This morning my two year-old was trying to build a tall tower with his toy bricks. Every time he got so far, the tower collapsed nd he would pick up all of the bricks and start again. As I watched him, it struck me that, although I’m the adult (ha!) and I’m the one who’s supposed to be teaching him, there is equally as much that he can teach me.
He has so much determination for someone so small. When he was learning to walk, he would take a couple of steps, and then fall on his bum. Every single time, he would get back on his feet and try again. I doubt he ever thought about giving up. I bet he never sat there and thought ‘Maybe I’m not meant to walk, I’ll just sit here forever.’ Of course, after a lot of hard work, he managed to make it across the room and now, there’s no stopping him. (Really, I’ve tried.)
I’m not nearly as determined. If I have a story rejected, I spiral into self-doubt, and spend hours contemplating whether I’m cut out to be a writer. I don’t just jump up and try again, sometimes, it takes me a while to dust myself off and get back to it. Hard word and determination do pay in the long run. Let’s face it if being a writer, (or anything for that matter) was easy, everyone would be running round with book deals, wouldn’t they? We’ve got to keep getting up and trying again and finally, we’ll master it.
Yes, I can hardly believe I’m typing this, but my toddler’s concentration is also something to be admired. I know, he can have a shorter attention span than an intellectually challenged goldfish with amnesia, but he does have a tendency to concentrate when he wants to. Often it involved Pingu or Thomas the Tank Engine, but also when he’s drawing or colouring. With his tongue poking out, he gets on with what he’s doing without being distracted.
I get distracted, a lot. I’ll sit down to write and half an hour later I’m still on Twitter. The internet is my number one biggest distraction. I know I’d get things done much easier, if I just got on with it. As I’m typing this I have Twitter, Facebook and my emails open and I’m supposed to be putting in a grocery order. The toddler does one thing at a time and gives it his full attention before moving on. If I (or we?) did the same, I’m guessing we would be a lot less stressed and the results would be incredible.
I’ll admit it I’m nosy. I love watching people. My favourite part of Summer, is wearing sunglasses, so people can’t tell I’m staring observing. I also shamelessly listen into people’s conversations. Sometimes though, as I’m rushing around, I fail to notice what’s really going on. The toddler, on the other hand sees everything. Anyone who has spent more than sixty seconds in his company lately, will attest to this, as he not only sees, he tells everyone else about it. Whether it’s a tractor, a cat, or a little boy wearing a blue jacket, he sees everything.
I can’t be the only one who rushes around without stopping to look, and as an aspiring writer, this is quite a problem. So many times, someone will say ‘Oh,did you notice….?’ and I’ll have completely missed it. I’m also really good at not seeing or hearing people waving and shouting ‘Hello’. But, I should be noticing things around me more. I’m sure I could at least double the number of ideas I have if I spent less time worrying about little things and more time just noticing what is going on around me.
My son is fearless. Last year, I took him to an indoor play centre for the first time when he was about 18 months old. He ran straight in and headed to the top of the over fives area. Kicking off my boots, I ran to ‘rescue’ him, clambering up and squeezing through a tunnel to get him before he could injure himself. By the time I’d caught up with him, he was flying down the slide, head first. I followed. He was fine, I was a nervous wreck. He ran straight round for another go while I begged for Valium.
I’m a wimp. I get nervous trying new things and going new places, especially if I’m on my own. I have done some brave things in my time, but I certainly don’t rush into these things. Fear stops me from doing a lot, especially with regard my writing. Sometimes, I think we all need to just fling ourselves down the slide and not worry too much about the consequences and without a second thought that we may end up looking *gulp* silly!
So there we have it, my new role model is my son. I’m guessing I displayed similar characteristics when I was his age, and I’d happuly bet that most of you did too. I’m not sure what happens along the way as we grow up and lose these qualities that seem to come so naturally to is as children, but I do think we should try to regain them. So go on, go and act like a two year-old!