We signed both kids up for swimming lessons months ago. We decided it was time since both love the water and are naturally drawn to it. We had heard a lot about ISR and loved their philosophy on teaching babies/children how to rescue themselves in water.
We thought, “better safe than sorry.”
Meanwhile, we have been using the puddle jumpers on Connor for the last two years and just recently started using one on Gigi, too. We loved them! They seemed to be the perfect thing to let the kids jump in the pool, swim around and have a good time while being safe.
So you can imagine my shock on the first day of swimming lessons when our swim teacher expressed her hatred for them.
She told us the floaties teach children to keep their feet down and head up. The longer they wear them in the water, the more muscle memory is created.
Now take the floatie away: if your child puts their feet down and head up like the floatie has taught them to do…they sink. They can’t survive that way without the floatie on.
That scared me to death and I was grateful that we had never been in a situation where one of my children was in danger in the water. And I was so thankful that we would now be correcting it.
However, the more I thought about it the more I realized how much this little lesson taught me…and it was so much more than the importance of teaching the kids how to swim.
It taught me about parenting.
We so often make decisions for our kids that just keep our heads, and their’s, above water, but we don’t think them through to extent of what it might be teaching them.
I am as guilty of this as anyone.
We make decisions that are best in the moment, but may not be best in the long run.
How are we teaching our kids to survive? Better yet, how are we teaching our kids to live?
And our decisions are like the floaties. They aren’t doing any harm in the moment and they’re certainly helping us to get by. But are they the right decisions in the long run? Are we teaching our kids bad habits just to help us get through the here and now? And Will these habits make it harder for us, as their parents, to break them of certain things in the future?
What do I mean? Well, it’s simple things in our life, I think.
Like when we stopped bringing the kids to church with us for a while because it was easier (but it made the transition back even harder).
Or when we gave them quick, not so healthy meals, because they would eat it and I wasn’t up for the fight of getting them to try healthier options.
Or when we give them the iPad when we need them to sit still and be quiet for a few minutes because it’s the easiest way to have them do it.
Or when I skip over brushing their teeth here or there because it’s an easy way to save time, but I want them to make a habit of brushing their teeth two times a day.
I could go on and on and on. I am guilty of all of these things AND SO MUCH MORE. I know I need to try harder and focus less on the “quick fix”. I certainly don’t know all the answers, but I know that I am now trying harder to make the best decisions – even if they require a little more effort – for my children.
And when we get overwhelmed…we take a deep breath and admit that it’s just not something we can tackle today. And that’s okay, too.