I tried to learn to swim. Mama said I took swim lessons twice but it never took because I was so petrified. My stepfather showed me some swimming things too. I can swim under water a little but I am too scared to go anywhere that would be over my head. I have to feel something solid on the bottoms of my feet.
My mama has said that she sometimes feels responsible for my fear of water. She got mad at me in the tub when I was little and pushed my face underwater. It must not have been profound to me because I remember nothing of this. I don’t believe that is what made me fearful. I just am a nervous person, who is generally scared of most things.
I do wish I had learned though but now I get to watch my son as he has learned to swim. He was scared too but he has an awesome teacher. Murat Gur is so patient with him and has a great technique to slowly. He builds up to swimming. First learning to make bubbles, then going under, kicking and later he adds arm work.
My son is excited about going to his swimming lessons every week. When I tell him that it is time for his lessons he cheers. I remember dreading it but I see the light in eyes when he accomplishes something new in the pool. He is slowly becoming more comfortable in the water. One day it is going to hit him that there is nothing to be afraid of, if he knows what to do in the water.
At the end of the lesson and if he works hard, Murat gets toys out and they play with water guns and pool rings. Crawford’s favorite thing to play is the rings. What Crawford hasn’t figured out is that Murat is still teaching him while they are playing. He loves to go get the rings off the bottom of the pool. Murat adds what they learned in the lesson that day to playing this game. Crawford, my Bug, just enjoys that so much.
When Crawford was a baby, I was of the opinion that my child was never going into the water. As he grew I changed my mind. It isn’t fair to impose my fears on my child. I thought he needed to have a chance to decide on his on. I have never told him that I don’t swim. I encourage, encourage, encourage. He believes that swimming is something a “big boy” needs to learn.
I hope he learns to try to conquer his fears instead of hiding from them. He will be a better adult for it. I know I have missed out on a lot of things in my life because I am not very good with that lesson.
At this stage in my life the best thing I can do now is make sure my son grows up to be a better person than I. It amazes me that these small things we learn or don’t learn as children can make such great imprint on our adults lives. I suppose you can say small lessons resonate like the ripples of water when there is a big splash in the pool.
A confident child will be a confident adult. The statement is “It takes a village to raise a child” is so true. David and I, Murat, all of Crawford’s teachers, Father Kent and my family all help to give Crawford confidence so he can grow to be a strong, responsible man. That is a great gift.
Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial.