My son just turned three and we got him a balance bike. He loves his new bike and has spent hours riding it already.
He is normally very mistake-phobic. He does not like messing up, and will go out of his way to avoid doing things if he can’t do them perfectly (wonder where he got that from?).
But the balance bike has marked a change for him. Every time he’s fallen down (which is a lot), he gets right back up and says, “You can fall down.”
Then he looks to me for confirmation, and I affirm, “Yep, you can fall down and you just get right back up again. It’s okay to fall.”
As I was walking beside him this morning and he kept telling me how it was okay to fall down, I realized that I needed to take that lesson to heart.
We learn as children that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fail because we always learn from it and can keep going. But I think as we grow up (or as I grew up, being an anxious perfectionist), I unlearned that lesson.
While I have tried a lot of things in my life, many of them have been things I knew I would be good at. The past five years I’ve been doing a lot more things that frankly, I haven’t been so good at. I’ve been falling down a lot. And getting back up a lot. And lately? I’ve just been staying down. Tired of all the scraped knees, I’ve just been hanging out on the concrete, waiting for some adult to come pick me up.
Except there is no adult. I’m the only one who can pick me back up, and there is such relief in hearing my son’s new mantra and reminding myself of it too: You can fall down.
Yep. And so can you. You just get back up.