Parenting is a big deal and it is full of adventure. From peas getting stuck up the nose, to explosive poops in public places (literally hitting the wall and running down), to full out monster like tantrums in the grocery store, where everyone without kids is looking down their noses at you as if you’re the worst mother to ever walk planet earth. (Yes, each one of these “experiences” happened to me) Parenting is full of ups and downs. Trying to help little people grow into responsible adults is not a task for the light hearted, but rather the committed.With all that parenting will throw at you, can I just make one suggestion; don’t make it more complicated than it already is. You can complicate parenting by bringing in your own baggage into that relationship.
One thing early on in parenting and even still to certain degrees, I had to deal with the junk of fear in my life. I worried about just about everything and I could see that as my kids got older that they were embracing the same fears. I could see how my fears were limiting their lives. I never learned how to swim as a child for varying reason, and had a couple of near misses in water that caused me to fear water. If I couldn’t touch the bottom of the lake/ocean/pool, I was in too deep and felt that I could drown at any moment. I could see how having this fear limited the fun I had with friends and family growing up and into my adult life. Many times I chose to sit on the sidelines and watch the fun games taking place in the water rather than participate.
When we had children we both agreed that having them learn to swim, was not only something we wanted for them in order to enjoy the summer to greater degrees, but rather a life saving skill that was not up for discussion. Our middle child truly hated the water. She hated how cold she felt in it. She hated the smell of chlorine. She hated water getting in her eyes. She also decided to show her disapproval of swimming lessons, by screaming and crying through EVERY lesson for the first few levels. One day after her lessons Francesca made a great observation; “if Mommy doesn’t have to learn how to swim, why do I?” BOOM! Mic Drop! Heart Stop. Reflective moment. If I wasn’t willing to overcome my fears, then how could I expect her, or even encourage Francesca, to overcome her own.
It’s in those moments, where as parents we are faced with a decision. We can agree with our kids and let them give in to their fears; after all we are their excuse. Or we can choose to be brave with our kids and overcome our own fears. I’ve heard this said many times, learning is more caught than taught. Meaning kids will do what you do, not always what you say. Mom, Dad, it’s time to face your fears and it’s time to be an example to your kids. I decided it was time to learn how to swim, so I signed up for an adult learn to swim program, recruited a few brave souls from our church to join me and guess what; I can swim! Guess what else, we didn’t let Francesca give into her fears either and now she loves swimming so much she is begging us to get a pool in our backyard.
Here is a clip of my first jump. Enjoy and always remember; be brave. Have Courage!