Parents, I think you know this baby elephant. She’s a playing and trying new things — she's in exploration mode; busy learning how things work in her world. (Those poor birds are getting a workout!)
And I think you know this mama elephant, too.
See her there, just keeping a quiet eye out from nearby, gently ready to pay more attention if she needs to? We'd say she has her lighthouse scanning beam on. Parents with your own busy baby elephants: you probably spend most of your time in this ready-to-notice mode, right?
A few moments later, we see mama elephant turn more active attention to her little one. Has she noticed baby getting a bit dizzy and starting to stumble? We might say that mama elephant is switching on her lighthouse illuminating beam, now.
And then suddenly, whoops! Baby trips and falls flat. Did she startle herself? Did she hurt herself? Does she feel confused or disoriented? Either way, we can tell she's in rough seas in this moment; because her busy exploring has stopped.
Right now there is something she needs, so her curiosity is on pause.
She turns to mama and mama’s there, ready to welcome her in for a little comfort, and time to settle. No doubt, as she feels 'topped up' on mama elephant time, this little elephant’s natural curiosity will bubble back up and she'll eventually feel brave enough to set out again for her next adventure.
Have you noticed that your child is usually at his most curious, playful and creative, and can concentrate best on his learning when he feels ‘topped up’ on your love? We all know it can sometimes backfire when we try to push or cajole our children into being more independent! We think this is because a child’s true confidence just naturally grows out of feeling safely held in mind by us, and relaxed in the knowledge that they will be welcomed back in by us, just as they are.