I was enjoying watching the chaos on the trampoline. Three 9-year-old boys were hoisting a yoga ball up and slamming it into each other with raucous laughter. It looked like (risky) fun.
Then my 3-year-old daughter wanted to join.
I unzipped the protective netting, made the boys give up the ball, and put her in with the stern instruction to “be careful with your little sister.”
She hung with them for a good 15 minutes, jumping, screaming, and making mayhem. And then, she hit her mouth on someone’s head and bloodied her lip.
Is the lesson here Don’t play with the big boys or you’re going to get hurt?
I don’t think so.
I’ve watched this second child constantly strive to keep up with her brother who is 5 years her senior. It’s accelerated her skills and her independence because she believes she can have what he does if she just applies herself. We drag her to his soccer practices and games all over Austin, and you know what? She can already handle a soccer ball.
There is something to surrounding yourself with people who are better than you are (for now). You rise to the occasion. You learn from good models. You have to believe in yourself.
It’s also riskier: you take chances that maybe you aren’t ready for and you might get a bloody lip. But, I think there is a lot of learning in that, too.
After crying, ice, and comfort, she wanted back in there.
Con claro: Surrounding yourself with colleagues who are moderately more advanced than you will sharpen you. Let it. Take some calculated risks, and balance all of your striving with periods of rest and comfort so that you don’t lose heart.