Cheering first steps!
She fell down. But right away, she planted her hands on the floor, stuck her butt in the air, and stood up again. She toddled three steps into her daddy’s arms. More applause! The delight on her face made our hearts sing.
My other granddaughter struck off on her own that same day. Each time they visit our acreage, we walk to the prairie to see what’s new. On every previous trip, Hannah has needed my encouragement to venture into the prairie jungle. I always encouraged her to step in boldly, but I always had to point out openings she could get through and push plants out of the way.
As we walked to the prairie this time, I asked, “Do you think we can find a path?” She walked right up to the prairie and said, “There’s one, Grandma!” And she didn’t wait. She pushed through, clearing the path herself, stepping boldly around, over or on anything in her way. I cheered. How wonderful to see the new confidence that has grown in just a few months.
After they left, I thought a lot about ‘firsts’ and why they’re so important to us. We cheer the big firsts – the first man to walk on the moon, the first black child to attend a white school, the first woman to become the CEO, the first same-sex couple to marry. We also celebrate individual firsts even though those firsts have been accomplished by millions before us – the first step, the first time we drive a car, the first novel an author publishes.
Each first represents breaking a barrier. Whether the barrier broken is individual, technological or societal. In doing something once, we learn. We gain confidence. We have faced the challenge and overcome it. We come to believe we can do it again. And so we celebrate.
Eliza took her first steps. Now she knows what we all learn from doing that first hard thing. By trying and trying she learns. By trying and trying she can succeed. There will be no stopping her now!