I spent a very enjoyable weekend with my family, including my little 17-month-ish old niece. She was a bundle of energy and kept running from room to room trying to be the center of attention everywhere all the time! During one of her sprints, she tripped and fell pretty hard, but the tears had not yet come. Rather than running to console her, Steve and I clapped and cheered and told her what a good thing it was! She looked at us in confusion, tentatively clapped, and then started laughing with us instead of crying. Surprised that actually worked, Steve continued smiling and clapping while saying, “Kids are so dumb.”
It is quite silly to let other people’s reactions convince you you’re not actually hurt, and it doesn’t take much growing up before we learn to think for ourselves a little better than that.
But it remains a constant temptation to fall into what other people think and feel rather than figuring out things for yourself. While it’s all well and good to allow others to lift you up, and to empathize with others when they’re in pain, don’t be dumb.