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Education

Watch this baby deliver a perfect 39-second lesson on the power of perseverance

This is more inspiring than a Ted Talk, honestly.

baby in a highchair eating with a spoon and fork

Baby learning to eat with a spoon and fork

Being the brand-new humans that they are, babies aren't experts in anything, right?

Eh, not so fast.

However unconscious they are of their own expertise, babies are arguably experts at learning, We grown-ups tend to complicate the learning process with a whole host of emotional and psychological complexities—negative thinking, unrealistic expectations, shame, embarrassment— which cause us to give up when learning a new skill gets hard.

But babies? Babies just learn, without all of that baggage. And there's a lot we can learn by observing them.


Case in point: This baby trying to eat a strawberry with a spoon.

In a video shared by Dan Wuori, Ph.D.,Senior Director of Early Learning at the Hunt Insitute, we see a baby in a high chair with a plate full of food, a spoon and fork. She picks up her spoon with a slice of strawberry on it and tries to put it in her mouth. But the strawberry falls off the spoon before it gets there.

She puts the spoon down, puts the strawberry slice back on it, then tries again. Again, the strawberry falls off before it reaches her mouth.

Then the same thing again. And again. And if we just look at her end goal—eating a strawberry with her spoon—she fails at it again and again. But she's learning. Watch how her patient persistence and perseverance pays off:

Now, she could have just picked up the strawberry with her fingers and saved herself from failing over and over again. But she was on a self-driven mission to use the tool she's seen the big humans use.

And rather than get frustrated and give up after it wasn't working, she kept at it. Without speaking a word, she says with her actions that she's determined and confident that she can do it. She hasn't learned yet that failure is frustrating or embarrassing. All failure is to her is a stage of the learning process.

It's also notable that the parent just watched (and giggled a bit) rather than intervening or coaching her. Some things are best learned by trial and error or just repeated practice, and often outside feedback can hinder that process more than help it. Even praise or cheering her on could have made the feat more about making Mom happy than about accomplishing the feat itself.

Good lessons to remember when we are learning something new. Be patient and confident. Don't let frustration or embarrassment get in the way. Keep trying. Don't give up.

In other words, learn like a baby.

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