Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I had forgotten that swimming lessons can be quite emotional. Claire had her first official lessons this weekend and she went into it so enthusiastically. But the second time I handed her over to the teacher she protested, and the third time her fingers were actually difficult to pry off me. And it wasn't just the kids; speaking for myself, I got a bit of a lump in my throat just watching them. The sight of a small child learning to do something difficult is a joy in itself, but in this intense situation especially--in a certain sense their life is on the line (safety precautions notwithstanding). The other thought that occurred to me as I watched the row of children (of 3 different races) is how empowering it is learning to swim and float in water--an environment that many people fear.

There are only 8 kids per class. Sometimes when a child completes a task, the onlooking parents spontaneously break into applause. I encouraged Claire to join in as a distraction. I also narrated a bit ("Look at that boy about to jump in--so fun!") and prompted her to give a shout out of "Bravo!" It is so cute to see her cheering on her fellow students despite her own teary eyes.

To gently guide your child through the tears and beyond into a fundamental skill is a profound experience. Later in the evening I asked Claire about the swimming lesson, "What do you think about the teacher?"
"He's nice."
"What about the class, is it hard to learn how to swim?"
"No, its easy."
Not the answers I expected.

The class is 5 sessions, so the next 2 are next weekend, and then a final one the weekend after that. I'm so proud of her and can't wait to show off her swimming without goggles or water wings.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Dearest Claire,

I am so excited that you are learning how to swim!
I love to swim, too.
Next time you come to Oklahoma you'll be able to swim in Uncle Howard's pool with your cousins.
Keep learning and practicing.

Love, Nanna