Other peoples’ babies get us thinking.
Thinking how happy we are not to be changing diapers. Also how amazing it is to be a little human being.
A baby’s main job is to learn; to discover their toes, wiggle and squirm, grab and drop toys, hear the sound of their own gurgle, pull themselves up and tumble on their padded bottoms.
Human beings move along a learning continuum that has one discovery building on the next. Some milestones are especially notable: first words, first steps, potty training, Ph.D. Others less so: discovering toes, popping a tooth, learning the alphabet, toenail fungus, credit cards.
Do we ever stop bumbling and making basic discoveries? Babies remind baby boomers how our pace of exploration and discovery can go kaput at some point in our lives. Yet there is more to learn now than when we were swaddling.
Why more? Because things are moving so fast. A futurist, Ray Kurzweil, said that “we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be 20,000 years of progress.” And we are already 20 percent into that century.
This isn’t something to like or dislike. It just is. Accept it. Our choice is how to adopt an attitude about it.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Professor Dumbledore tells Harry, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” What he’s saying is that our abilities may leave us behind. Our choices, however, could keep us relevant.
So we could save ourselves by making the right choices? That is comforting. And challenging.
Our task is to adjust to what we see, hear, and understand. Then be ready to adjust again.
That means we need to be ready to think differently all the time. If we’re in the horse collar business, we move into airless tires; if we’re in coal, we pivot to hydrokenetics. We’re still on the developmental continuum. But now we have to make choices, using our noggins as we never have before. Go, baby!