Ask any child what their favorite summer activity is and more often than not they will answer exuberantly, “swimming!” I loved the pool so much that I was on the swim team, became a lifeguard, taught swim lessons and was a swim coach. The neighborhood pool is an incredible place for family bonding, learning and development if we’ll let it be. For a few weeks I want to talk about lessons that can be learned at the swimming pool to make sure we’re getting the most out of our summer fun!
One of my earliest memories with my father was learning to dive. He also claims to have taught me to swim, but I don’t remember that, I’m even told that I gave credit to someone else. I do, though, remember my pink bathing suit, orange floaties on my arms and my dad in the water in front of me encouraging me to jump. That initial leap was terrifying! Could I be certain he was going to catch me if I couldn’t get back up? Was I skilled enough to jump to the correct place? What if by some fluke I fall backward and bust my head? I was aware, though, that my father knew more than I did about swimming, about the pool, and about what I could do and so if he thought I could dive I knew that I could. Even after my first successful dive I had fear and anxiety taking the second and the third leaps, but eventually I began to have confidence no longer in my father’s ability to save me, but in my ability to come back to the top.
The pool is a great place to learn as a child that there are people in your life who know more than you do and who are there to help you up when you fall. The pool can teach you that there’s always fear and anxiety associated with taking a leap, whether it’s off the diving board, into a new job or into a new relationship. This anxiety, though, cannot hold you back from the leap, but should be an indication that you are about to do something exciting. The pool also taught me that it is wise to seek counsel before taking the leap. There have been people placed in our lives who love us, like our family, and people who are trained to see the bigger picture, like lifeguards, counselors and mentors, who we should consult with to see if we are taking the right leap and at the appropriate time.
It is crucial to our children’s development to encourage them to take those leaps despite the fear, while seeking instruction from wise counsel. So this summer at the pool look for those opportunities for your children to take some leaps while learning to respect and take into consideration other’s wise counsel.
Have fun at the pool and keep your eyes open for more life lessons from the pool coming soon!