My youngest son Colton turned one year old a few weeks ago. As with most one year olds, he’s learning to walk. It’s an amazing process to behold as a parent. It’s also a truly magnificent example of how learning and achievement works.
As probably most parents do, the “training” we’ve been doing to teach Colton to walk involves my wife and I sitting on the floor about 6-8 feet apart and having him walk back and forth between us. He has no problem walking that distance when we are on the floor with him. When he starts his trek back and forth, I noticed that he sets his eyes on whoever he’s walking to and he takes off without abandon to make it to his target. We then reward him with hugs and kisses. And we repeat the process.
What I noticed a few days ago, is that while he seems to have no problem making it 6-8 feet back and forth between mommy and daddy, he doesn’t seem to walk more than a couple steps any other time of the day. He’s hesitant when he tries to walk on his own and he usually ends up dropping to his knees and crawling to his next destination. As I watched this, it occurred to me that the difference between the two situations was that when he’s walking between the two of us, he’s setting a target and walking to his target. The rest of the time, he may be just trying to walk without too much thought about where he’s going. And his results are quite different.
It struck me that this was a stark and powerful example of the importance of having purpose and goals in our lives. It remains true for me to this day that when I have a target, my progress towards that target is intentional and steady. When I lack a target, I flounder. Having a purpose or goal or target or objective can make all the difference.