One of my favourite sayings is 'The greatest journeys are made up of little steps, the most important being the first one' and over these past few weeks I have found that to be true.
My journey as a TinyTalk teacher began as a very hesitant 'older' mum with her 3 month old baby stepping into my local TinyTalk class and being warmly welcomed by Julia (the teacher). I was petrified. Most of the groups I had been to were either full of young mums (nothing wrong with that but when you really ARE old enough to be the 'grandmother' of the group it can put you off a bit) or mums who were onto their second or third child and knew everyone from previous baby and toddler groups. I have two children but with twelve years between them, the mums I used to know have long moved on from baby classes!!
On that sunny day in September 2010, I sat in the car and debated whether to go into Julia's class because Samantha had fallen asleep in her car seat. It would have been easy to make an excuse to go back home, I was convinced she was due a feed and I was sure her nappy could do with a change. It was only a 'try it and see' class. I hadn't paid out loads of money to attend it and it would be so easy to restart the engine and drive off.......
BUT I took that first step and here I am today on this amazing baby signing journey, meeting lots of lovely babies and their extended families and helping both the parents and the children on their first steps towards communicating with each other. It is happening too, some of the babies have now gained their first sign certificates, some are watching avidly as the signing is going on, and yet some seem to be taking no notice and even though they enjoy the songs they appear to refuse to sign back at an eager mum or dad.
I try to gently explain that sometimes our little ones are concentrating on a different skill, such as crawling or walking and sometimes they may be daunted by the class and will sign in a more one to one atmosphere, like Samantha did for months, much to my despair. I remember screeching 'she does sign honest, it's just she doesn't do it in public!' and yep as soon as no one was around she would grin and sign 'spider' or 'milk' or whatever wonderful sign we had been working on!! I even took to sneaking the camera out and trying to catch a 'snapshot' of her signing so that I could whip out my camera to 'prove' to all the doubting Thomases that she was signing and we were communicating. Honest.
And then, one day during the summer, she took her own first step on her great communication journey and signed in front of someone else. Yeah!! Result!! Since then there has been no stopping her and now I have the task of trying to work out the lovely signs that she has 'made up' herself. (a whole blog in itself!)
If I had driven away on that September morning I wouldn't be sitting here at some silly hour writing this, I wouldn't be running classes that I thoroughly enjoy, I wouldn't have met so many lovely people both in class and out of class (people are quite curious and I have been stopped in the street and asked what I do when I've been wearing my TinyTalk shirt) and most of all I wouldn't have the same loving, funny, quirky, happy relationship that I have with my daughter.
So in a nutshell - whatever you are trying to do be it a charity raising event, a new hobby, an evening class or even asking that person out on a date - it could result in being the Greatest Journey of your Life, all you have to do is take that one little step.........