My kids are unique. Not just from other kids, but from one another. I am unique. I parent in ways that are not the “norm”. I can be labeled as a hover mom, helicopter mom, an over protective mom, or down right ridiculous. But what I most certainly am, is a praying mom. And I do the best I can.
Nothing makes a mother feel worse than seeing their child struggling and wondering if all the things people said about her is true, and have aided in the current struggle their children are facing. NOTHING!
I have made many sacrifices to stay at home with my family. One of those is, of course, money. I don’t make any. So when it came time to sign our kids up for swim lessons the money wasn’t there. It was important to me, but something I could not do. I thought I could teach them, but for whatever reason, the fear of drowning outweighed the trust the had that I would not drown them! And so My Lil’ Jewel would cling to the side and scream if we pushed her to get in the water. She would scream and cry and dig her nails into my skin until I relinquished and put her back on her shallow step. My First Born is a tad more daring, but only after he has tried it a LONG time.
So when we moved here we found that swimming lessons were about 1/4 the cost of the ones before we moved. So we signed them up! Last year they fell sick the week of lessons, so it brings us to this year. At age 8 and 6, they are taking their first swimming lesson. They are the oldest in their class, they have not noticed, praise God. I sat to watch only to see the oldest two in class were the only ones too scared to swim. Lil’ Jewel watched as all the other kids dunked their faces in the water and she began to shrink back and let her fear build. I watched from 50 feet away helpless. There was nothing I could do. Nothing I should do. Nothing I thought I should do. But I wondered, “Did I cause this?” “Did I foster some fear in her?” “Did my over cautious parenting plant a seed of fear in my children?” I couldn’t help but sit and cry at the thought that I may not be doing what was best for my kids. First Born wasn’t as scared, but still wouldn’t jump in, attempt to tread water, or allow the instructor to let go. I was not at all disappointed, but saddened that their fear was keeping them from the life they were intended to live… a life of abundance, a life of fun, a life free from worry.
We left swimming (we did make it through the entire lesson) I hugged them, encouraged them, and made sure they knew they were safe. We were able to talk about the fear, rationalize through it. Knowing that no one else in class drown, gave them some relief. They came home and set goals for the next day. Lil’ Jewel was going to try to swim with the boogie board without clawing the instructor to death. First Born was going to try to dive in from a kneeled position instead of being pulled in. And I came home and cried… and cried… and cried. I prayed that God would guide me as I parent my kids through their fears. I stayed up late and prayed for their lessons the next day, that they would learn a valuable lesson in confidence.
The next day there were NO tears (from my kids at least!). My Lil’ Jewel jumped right in. She bobbed 10 times. She floated on her back with the instructor only holding her head. She was relaxed, she kicked perfectly, she got all her hair wet… and she swam with the boogie board! First Born upped his game as well. He not only dove in, but kicked butt at all his skills. They were new kids. I was beaming with pride as they showed fear who was boss! I couldn’t help but to sit and bawl my eyes out at how God had cared for my babies.
When my Lil’ Jewel jumped in the water (without tears mind you) and back floated the length of the pool my First Born stood to his feet and began shouting, “You’re doing it, “Lil Jewel” (he called her by name, of course!)! Keep going. You’re doing SO great! You are the BOMB!” He clapped and cheered, and was genuinely proud of her! I was standing to my feet as I wiped my tears seeing her conquer a long-standing fear of hers. She did it… and He cheered her on. Parents all over the stands giggled, laughed, ooohhed, and awwwwed at how adorable he was, and how brave she was. When she was all done, they all clapped for her.
By the end of the week, she was jumping in the deep end, he was swimming with no assistance (front and back). He dove from the diving board, she was swimming on her belly with minimal support!
Who would have known that 5 days of swimming lessons could teach so many lessons in confidence.
Without going into a full-fledged post on my style of parenting, whether I over protect, or not… I have some awesome kids (and cute ones, too… do you see them!). They fight their fears, they have each other’s back, and they learn in record time. Their confidence to jump in the pool translated into no more “I’m scared of ______” trips down the stairs. It has transformed my First Born’s confidence to ride his bike full speed over the make shift bike ramp the neighborhood kids made. Their confidence to conquer their fears showed me that as I pray, God leads me to raise my kids the way HE wants me to raise them. That He is the only one I need to fear. I am not above making mistakes, but I have a gracious God. And what these kids taught me this week was to pray instead of fret, To be confident instead of fearful, and to give my kids more credit. They are made by Him, they love Him, and will be guided by Him. And, man o man do these kids ROCK!
Best week of homeschooling EVER!!! (but maybe I learned more than anyone else!)
Check in with other homeschoolers here, where I link up each week.