Lessons from a 4 year-old

Today is my daughter Lilli’s first day in primary school, so there’s been a lot of excitement in our house over the past few days.

It’s a milestone event in anyone’s life – we all remember our first day at school –  a day that’s loaded with emotion and sentiment.

Kids are excited and sometimes a bit apprehensive about doing something new for the first time.

Mums are both proud and strangely sad at the same time because it marks a realisation that their baby is most definitely no longer a baby and is growing up.

Dad is proud to see his little girl or boy is stepping out into the next stage of life.

It also serves as a reminder that life moves at a phenomenal pace and we need to embrace it or be left behind.


What I’ve drawn from Lilli’s excitement of going to big school, as she puts, it is that she has no real fear – she’s been attending nursery school three days a week for three years and she’s so comfortable there – she knows all the staff and other kids really well. She knows exactly what to expect, there are no surprises.

Today all that changed – she’s stepping into a new environment with all it’s differences, she will only know one other little boy who’s making the transition from the same nursery school to this primary school so  for the most part she’s going to be on her own.

But she’s not afraid – she’s excited.

Fearless tiger leaping

Her lack of fear and her excitement are her greatest allies – it’s this approach that helps her to grow quickly and easily. She’s stepping outside of her comfort zone and the familiar and leaping into a new and challenging environment.

Yeah, we know as parents that it’s a safe move, we’ve done the due diligence and risk assessments on her behalf. We would be remiss in our roles as parents if we hadn’t.


That’s the other factor at play here – Trust.

Lilli trusts us as her parents implicitly. We’re there to hold her hand and let her know that it’s OK when things go a bit wrong. We’re there to encourage her, to spur her on and to check first so that she’s free to leap on ahead. And we’re there to guide her as her comprehension of her environment grows so that she develops the confidence to access for herself that it’s OK to go on or when it’s clearly not a good idea.

Take a moment to consider our little ones striding out with confidence to meet new challenges on a daily basis – every day they’re taken a little bit out of their comfort zone so that they learn and grow.

When did we forget to do this?

When did we become so fearful of trying new things?

Often all we need to help us overcome that fear is a guiding hand from someone who’s been there already or to whom the landscape is familiar to let us know that it’s going to be OK. To encourage us to give it a go, to step outside that comfort zone and allow ourselves to grow.

Let’s take a lesson from our 4 year-olds and try something new today.

What do you say?

Do you agree or disagree? let’s open up the conversation in the comments.

Image: “Tiger Attack” by Helmut Lager

Alex Adams

Alex has been designing, developing and managing software projects since 1998. He is a multidisciplinary developer and has worked with a number of languages, technologies and frameworks. When he's not developing, he's a busy husband and dad who finds a bit of time to train for triathlon events.

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