I’m particularly looking forward to swim time this year. I may hop in the lake once or twice myself, but mostly I plan to remain on shore and delight in watching the girls.
That’s significant for me. You see, though I’m a mediocre swimmer at best, I’m not afraid of the water myself. But I’ve had what I recognize to be a somewhat irrational fear of my daughters drowning. So our first few years at camp, we swam only at the director’s dock – not at the crowded main beach – and I always went in, too, not trusting that my husband could protect both girls on his own. Of course, we kept them in shallow water, but even then I was perpetually nervous.
Last year, though, I let them swim at the main beach, and I didn’t go in. My husband did, but it was huge progress that I stayed on shore – and that I didn’t freak out. This year, I’ll do the same, and I expect to be even more comfortable.
Why the changes? It’s not just that the girls are older or that I know with certainty they won’t run into trouble in the water. Even adults and even good swimmers can drown, and so I realize – and remind the girls – that caution is still in order.
But they’ve been taking swim lessons. They started last summer and had been learning for almost six weeks before last year’s camp week. I knew then they had some basic skills. So I released some of my fear.
They took to the lessons – pardon the cliché! – like fish to water and begged to continue all through the school year. So now they have over a year of training under their belts, and I know from observing the lessons that both are very strong swimmers. As such, my fear has dissolved, and only a “healthy respect” for water remains.
That’s as it should be as our kids grow. Initial trepidation – whether while watching them take their first wobbly steps, play in the water, or get behind the wheel of a car – is somewhat understandable. But we can’t stay there because doing so would paralyze our kids and prevent their journeys toward maturity. Instead, we must provide for necessary training and practice – and teach character traits such as patience and discernment – and then let go and trust.
It’s still sometimes hard to do, but I’m looking forward to exercising faith this week at the lake. What’s one area where you can step out in faith with your child this month?