Struggle First, Learn Later

Rachel - Sacramento, California
Entered on February 21, 2009

I sat watching one of the infants at work. As he struggled to find balance, his short, chubby legs quivered; he had fallen again. Wanting so desperately to stand and move his legs in a forward motion, he attempted to take hold of the closest tangible object to push himself up. He strived to walk. He reached his hands over to the toy farm house that stood only inches away from where he sat. His left hand made it to the white walls of the toy first. Seconds later, his right hand struck the same wall. He scooted closer to the toy. Once again, he tried lifting his knees from the floor to stand on his feet. He stood up for moment before falling down again. For the rest of the night, he crawled around with no anticipation of walking.

For an adult, a simple pace across the room seems involuntary now. A message sent from the brain to the legs lets the body know that it needs to get moving. Unfortunately for the baby, the communication between his brain and other body parts has not quite developed. Learning takes time. Eventually, the young baby will be able to walk, talk and do countless other activities effortlessly. As humans, we seem to follow this trend in most things we do.

Two years ago when my English teacher instructed me to write an essay, the final draft included many mistakes in grammar, spelling and structure. The portion of my mind that allows creativity did not function properly. I lacked the ability to “think outside the box”. Today, I enjoy writing; I plan to major in English and become an English teacher. Somehow in the last two years, I grew to understand writing and all of its components. I learned that a well-written essay included more then just words, but that it contained meaning and organization.

At some point, an activity that seemed impossible and relentless transforms into a natural function. Between infancy and childhood, the act of walking develops into a repetitive task done on a daily basis. Writing altered itself from a school chore, to a favorite past time. It may just take those first few slips or errors for a person to realize that struggling gives us the opportunity to succeed.