The Slip

Is it really a slip if I bought something intentionally? I don’t think so. I made a choice. I stand by it.

My son is not a natural swimmer. Some kids are; mine is not. He has been in swimming lessons since he was about six months old, and now he’s about to turn six years old.

It hasn’t always been fun. There have been tears on some occasions. Mostly, he was nervous about water on his face, in his ears, up his nose, the usual gripes. He never fully trusted that the water would hold him up, and so he wasn’t really learning to “swim.”

Swimming (in my opinion) is not just a fun thing to do but a necessary life skill, like doing laundry and ordering pizza by phone. Quitting swimming lessons just because it wasn’t always pleasant was never going to happen. I have had discussions with a lot of parents about why they do or don’t have their kid in swimming lessons, and all of that is fine. We live next to an ocean. My kid is learning how to swim.

I have watched my son show up to lessons week after week, and seen how his skills have slowly developed over time. I have re-registered him for the same levels as many times as it took for him to get it. Until now, the actual swimming was never really required. A few Mondays ago, it was our last class of the session (third time through this level), and typically the instructors will let the kids play around a bit. My kid, who mere weeks before would not lift his feet up from the bottom of the shallow pool, donned a life vest and jumped off the diving board into the deep end three times. He went down the big slide twice. And at the end of the class, when he got his report card…


…he passed the level! So I bought him a Lego set.

I considered this purchase before I made it. I thought about whether buying him a toy was really the best reward for something like this, especially given my own need to constantly reward myself (a daily struggle). This kid has been with me for this entire experiment, and he has been solid. He’s stopped asking for things and I think he really gets what I am trying to do. This is a huge accomplishment and I wanted him to know that.

I am so proud of him for sticking with this thing that was hard. He showed up, he did the work, and he succeeded. If there was ever a reason to break edge, I think this was it.