Persistence: Lessons From a Toddler
Warning; you need a bit of patience to fully benefit from this week’s lesson. Carefully watch the YouTube video on this link at the bottom image:
It lasts a bit more than six minutes, but hopefully you’re as patient as the baby. Lily Rose, my granddaughter, spent time at the park with Dad, and found a treasure. Four tennis balls! What’s amazing is the persistence and tenacity of a seventeen month old girl, striving for a goal of gathering up and holding four tennis balls. Keep in mind a toddler usually has the attention span of an amoeba.
Some noteworthy things as you watch. Her father is a very positive person, and so is her mom. Listen to his narrative. He started out completely positive. “This is Lily and her talented ‘three tennis ball holding technique.’” Very cool. But what did he say at fifteen seconds? Hmm. At 49 seconds he gave her wise fatherly advice, very good. But at :52, 1:43 and 1:50? Wow.
His narrative was also laced with positives. “Guarantee she’s going to try!” “Four tennis balls. This is Lily’s lucky day.”
What about Lily? Watch her think this through. She tried picking them up from the bench, then moved the project to the ground. At 2:25, disaster! Lily tried to get ball number three and repeatedly kicked it to the other end of the tennis court. Think about this. Lily chased the ball to the furthest extent of her world. She’s never been any farther away from Dad or Mom than this. Yet she got the ball and returned to the project.
And what did Lily say at 4:05? It sure sounds like she said, “This is impossible.”
I think the key to her success (besides her tenacity) is her Dad’s encouragement at this statement. He says, “It’s not impossible, you can do it.” What a great opportunity for Lily, a father who tells her he believes in her.
She looked below the bench for a different perspective (5:04), as if to see from every angle just how she can overcome the challenges of four round balls. Soon after that, success!
What are the lessons here? Set a goal that is beyond your perceived capacity.
Hang in there, even if you’re the one kicking the ball to the other end of your universe.
Find every possible way to achieve your goal. Sometime the answer isn’t what you assume. Lily knew she needed bigger hands to hold the balls, so she used her shoulder, hands and cheek instead.
Finally, the cheering. “Yay Lily, Yay! Good job Lily!” (5:55) We could all use a bit of that now couldn’t we? Whether it’s Dad, Mom, a sibling or friend, we crave the praise for a job well done. Listen to the positive affirmations; forget the negative ones. Find someone who tells you they believe in you. Be the one who believes in someone else.
God made us with the ability to do far more than we think. Let’s push for more than we believe we can do. Shoot, even a toddler can push the limits.