The first day my baby came to live with us I knew life wouldn’t be the same as before. There’s a new guy in the house who’s going to call off the shots. Who’s going to dictate the pace of our lives and all the while trying to take our attention from us to himself. I wasn’t scared of all these. What I was scared was the pace with which I had to learn my new role as a father. Parent.
All of a sudden, my wife and I are something than the lovers and friends we used to be. She’s now a mother. Parent. I am now a father. Parent. Under the shade of this new role we had to find space and practice being the lovers we used to be before this new guy came in.
That notwithstanding, we also have to learn the ways of this new guy so we could make his stay as comfortable for him as ourselves. He’s the stranger with an attitude. Uncompromising one as such. In the process of trying to know who this new boy is and what he likes and not, we learned other things of life too.
We learned these:
#1. Crying is a language
I speak only two languages and I have dreams of learning other languages too. I’ve heard people speak to me in a language that I don’t understand. What happen is, I humbly draw their attention to the fact that I don’t understand the language. They usually change to a language we both could speak. The story ends there.
This new guy has a language nobody understands; crying. When he cries there’s something wrong. You have to figure out what is wrong and fix it for him. So we’ve become the fixers of his insinuations—his unpleasant hints.
At large we are all fixers. Fixers of broken dreams, disappointments and life gone bad. Living a proactive life is to fix these worries before they become huge problems. So we operate on a hint. We get the hints of impending problems, then we put things in order to avert the problems. We are all running at the beck and call of life’s cry. It cries to us. It gives us the hint. Then we set to work and fix it. Fixers.
#2. It’s ok to fall sometimes
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, I’ve learnt that babies are good at falling. They never stop falling. They fall, it hurts them and they cry. You pick them up and the next moment they are falling again. So I asked; “why do we grow up and decide to have nothing to do with falling?”
We begin to build safety nets around us so when fall we are safe. We don’t want to fail. We don’t want to fail in businesses. We don’t want to fail in relationships. We don’t want to fail in life. We play everything safe. We play it safe so we don’t have to fall and feel the hurt we felt when we were babies.
When babies sit and fall back, mostly there is a hand to catch him. There’s a cushion to make his fall less painful. He doesn’t know that. He falls anyway. Then he knows it’s not always hurtful. Fall sometimes. Learn to fall without safety nets. Take the risk. Take the plunge. Who knows, you might even fly. But if you don’t fall, how do you know you can fly?
#3. Everything is a friend
In the world of babies, there are no walls to keep people in and others outside. Everyone is welcome. Everything that presents color is loved by the baby. The environment and everything there is a friend and that makes the baby’s world.
Who is in your world? Have you built a wall to keep people out thinking safety is found in solitude? Everyone is a friend even those who hurt you. They are the reason you learn. They are the reason you know what’s bad for you. Make friends with the world and you’ll never be alone nor lonely. Share your space with a friend and they will bring you lessons to learn.
#4. Do it how YOU want it to be done
Babies are unyielding. It is always their way or they cry. The two languages babies know too well: Let me do this or I cry all day. They always want to have it their way. Your 30 years experience tells you it’s wrong. It wouldn’t end well if you let them do it the way they wanted it. But their 6 months to 1 year experience tells them you are wrong. They have to have it their way.
If we all allow ourselves to live life the way we wanted to without bowing to social pressures and the need to satisfy others, we would have become masters of things greater than ourselves. But when we were young, that kind of adventure was beaten out of us. So we learned to conform. Then our creativity and the uniqueness of our will dies. We grow and we become just like any other person.
Victory comes from doing it your own way. Failure too. But if we don’t do it our way or the way we wanted it to be done, the end results become just like anything else that anybody has done. Nothing new—just conformity.
#5. Curiosity doesn’t kill after all
Immediately a baby’s perception grows, he wants to know everything. It is only through curiosity that a baby gets a grasp of what things are and what they are for. A baby will employ all his senses in trying to know what everything is—he will watch things, touch things, taste them so he knows if he can be interested in. They do this without fear. They go all out to know.
But we know curiosity kills the cat. We are scared of dying. We don’t want to share the fate of the cat that was curious. So we stay back and enjoy the breeze of our comfort zone. But what have we ever known without being curious? At first I wanted to draw so I got curious in the works of the masters. I asked questions and applied the knowledge from the answers I got. Then I started drawing. Each stroke of the pencil got me asking—being curious until I could do a portrait.
What made Robert Frost took “the road less travelled by”? Maybe he thought “If I could take this road, then I would end up knowing what nobody has ever known because no body travels this road.” That’s the essence of curiosity—to know and to learn what others wouldn’t know because they were not curious enough.
#6. Joy comes from little things
When a baby is happy, usually it’s about the little things. It doesn’t take too much to make a baby smile, giggle or laugh out loud. When he’s well fed, he’s happy. When he’s in a comfortable diaper, he smiles. Just making weird faces at a child is enough to make his day. It’s not always about the big things.
We too can find joy in our everyday lives. Cars and mansions are good. A lot of money is a lot of security. If you don’t have it, there are other things you can tap into and make your heart swell. Nature provides us with a lot of beautiful opportunities if only we are looking and paying attention, we can have our happiness sorted. A baby watches, and he’s happy. Just watch.
Pay attention to everyday little things and people around you. These are the source of happiness we let go in the pursuit of pleasures that are hard to find.
#7. When you’re sleepy, it’s time to sleep
The light goes off at some point in time. When it’s time for the baby to sleep, he does just that. When they are hungry, they’ll signal it and be fed. There’s time for everything. Satisfy the needs of the moment. Don’t postpone. Don’t hold it until another day.
Time is not unlimited. We ought to plan life in such a way that everything falls in its place at the right time. In our work, when we feel it’s time to give it more than we are currently doing to succeed, we ought to. When we have to do something else to gain another thing, we shouldn’t postpone. Life is now. It’s only now, in time that we could do something.
When its time comes, let’s not have a reason not to fulfill. We should do everything in its time. Like the baby will eat when he’s hungry, so we should put in hard work when we hunger for success.