kids and courage
As he jumped in, I flashed back to five or six years ago. I had almost forgotten the drama over this.
He’s my water boy. He takes marathon shower/bath extravaganzas every evening, and as a preschooler he loved to play in the pool. Suddenly though, he balked at swimming lessons: too cold, too tired, or just too scary. I tried all sorts of convincing and conniving, but to no avail. He refused to participate, and I must admit, I was frustrated by the change of face. Probably a lot more than he was.
My friends with older kids assured me he would come around. “It all comes out in the wash,” one mused. “It’s the fearful fours/fives, when they realize there are real risks out there,” another encouraged. But I selfishly worried about the long summer ahead and wondered if he would ever become a swimmer.
Finally, I listened to the voices of experience and stopped pressuring him. He gradually got wet, in his own time, on his own terms. Then at last, we vacationed with friends and he started jumping into the pool with abandon. Someone snapped a picture — much like this:
That photo was a perfect record of all that he, on his own, had accomplished in just a few weeks. It also taught me that I don’t have to control every step along the way. I enlarged the picture, bought a cool frame, presented it to him and asked, “Can you believe this is the same boy who wouldn’t even get into the pool at the beginning of the summer?” He beamed at how brave he had become and displayed it proudly on his dresser.
Several years later, he’s much too big to worry about such little boy things, but that photo still sits on his shelf. When he faces greater challenges, the photo reminds us how things can turn around with a little faith and patience. It helps me remember that time and encouragement builds confidence far greater than pressure and punishment.
And I will always smile when I watch him plunge into the pool.