I had returned home from work and had planned on going for a jog when my four-year old daughter began begging to go with me. I was putting on my running shoes while attempting to help her understand that she couldn’t go jogging with me because she wouldn’t be able to keep up.
She began arguing with me with a type of determination only a four-year old is capable of mustering.
“Daddy, you just won’t let me show you that I can do it. I can do it but you just won’t let me show you that I can. I know I can do it. Why won’t you let me show you that I can do it?”
I was both inspired and humbled by her tenacity and self-belief. I thought to myself, “How in the world am I going to tell her no?” So I told her to get some shorts and shoes on.
And to my utter amazement, she ran non-stop for 1.25 miles. She was breathing heavily. Her cheeks were rosy red and she was perspiring.
When I told her we were done she said she wanted to keep going. I think she was still trying to prove something to me. I told her that I now knew she could keep going. And I promised her that I would never again tell her that she couldn’t do something.
She then said something to me that to this day pierces my heart, “Daddy, I’m sorry I didn’t keep up.”
You see, I had chosen to run just a couple steps ahead of her to make sure that if she was going to do it she was going to have to give it her all. And consequently, she didn’t realize what she had just accomplished.
In fact, she thought she had failed.
It was at that moment that I kneeled down to her, looked her in the eye and told her that I couldn’t have been more proud of her.
This experience has made me wonder how often we fail to recognize and appreciate our accomplishments and to think instead that we have failed.
I also wonder why we ever allowed the fire within us to go out. We don’t dream big anymore. And we don’t think we’re capable of accomplishing much either.
It is as if we’ve bought into the idea I was attempting to sell to my daughter: the idea that we can’t do it.
But what would happen if with eyes to see we adopted the same attitude and mentality of a four-year old little girl that we can do it and all we need is the opportunity to prove it?