Fear of falling (HLD 123)

23 July 2020

It’s my grandson day today, and because there was a sustained period of blue skies this morning, we headed off to a couple of different playgrounds.  

Notwithstanding that the wind was blowing a gale, we both had a lovely time. Both of the playgrounds were suitable for his age group so there weren’t too many incidences of Grandma being scared stiff that the kid would fall off something. A couple, but not too many.

At one stage Gorgeous George decided he would climb a fairly vertical ladder with four wide apart steps. I waited patiently with hand outstretched waiting for him to realise that this is something probably beyond his age gap.

But he didn’t. He kept climbing.

It merged in my brain with the return to our television shortly of the Ninja Warrior program. Adults who see it as perfectly reasonable to expect themselves to be able to hold their body weight by one hand, or leap a big distance and grab hold of something with your fingertips,  and do stuff that most of us realise we couldn’t, and let’s face it most likely would never want to, do.

When do we lose that absolute trust in ourselves to be able to do something? Yes initially I mean physically but it stems out into a mental realm as well.

When do we stop looking at a cliff face thinking “That looks interesting – I’ll climb that!”. Or looking at a 25km jogging track thinking “Yep I’ll just go for a quick run”??? Or assuming we could hold our body weight in one hand while reaching for something just beyond arms length with the other hand?

Do we try, or do we find means to assist our efforts first? Look for safety measures? Get a ladder? Look for coffee shops and/or defibrillator machines along the jogging path?

How many times do we fall before we start to realise that while some people have the ability to do that particular thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we can. And that the hurt or embarrassment from failure is too much to risk?

I was very ready for George to slip today. Fortunately small slips are just met with a fairly pragmatic “Uh Oh” and are not a major production. There was another section of a playground with a fairly steep sloping wall leading up to a slide. There were steps carved into the slope also, and it took four “Uh Oh” attempts at the sloped area before he realised that the steps were a better option. They still weren’t easy, but they were doable.

If you need encouragement to push yourself a little further than your brain tells you that you can, let me know and I’ll bring you to the playground with us next time.

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