Monday, July 21, 2014

Agree to disagree - My argument for why every child should learn to swim above all else.

My child didn't really learn how to ride her bike until this summer, age 8.

Even with training wheels until this summer she was not comfortable.  She hated the tippy feeling.
Did I push her?
No, not really. I knew in good time she would "get it" and it didn't bother her that other kids were not using training wheels. She preferred her scooter anyway.

But - if she had not liked to swim. I would have been relentless in my getting her adjusted to the water.

Why?

1) We live in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and lots of pools.
2) In Minnesota everyone knows someone who has a BOAT, Pool, or lives on a lake.
3)
Need I elaborate?

I was on swim team from the time I was 11 or 12 - and I was a lifeguard, taught swim lessons for years, and coached a swim team. My GRANDFATHER was a lifeguard people...in the 1930's!

There is nothing sadder to me than someone who is afraid of the water. Yes, you need to be smart and know your limits, but afraid - and can't swim? Not an good combination.  And not in my family!

Why?


 Our summer is spent at a resort with several pools.
We have a hot tub on our deck.
Did I mention we also boat on our vacation?


Friends and relatives have pools and invite us over...

and its fun to go and be able to play!

Friends have boats

Friends take us tubing on their boats


Friends live on lakes - and ask us to join the fun!


 Even paddleboating...

Friends have winter birthday parties at fun pools with rope swings and slides. 
And we want to go and have FUN!

It never ceases to amaze me the number of children my child knows who can't swim. 

Boo Boo La La could swim from the summer she was four.  Obviously she wears a life jacket when called for - she is never allowed to swim without adult supervision - but!! she passed her first deep water test the winter she turned five. 

And now that she is eight, it really breaks my heart when we invite a friend to go to the pool and when we pick that friend up the mother asks if their child can use a lifejacket, because "they can't really swim".  

Other years I got it.  

Your kid is five or six or whatever, but YOUR CHILD IS EIGHT and going into third grade and we invited you to a POOL where most of the activity requires your child to be able to swim.  

And no, they don't allow you in the deep end there with a life jacket. 

I realize not all adults are exactly great swimmers or love the water.  But it is my plea that you get over it already. Get your child in swim lessons - get YOURSELF in swim lessons.  My dad took swim lessons when he was in his 40's because he got tired of watching me in swim meets knowing he wasn't the best swimmer!  

A whole WORLD of places to go and be will open up to you if you take a chance. 

And if you GIVE your child the chance. 

And you won't cause mother's who's children can swim to groan. 

Thankfully - my child has been told, and is very polite now, that if a friend can't swim she stays with them in the area of the pool where the friend is comfortable. 

If I weren't so fired up about it, we would both be good. 

4 comments:

Slamdunk said...

I agree Lisa as this is a no-brainer for parents. Make sure your kids learn how to swim if at all possible--they will thank you later. Also, I agree that it is never too late to learn.

I have written about Joe Delaney a few times--the Chiefs RB who died in 1983 while trying to save to teens drowning in Louisiana. Before he dove into the water he told another bystander, that he was not the greatest swimmer, but he could not just stand by and watch without trying to help.

In life, we never know when we will be called onto to help. Knowing how to swim may be just what is needed in a crisis.

sprinkles said...

You know, when I was a kid, I enjoyed playing in the water. But I never learned to swim. One of my brother's had swimming lessons and the other one may have had them also, I don't really remember. I asked for them, and my mom said that we didn't have the money.

Now that I'm an adult, I am very afraid of water. I don't know why. I also have major body issues, so I'd never consider going out in public in a swim suit.

If I had a kid though, I would definitely make sure they knew how to swim.

swimarie said...

Hi Lisa

I couldn't have said it better myself. My daughter still doesn't know how to ride a bike and she is 8. But she has known how to swim since she was 4.

Great Post!

swimarie said...

PS - How did you get a hold of my high school swim team photo? Bwa ha ha - love the 80's hair!

 
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