Learning to Grow
My niece is a bit of a hero mother. She and her family were over for dinner on the weekend and her two little ones, her little boy less than 2 years old and baby girl just 9 months old, were having a grand time.
While her older brother was having a wonderful time exploring (after dinner, good manners), his sister decided she would explore too. She took her first steps at our place some weeks ago and last night she was standing between chairs, holding on, going up and down, taking steps between chairs and moving around the dining table finding laps to sit on and cuddle with and then going back down to crawl towards her brother's adventuring. He would also frequently come to check on her.
Mum and Dad, meanwhile, never fussed, but just took great delight in swinging the children around, getting down and playing with them, laughing at their exploration, while also praising their efforts and gently correcting when needed ("No, no climbing on the coffee table. Come off.")
The hero bit on my niece's part? Calmly letting her kids try, make mistakes, being there for them and passing them around the family for lots of cuddles and playing together.
The salutary lesson? Encouragement, letting people make mistakes, praising progress, challenging them to learn while guiding and correcting against errors all lead to confident growth.
If any one of us is to grow, we need to take these same attitudes, take the effort, devote the resources and energy, make mistakes and learn. And we need to help others do the same.
Treating others around you - staff, colleagues, superiors, customers and contacts - as people who learn and grow is not infantilizing them, it's helping them become fully human.