By Patrick Laverty – NJAC Swim Dad
As a 40 something dad looking back on how I learned to swim, it was a bit different than how my children are being taught. When I was a kid we would go to the top of the ladder, jump in and figure it, sink or swim!!
While these certainly weren’t the most efficient ways to teach children how to swim, they did work to some extent, I mean, I’m still here, right?
I have always had a healthy respect of the water. It was respect more learned by fear. When my wife and I started talking about swim lessons for our now 8 year old (swimming with NJAC for 6.5 years) and our 3 ½ year old (swimming for 18+ months), we both agreed that it was a safety first approach. Anything else learned would be a bonus.
Both kids took to the water differently, and I have learned that it’s ok for them to learn at their own pace, but learning is exactly what we wanted them to do. To date, both kids are what I would consider successful swimmers. What do I mean by that? Well, they have been given opportunities to learn, grow and continue to improve their skills in the water. By continuously enrolling in NJAC swim lessons, our children are given this base foundation to become a successful swimmer and not sink!
It’s important to understand not all kids will win gold at the Olympics, BUT they will have a strong foundation of how powerful water can be both negatively and positively. We have continued swim lessons year round since we started with NJAC. By doing this, our kids have not only benefited health wise, but also have learned the importance of how to respect something that many take for granted. Water is beautiful, water is soothing, and water can be dangerous.
Each year, we all read tragic stories about accidental drownings in pools, lakes, ponds and oceans. While some of these could not have been prevented, most of them can. As parents we try to keep an eye on every move our kids make. However, it takes a split second for someone to slip, or be distracted. Accidents do happen. What we can do is provide the foundation for our little ones to be able to be prepared for an event, good or bad. Swimming has become part of our weekly ritual for many years now. Somedays we say, eh let’s just skip swim because we were so busy at work, or just plain too tired to take a drive. 99% of the time, we have made it to those lessons, for everyone’s betterment!
We continue to have our children swim so that they are successful and SAFE! How many pool parties have you turned down, decided not to go out on a boat or to the ocean because of a fear of the “what if”?
We are successful in the swimming world when our kids have a great day at the shore or the pool.
We are successful when our kids see water and want to jump in.
We are successful when a fun family day stays that way.
As much as we try, we can’t watch our kids all day and night, but one thing we can do is provide them with a solid foundation of learning, practice and who knows; one day a record setting athlete. Until then, we are always going to have fun in the water, but will always respect it!
Sink or swim? We choose to swim as often as possible!