Our daughter has been attempting to alternate between turning, crawling and sitting over the past few weeks. That means she often loses control and, occasionally, “falls” – i.e. hits her head on the floor with more force than she might expect.
While it likely hurts a bit, we’ve noticed that her first reaction is not to cry. Instead, it is to look at us. She generally has a shocked look that seems to say – “Something weird just happened. How am I supposed to feel about this?”
On our part, we’ve made it a point to smile, cheer and clap every time she falls.
So, when this happened a few days back, we did the same even though we muttered to each other – “Man, that must have hurt her.” But, voila, she saw our smiles and claps and had a thrilled look on her face too.
It was a powerful moment for me as two important lessons hit me. First, so much of early parenting is about the interaction effect between the parents and the child. It is like an improv act with very little dialog as we all play off each other.
Of course, this principle doesn’t just apply to parents but to the teams we work in as well.
And, second, so much of how we react to situations is based on subconscious assumptions of how we’re supposed to feel. The moment we let go of that and give ourselves the time to respond, magic happens.
Much to learn from kids, we have.