Most afternoons, I take our sons to a neighborhood park. Our two-year-old is fascinated by the basketball hoop there.
He will take our mini soccer ball out of the stroller, square up to the hoop, and shoot the ball. The hoop is regulation size, so his attempt falls well short. Sometimes it flies backwards over his head.
Two bits to note:
First: He loves this exercise. He knows he is not “doing it right,” but delights absolutely in the attempt.
Second: He is actually getting better. He is jumping and releasing the ball at (more or less) the right time. The ball flies a little higher.
When we start any new thing, we are not going to be awesome at it. A new flavor of empathy. Communication in a new context. Navigating the interior life after major life events. We will surely stumble. How could it be otherwise?
But if we accept the newness with joy and gentleness, a new world can open up. And absent this gentle joy, it can be very difficult to begin something new.