Bringing a baby giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls ten feet from it’s mother’s womb and usually lands on its neck. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its leg under it’s body.
From this position, it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from it’s eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces it’s offspring to the reality of life.
In his book, A View From the Zoo, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learn it’s first lesson.
The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing: She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, sending it sprawling head over heels.
When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the baby calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does something remarkable. She kicks it off it’s feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there’s safety.
Lions, hyenas, leopards all enjoy hunting young isolated giraffes, and if the mother didn’t teach her baby to get up quickly and get with it, it’d be easy prey.
NB: There is a common thread that runs through the lives of exceptional people. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified, and for years they get nowhere. But every time they’re knocked down they stand up. You cannot destroy these people.