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Talking it over -- 1-20-11

Baby steps

The other night I watched my ten-month-old granddaughter, Josie, take some of her first tentative steps. My immediate reaction was that she is growing up way too fast even as I clapped and cheered her on.

As I reflected on her baby steps, I thought about how many things in life are like taking baby steps. If we are wise in our decision making and actions, we would learn from the example of babies taking their first steps.

Josie was pretty careful about her first steps. She made sure she was hanging on to something solid and moved toward another solid object. A few times, such as when she saw her grandpa, she forgot about the distance and just headed in his direction, trusting that he would be there to help her along.

Life is much the same as those early lessons. We are given a good base to hold on to in our childhood and are constantly looking for another good base on which to establish our future. We cannot do this alone. Along the way we have to rely on family, friends, co-workers and sometimes even strangers to hold us up and guide us in the right direction.

Even though Josie took those first few steps, she didn't continue walking that night. Instead she often went back to what was tried and true - crawling. Similarly in life we sometimes need to take a step back and just crawl along. Plunging forward isn't always the best option, taking things slower and more confidently can bring better results.

At times that night I watched Josie as she would just sit and take in everything around her. She would giggle as her sister, Jaedyn, ran around and tickled her. She would put up her hands and smile sweetly as someone came near and could not resist picking her up. But most of all, she quietly watched and learned from everyone around her.

Here again we can gain a valuable lesson from a baby. Sometimes just watching, listening, asking questions and taking in a situation, is the best way to learn. Learning by doing is great but learning first and then doing can be much better.

Some of the best lessons in life are received at an early age. Take baby steps when approaching some important decisions and make sure you know everything about it before moving forward. Pretty soon those baby steps will grow into giant leaps and we can be confident that we have based our future on solid ground.