The Repetitions of Toddlers

We took our grand-daughter to the Busselton foreshore this afternoon. It’s a great place for kids. There were quite a few kids swimming in the enclosed sea-pool. There were adults strolling on the grass, enjoying Simmo’s ice-creams. The famous jetty was crowded with people, some just venturing out 30 metres to the kiosk, others making their way to the aquarium one kilometre out to sea.

Aurora turns two in just a few weeks, so she’s an active toddler. She enjoyed an ice-cream. She swallowed about 80% of it; she smeared the other 20% from face to toes like 50+ sun-cream.

We wandered off, expecting her to enjoy all the activity around her. We came across a three-step brick staircase designed in a wide semi-circle. Aurora’s eye glinted. She grasped the rail, and took herself down the three steps at the end. Then she toddled off to the centre to the next rail, and hauled herself up again. She was very pleased with herself. We were ready to move on, as adults always are, but she went back to the end, grasped the rail and hauled herself down again. Of course we applauded her.

Back to the centre rail and up again. Her grin was wide and infectious. Aurora was having fun, and she had Grandma and Grandpa’s attention. Over and over again. How many times? Seven times? No: seven times seven. Maybe seventy times seven. Well, actually, it was probably about seven to ten times.

Aurora & GP on the stepsBut toddlers do learn by joyous repetition. Climbing steps – today – was just the challenge Aurora needed, and it was far more compelling for her than the attractions of the Busselton foreshore.

In our humility we need to learn by joyous repetition too, as we are toddlers in God’s kingdom. The action that challenges me is forgiveness. I don’t do it automatically, just as Aurora instinctively knows an adults automatically climbs steps. I can only become a forgiving person if I practise like a toddler with obsessive repetition. How many times? Seven times? No. Seven times seven. Or maybe seventy times seven.

As a teacher, Aurora is in good company.