Ani and Teagan are enjoying the start of their summer. I’m enjoying observing as they dig in. Today, they began taking some ice skating lessons, and I was very eager to learn how it went.
Teagan mentioned falling and skating and waving to her baby sister, Quinn, who watched from the bleachers.1
Ani mentioned falling, too, but in an entirely different way. She told me, in her “I’m a 1st grader now, and I know some things” sort of way, that before they went out on the ice, before they put on their skates even, that she and Teagan and her instructor talked about falling down, and what it should look like.
Actually, she showed me, which was funny. But I didn’t get the chance to take a picture, so imagine Ani squatting and leaning and falling in a way that didn’t lead to significant long term injury.2
It hit me pretty quickly that what her ice skating teacher did was really, really smart. I’m sure it was fueled partially by liability insurance requirement, and part compassion for children, but it was a really important lesson.
If you’re going to do pretty much anything worth doing, you’d darn well better be prepared to fall flat on your face. There’s risk in the places worth working for. And it’s worthwhile to know how to fall, how to land in a way that will minimize the long term harm to yourself.
Just as important, you’ve got to fall with a thought for how you’re going to get back up.
I hope you’re thinking about how to help people fall down thoughtfully. I hope that someone taught you about how to take a fall, and how to hop back up, raring to go. Are you preparing the folks you know and work and learn with to go down hard in ways that’ll lead towards more chances to, well, take chances?
You’d better be.
Ani’s sore tonight, but her next lesson’s on Wednesday. She fell down a bunch of times. So did Teagan. But someone showed them how to fall down, and how to stand back up. They can’t wait to go out on the ice again.
Bring it, ice skating. My daughters are ready.