Ready, Steady, Stop!
I still remember the first race I won. Frog Jump.
I jumped on my thighs like a damn frog and I was better at it than anyone else. I got a gold medal for that. The Principal congratulated me on successfully making a fool of myself and jumping around like a frog because, yes, that is a skill which will help me for the rest of my life.
I also remember how I cried when I didn't win, trying to carefully balance a lemon on a spoon, stuck inside my mouth. I gave up at the start line. The girl who won? She had her eyes squinted on to that spoon through out and she didn't lose her concentration for even 1 second. The Principal congratulated her for successfully running around with a lemon in her mouth. I hope she is using that skill well now.
When I look back, it was all so stupid. When I was trying hard to keep that lemon on my spoon and I realized that one kid had already specialized the art of balancing and was racing away to victory, I stopped trying. Nothing, not even an ice-cream for an incentive, could force me to try again. And I know for a fact that when I won that frog race, there were kids in the back who didn't even get into the crouching position the first time they tried. I had reached the finish line before they could try again and they couldn't be bothered any more. (I know, right? I was that good.)
But could I have learnt something more from these races, however stupid and childish they were?
- From the frog race, could I have learnt to leap at every opportunity that came my way, even if my hands were tied?
- From the lemon-spoon race, could I have learnt to watch every word that came out of my mouth?
- From the three-legged race, could I have learnt that I would always have some baggage to drag along?
- From the Slow cycling race, could I have learnt that at times, I should take things slowly and apply brakes more often?
- From the fast walking race, could I have learnt to be fast, but at the same time, not run - balance competition with enjoyment?
- From the gunny sack race, could I have learnt to hold it all together, and yet move forward?
I could have, but I didn't. If I would have, I wouldn't be here, writing random blog posts. I would be writing self-help books and have to my claim, a fancy bio on Twitter.
But I know this, that when my kid runs one of these races, I will be the first to pin to the ground that teacher who stands at the finish line cheering the kids to come first. Instead, I will stand there and tell my kid, that winning is not important, learning is. I'll tell her that this is not the first race of her life, and definitely not the last. But it is an important race, because when she is 25, working in a fancy office and realizing that grasping opportunities is important, she will learn to her disappointment, that she cant jump like a frog. When she is 25 and lets her mouth run astray and say whatever comes to her mind, without balancing her words, she will realize to her dismay that she never learnt to balance lemons on those damn spoons.
So, learn now. Fall. Get up. Try again. Learn.
Learn to jump better than frogs, to balance lemons on needles, to drag dead weight at your feet, to walk fast and to jump in gunny bags. But learn. Don't win now. Lose. But learn.
Someone will always come first. You don't need to be that person. But if you don't learn now, you will never learn. And surprisingly, you will always find yourself facing situations where you will need these stupid skills.
Trust me on this.
That's what I will tell my kid. And she better take my advice! :D
That's my $0.02 for this week.
In other news, I am spending this weekend jumping around the house like a frog. What are you doing?