If you don’t wanna read the whole story, you MUST skip to the lessons at the end for parents and entrepreneurs….
My kids absolutely LOVE the water. They could swim all day, love water parks, even the tub. If it’s water, they are excited. The problem is, they can’t swim. This has been a problem, obviously. I’ve had them in swim lessons before, and my oldest learned just enough to be very dangerous…thinking she could swim until she started sinking to the bottom of the pool.
When we moved to Texas last fall, we were invited to a birthday pool party. I knew I needed to be on alert, and it’s a dang good thing I was. As I was getting to know some of the other moms at the party, I saw it. I locked eyes with my daughter who was starting to panic. She grabbed my son, who was wearing a puddle jumper and oblivious to any danger. Until he was pushed under by my daughter trying to save herself. I threw my phone and jumped in-fully clothed-to save my kids. It was scary and embarrassing, but I was so glad I was paying attention.
I told my husband that swim lessons were a non-negotiable this year and they HAVE to learn how to swim. I will continue to stay vigilant of course, but I want them to gain the knowledge and confidence to swim so they can have fun and I don’t have to be completely on edge every time they are in the water. So swim lessons start at the YMCA. And wouldn’t you know it, but my four-year-old son is so shy and so nervous about being in the pool without a float that he balks…a LOT. I mean, it’s a nightmare, such a scene. He spends the entire lesson fighting us about having to get into the water. Some may say he’s just not ready, and a lot of times I would tend to agree. But if he’s going to be in the water, he NEEDS to know how to swim. There’s way too much water around where we are for him to have an accident in.
Today was his forth lesson, and we are getting pretty frustrated on fighting him. He LOVES the water! Why in the hell is he fighting us so badly?! The coaches are useless, which I don’t really know how to feel about that. They do have other kids to help, and I understand they don’t want to push him. But these lessons weren’t cheap, and isn’t the point to get him comfortable in the water? So I’m trying to get him to just sit on the dang stairs in the pool. Nothing else. He’s standing up, yelling, backing up, pouting, and giving me duck lips. After about 15 minutes (his lesson is only 30 minutes, mind you), I take him to the side of the pool. While holding his hands, I drop him in the water. He squeals for a minute, and I tell him he is okay and he’s in the water. Still holding his hands, I turn him around and put his hands on the side of the pool and I. LET. GO. Something pretty miraculous happens. He looks at me with his pouty duck lips, then gets himself to the stairs of the pool. Then he participates in the rest of swim lessons. Not only does he participate, he has fun. He’s smiling. Afterwards, he comes to me very excited. He says, “Swim lessons are fun!” WHAT?! This is a huge victory! I am doing a happy dance in my head, because I don’t want him to duck back into his shell.
Something that hit me during this battle today, and especially after the win, is that we all need this “drop into the pool.” There are two lessons here: One for the parent, and one for the entrepreneur. The lesson for the parent is this: We love our kids and want to protect them with every fiber in our being. But sometimes loving them means making them spread their wings. It’s important for them to fall and to fail. It’s okay to be there to dry their cheeks, give them a squeeze, and tell them they can do it and love them. And obviously, don’t let them die. But if they don’t ever fall, how will they learn how to fly?
And the lesson for the entrepreneur should be obvious, but just in case it’s not here it is. Fear is the ONLY thing getting in the way of your success. Your mind is what is telling you that you could drown, fall, fail, die. When you can overcome that fear and take that first step..oh, my lovely! How amazing can you truly be? If you are a parent then more than likely you tell your kids, “You can be anything you want to be. You have to believe in yourself and work towards your dreams.” Well my darling, if it’s good advice for your children, it’s good advice for you. And it’s never too late to start living your dreams. So if you have someone to hold your hands, ask them to drop you in the water. And if you don’t, that’s what I’m here for.
Sending love and hugs,