The Diving Board is Not So High When You Just Believe

Jumping into the Swiming Pool

Jumping into the Swiming Pool (Photo credit: m_fahad)

Summer is here and all the wonderful opportunities that come with it.  Those wonderful opportunities represent excitement for some (my children) and sadness for others (my husband) and happiness and heartache at the same time for me.  Everyone in my family knows pool time, going to ball games, hiking through the forest, watching movies on the lawn, and staying up late running around in the backyard are good for the soul and experiences we do not want to let slip past us.  My children love to be children and I thank God for this all the time.  They could easily respond differently to their daddy’s illness, one that keeps him in his bedroom much of the time these days.  An illness that has temporarily robbed him of his breathing and walking ability.

But we do the best we can as a family and my husband and I work to ensure our children have as normal a childhood as possible.  This attitude lead my two kids and I to the pool one afternoon.  My 5-year old son is swimming better this summer than last and more importantly, his confidence in the water has improved.  He eyed the diving board and watched other kids easily jump off and swim to the ladder.   “I want to jump Mom,” he told me.  I smiled, but was torn. He really doesn’t know how to swim as well as he thinks he can and I thought of all kinds of “what ifs”.  For example, what if the jump disoriented him or scared him to the point that he panicked under water?  Still, he wanted to do it and he did know how to swim well enough.  I didn’t want to dampen his spirit given these two facts.  Additionally, I wanted him to make his own decisions and then follow-through with those decisions.  “Okay,” I replied and off we went.

He got up on the diving board and went to the edge.  He bent over slightly and let out a nervous giggle.  Still, I could tell he was excited.  “It’s alright,” I encouraged him, “Go ahead.”  Even though I said these words I was anxious too and prepared myself to dive in after him if the need arose.  My son looked back at me again and then giggled again.  He looked down at the water and then said “I don’t want to do this.”  So off he came.  We watched some other children for awhile longer and then my son said, “Okay, I’m ready now.”  Up on the diving board he went.  Same look of excitement.  Same nervous giggle.  Same glance back in my direction looking for reassurance.  I encouraged him again and again he changed his mind.  We went through this for a third time and when he told me on time #4 that he was really going to do it, I thought to myself “Okay Erica, if he doesn’t do it this time, we’re going back to the shallow end.”

Up on the diving board he went.   Same routine, complete with nervous, sweet giggle and nervous, tense determination.  I could tell this time was different.  “You can do this,” I said.  “Just jump.  Believe.  You got this.  I know it.”  That was it.  Off he went, surfacing with a triumphant look and a huge smile.  When he got back on the deck, he was bouncing with excitement, he was so proud of himself, as he should have been.  He faced his fears, he believed in himself, and he jumped because he knew he wanted to and that the time had come.

This common-enough childhood rite of passage was a reminder to me that fears can be faced and moved through when you focus on the task at hand and believe you can get through it.  Just jump.  You can do this.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by patrick beggs on June 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    beautiful erica.

    we dont stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing – George Bernard Shaw


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