My Bubby (Bubbly Baby) Hannah was in her 10th month of being adorable when she turned away from playing on her drum to crawl towards the stairs leading up to the kitchen. Until that time she had been content to explore the area within a short crawl of where ever we set her down. Today she was on a mission, answering a calling to seek new heights, to boldly go where no baby had gone before.
To support her first expedition to this new plateau of discovery, I dutifully assumed the role of Sherpa guide and spotted her for safety. You could see the determination in her face as she approached what was to be her first ascent up seven steps to her world’s Everest summit, our kitchen.
The first step up from the base camp was the easiest. Her clear intention merged with focused determination and was supported by the good grip off the carpet. Her desire paid off. First step conquered
The second step needed a plan. What does she do now? Right hand or left to lead? With a bit of trail and error her plan paid off and she figured out a system that best supported her goals. Second step conquered.
The third step required her to bring all her skills to the task and took a bit longer. Palm flat on the step above seemed to give the best grip but her knee kept slipping back. Both hands up got the best results. She brought all her skill and talent to the task. Third step conquered.
Attempting the fourth step you could see and hear the frustration setting in as she slipped back from the first attempt. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to push up built up more frustration. Tired? Discouraged? For what seemed like 5 minutes she fussed and fretted. I got the urge to rescue her, to scoop her up and call it quits to try another day. But this was an opportunity and I believed in her and realized she had made it this far and had proven she everything needed to succeed, the desire, the strategy and the talent. At this moment, in the face of setbacks, she lacked the courage.
I went from Sherpa guide to supporting Dad and grabbed one of her favourite toys within reach and enticed her with the “you can do it” dance at the 7th and top step. I added some good old fashioned side lines “Ra Ra Sis Boom Ba” coaching and she shook off her tizzy and plopped her open palm down with all her might on that elusive fourth level. With a dynamic move worthy of photo finish she hoisted her little 25 lbs up to that step and never looked back. The subsequent steps were easily mastered with her new confidence being bolstered at every level of success. Fourth step conquered and ain’t nothing holding back this Sista!.
I cheered and clapped as she got to the top and she mimiced my clapping for her own piece of the celebration of the best of the human spirit. I was so proud of her achievement and realized this was only one of many that I can look forward to as a parent in the years ahead.
What about you? Do you find yourself with the first 3 steps of a desire, a plan and the talent but get frustrated when the going gets tough? When was the last time you had to dig deep to conquer fear or self doubt and in the face setbacks? How deep do you need to go to find attitude of courage needed to conquer the 4th step? All the best as you master your everyday Everest challenges and may those who love you stand proud beside you.