The truth is I didn’t have any doubts at all. I knew Bayla would make it and I knew that everyone would be surprised that she was able to do it so easily. How did I know? Bayla has a zest for life which is unparalleled and truly uncanny. Her life is action packed and filled with energy from the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to bed. This isn’t necessarily because of outside factors, but because of how she fully embraces each and every minute. For Bayla, it’s not that she is ready to accept any challenge willingly knowing that she might fail but that she will give it her all. Rather for Bayla there is no challenge, no attempt; only success.
As adults, when we see someone doing a task which we can’t do but are interested in, we know that although the person engaging in the activity makes it look easy, there is a great deal of hard work involved, and we may not be as successful if we attempt to do the same thing. For example: I know someone who plays the piano, and they are an amazing piano player. In fact, when they play it is as if their fingers glide effortlessly across the keys making it look so simple; as if anyone could do it. However, I know that the person has put in countless ours of practice and worked extremely hard to become so proficient. I know that I can’t just sit down and start playing as well as he can. Furthermore, because I’m aware that so much time and effort will need to go into learning to play, and ultimately I still might not be successful; I choose not to even start.
Kids are different. They have no boundaries; and if you foster their thirst for life, their commitment to be themselves, and their abandonment of the idea of failure; then they have no other choice but to succeed. There is a park near our which we frequent, and not far from the swings and the slide is a skateboard park. During dinner a few days ago Bayla asked me if I have a skateboard. When I told her no, she asked if I knew anyone that did have one. I told her that her Uncle had one. Bayla asked if she could call her Uncle and ask him if she could borrow his skateboard the next time she sees him. I said of course she could call him and ask and that I was quite sure that he would say yes. I looked at her quizzically and asked with one eyebrow raised, “Bayla….why do you need a skateboard?” She confidently answered, “Because the next time we go to the park I’m going to skateboard like the people we saw at the park the other day.”
There was no hesitation, no worry, and certainly no doubts. My 4 year old daughter was going to skateboard; no ifs, ands, or buts. She wasn’t going to try; she was going to do. This doesn’t mean that she was going to be the best skateboarder at the park, or even that she would enjoy doing it after a few minutes. The essential point though is that she was going to do it, and nothing was going to stop her; certainly not herself.
Imagine if we began to live our lives the same way. Now that the holiday season is over and the excitement, hustle and bustle, and non-stop action is over we have a choice. How do we want to embrace the new year? Will we make it a year of: I really want to learn Torah and do more mitzvahs, but I’m unsure if I can (and I’m afraid to try because I might not succeed). Or, we can make it a year of: I’m going to learn Torah and do more mitzvahs and put every ounce of my being into the experience (I’ll worry about success later; better yet I won’t worry at all)!
Let’s make this a year of ‘I can’ rather than a year of ‘I’ll try’. Because if ‘I can’ and ‘you can’ then the ‘I’ becomes ‘we’ and together nothing can stand in our way; even ourselves.