Taking First Steps
Photography by Yang Miao
My year-old grandson took his first solo steps this week. My son sent me the video. The child is standing and leaning on the couch next to his mother’s legs. The father is standing by a door and calls, “Come here, Buddy. Come here”. The toddler laughs, turns, and suddenly starts walking towards his father. He makes 6 or 7 steps before he falls and is scooped up by a beaming Dad.
Children don’t plan to start walking. Plans are great but they won’t get us walking. We learn by starting. We take that first step.
Across the decades of my life, I have been many things: a one-room school teacher; a pineapple picker; an actress, a children’s librarian; a pro se litigant winning 26 federal and district court cases (including patent infringement); made many solo journeys across the nation to understand my culture and create theater pieces; a radio producer; a shop owner; a kindergarten teacher; a storyteller in over 500 schools; a restaurant owner; a performance artist; a theater director; a cocktail waitress; a serial entrepreneur; a roofer; a director of a charity; a website designer, etc., etc. I had little or no plans to do any of the jobs and projects I undertook.
I am not bragging. Just like a toddler, we build on our experiences and survival instincts, not our plans. We take our first steps because life demands it.
Yes, I have plans for what I would like my art for charity website to become. Yet, I know something far more important than my plans:
We learn by doing. Doing demands effort.