Three weeks ago I was terrified that if my six year old fell into the deep end of a pool, he'd go immediately under.
Yesterday, I watched him DIVE into the deep end and swim with a pretty darn good looking front crawl to the shallow end.
And I thought of a lesson we need reminding of over and over again as we raise up these kids.
They'll do it in their time.
You see, two years ago this same little guy had a pretty scary experience during a swim lesson. He slipped under the surface and began to struggle while the instructor worked with another child. I saw him immediately and thankfully so did the lifeguard that was closer to him than myself. He acted instantly and pulled him up and in. My son was fine physically. But he was understandably panicked.
His instructor felt terrible and she offered to do a one on one session with him. The hope was to get him feeling secure and at ease again. He agreed, he participated in the entire lesson... but he quietly cried and I could see the conflict and struggle on his face the whole time. After that day, he wouldn't go back in... and we didn't push him.
We praised his efforts. We told him he should be so proud of himself for getting back in and trying. We comforted his scared feelings; validated them too. And we tried to just let water become fun to him again. No pressure. We suited him up with a great lifejacket whenever we were near water, and focused on making time in the water playful.
And as this summer began, we could tell - he was there. He was happy in the water. He was eager to learn. He was ready!
I found him a new instructor. She's fabulous - always gentle but expert at nudging him forward. And it has been like putting a piece into a puzzle!
His physical development, his cognitive ability to attend to a verbal direction and then apply it to his efforts, and his emotional readiness to go for it - they all aligned while being matched with a great teacher. And because of exactly that, I sat on the edge of the pool last night and watched this boy that could.not.swim three weeks ago dive into the water and swim confidently to the other side.
I needed the reminder.
That they'll do in their time.
Watching my little guy paddle across the pool, I thought of my daughter that resisted reading so intensely... and now is the fiercest reader in the bunch. Or how I have two kids that learned to ride a bike at five, one that sped away on his own just after turning three, and still another that was very hesitant and uninterested at six. Or how two of my children learned to potty train around two and a half, another shocked me at sixteen months, and still another resisted and resisted and then went from wet to dry in about one day's time well past turning three.
They're all so different. They all have their own beautiful timeline.
My job is to support THEIR timeline.
Because they'll do it when they're ready, and it's a awesome thing to witness.
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