“No Lifeguard on Duty”


Before I even started my family journey I always knew I wanted my kids to be good swimmers.  Although I never had the courage or confidence to join the swim team, I secretly longed to join, and want my kids to explore it if they so choose.  Although I wont force my kids to do any activities they do not enjoy, I will support them in any endeavor they want to pursue,

Swimming for “Team Sanchez” as we call ourselves since it’s much quicker to round up the troops by saying, “Team Sanchez, LET’S GO” when leaving the store, rather than saying, “Elly, Ciara, Noah, Lukas, Ethan, LET’S GO!” is definitely a chore. Yesterday’s quick excursion involved  2 coolers, 12 water bottles, 8 sandwiches, Cheese puffs, goldfish, bananas, apples fruit, swim suits, sunscreen, 8 beach towels, little swimmers, a stroller, and….whew….(needed a breather there) and let’s not forget 5 kids and the wife. Nan and I make a great team though, I typically get the coolers, bag with goggles and, pool toys ready, and load the car. Nan packs all the other necessities like towels, sunscreen, changes of clothes etc. and gets the kids dressed while we tag team lunch and snacks.

When Team Sanchez goes swimming, it is definitely a challenge when we get in the

Elly, Lukas, Noah and Ciara enjoying a day at the pool.

water.  Nan is usually tending to Ethan out of the water while I am in the water with the rest.  Elly and Noah are now proficient swimmers, while Ciara and Lukas need some assistance. Elly and Noah usually like to play, dive, and do other stuff that better swimmers can do, and being the good little brothers and sisters that Ciara and Lukas are, they think they can swim like their older counter parts, and want to swim without the assistance of flotation devices, aka. “Floaties”  You know, the kind that turn your kid into instant hulk, and makes you dizzy just trying to blow them up.

Lukas enjoying the pool WITH his floaties of course.

After a few splashes and ventures into the deeper lurches of the pool, Lukas decides he wants to swim without help. After alot of affectionate arguing to put his floaties back on to no avail, I figured this was going to have to be one of those lessons that he is going to have to learn by experience.  As his dad, I vowed never to be one of those parents that didn’t let them be kids, or be so overprotective, that he wore pads and looked like the Michelin Man when going out to play.  After 10 successful minutes in the pool without his floaties, I was beginning to think he had this under control.  Even though I was never too far, I was always close enough to be at his side in a flash.  I was diving with Elly when Noah starts yelling “Daddy!  get him, get him get him!” I look over and can only see Lukas’ hair floating, arms flailing, and desperately trying to get up above water. He had only been under for a few seconds, but I’m sure felt like hours to him.  I swam over to him and pulled him out, while he is coughing, choking and burping out the water he had swallowed.  In a very loving and re-affirming voice, I asked him, “Now do you see why you have to wear your floaties?”  Let’s just say that I didn’t have to pursuade him to put his floaties back on.  He effortlessly allowed me to put them on his arms so he could continue to swim.

I realized yesterday, that sometimes as painful and difficult as it may be, our kids may only realize the seriousness of what we are talking about after they understand the consequences.  I’m glad that today, it was only the dangers of swimming without a little help and me being right there to help and comfort him that was the isse. When he is older I hope that our talks about texting and driving, sex before marriage, or the dangers of taking drugs will make a more significant impact on his choices and I hope and pray that he will not have to learn the consequences of those actions that are more serious the hard way.

What methods of learning and teaching have you used and why?

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