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Falling to Move Forward: Life Lessons from My 6 Month Old

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It’s remarkable how much you can learn from observing a baby. I have a 6 month old son at home and not only is he a constant source of entertainment and sleep deprivation, but I’m also learning so much as I watch him explore and interact with his environment.

Right now, my son is learning how to crawl, but he hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Yesterday, my husband and I were observing him as he was on all fours determined to make his move. However, he hasn’t figured out how to move his hands forward, so he just kind of rocks back and forth. We’d been watching him for a while when we realized that even though he wasn’t moving his hands, he was somehow moving forward!

We were baffled! How had he managed to progress in our direction without using his hands? That’s when I realized it was because he kept falling. Every time he stumbled, he would fall forward onto his chest. Then when he pushed himself back up onto his hands, he was a little bit further along than he was before.

Watching my son reach for this milestone, got me thinking about life in general. In life, when we fall, we often end up further along on the path than we were when we started, even if we don’t realize it. We all live in so much fear of failing or messing up. We worry about what it will mean about us if we try something and don’t immediately succeed. But isn’t falling just evidence that we’re trying?

In order to learn and grow, we have to stumble along the way. We can learn an important lesson from babies: when they fall they get back up and try again and falling helps them progress forward in some way. They don’t question the journey, they just keep learning and growing.

Maybe you’ve been hard on yourself lately. Is there an area in your life where you’re not doing as well as you hoped? Or maybe you’re avoiding getting started on a goal or a dream out of the fear of failing. I urge you to take a moment to remind yourself of this: Falling is just evidence that I’m trying and it helps move me forward in my life even if I bruise a few elbows along the way. Movement is always better than stagnation.

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