success in my book. Beyond that, persistence is virtue. He gets knocked down, he falls out of balance, he stumbles. We all do. But he gets back up every single time. No matter what. And he keeps going.

Life has a way of tripping us up from time to time. Making us lose our footing. Maybe even causing us to call into questions choices or decisions we’ve made. The way I see it, none of this happens without a cause. A good one. Perseverance. From the ground up, that is the word I would use to summarize what I’ve been witnessing around here.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish,” said American president John Quincy Adams. While I have mixed feelings about patience, I do believe in the power of perseverance. That’s why I know in my heart Carter will soon be walking without an issue. Challenges will never stop getting in the way, but with enough passion and drive they don’t stand a chance.

 

Get Back Up Again August 15, 2014

If it were me, I might have given up by now. Though I can’t say that’s entirely true because I do suppose I must have gone through something similar at some point in my puppyhood. But in light of the recent exodus of dear baby Carter and his mobility, this has been a sight to be seen. Backyard shenanigans

Just a few weeks ago, at the tender age of around six months, he started crawling. A few weeks before that, rolling was his preferred method of transportation. And now I can honestly say I think he is going to be walking soon. Mind you, he is seven months old, and from what I understand this is very early for such a thing to occur in terms of developmental milestones.

Nonetheless, it’s all happening very quickly around here. But, like any journey, there are bumps along the way. And, in this case, there are a lot of them. Just out of curiosity, I attempted today to count the number of times Carter pulled himself up on something, stepped toward it, stood there for a bit, and fell down. I lost count at 56, and that was at about 3 p.m. so I’m certain there was at least a dozen or so more attempts.

Some falls looked more painful than others, but he did not falter. He got back up again and again and again.

The more I thought about it, I realized that I of course must have gone through something similar as a puppy where I fell down figuring out my paws. But as I watched Carter pull himself up on his activity center for the dozenth time, I saw something in his eyes. Determination. Strength. Maybe even a slight hint of stubbornness. Most importantly, there was a sense of perseverance.

And as American Roman Catholic priest Walter Elliot suggested, “perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.”

Dear baby Carter might fall down every single time he tries, but his journey doesn’t end there. He gets back up. Again and again, he doesn’t give up. And I’m fairly certain at this point he never will. I only hope I can find ways to teach him as much as he is already teaching me.