Behind the Scenes: Summer of the Swim Test

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We all long to see your children succeed, don’t we?

We pay a lot of lip service to letting our children make mistakes so we can teach them the appropriate coping strategies. But in reality, I can hardly stand it when things don’t go well. I can barely stand it when I fail, much less the little dudes I live with.

Sometimes it’s a matter of pride: their failure reflects poorly on me as a parent. Often the weeping and gnashing of teeth that accompanies a failure is hard on this mama’s heart. 

When we moved to a community where swimming and socializing around a pool is a huge part of summer, we decided our boys needed swim lessons. Last summer, we all watched, sometimes enviously, as other children enjoyed the water slide at the pool. The requisite swim test was too intimidating. Our oldest refuses to attempt something new until he knows he can master it. Finally, a few weeks ago he decided he would pass not one, but two, swim tests. I was convinced it would not end well. But he’d practiced long and hard and he passed both tests, earning almost complete independence at the swimming pool.

Much rejoicing ensued.

Last week, our middle child completed the last of twelve swim lessons. While he cannonballs into 9 feet of water with reckless abandon, his crawl stroke is a little sketchy. He informed us on Sunday afternoon that he was ready. My husband and I agreed we needed to let him try, regardless of what we thought the outcome might be. With heaps of encouragement and prayers launched heavenward, Steve took him to the Y for the big test.

The lifeguard failed him. Seriously.

But the swim instructor was nearby and she coached our little dude for awhile. There were no tears, he didn’t wine. He was resolute and focused on earning that yellow band of freedom.

An hour later, they gave him another chance. He did it. I think Steve would’ve cartwheeled across the pool deck if he could.

I’m not sure who experienced more growth from this endeavor: the boy or his parents?

But the smile on his face makes it all worth it. The confidence gained from hard work and achievement does wonders for the almost seven year-old soul.

Well done, fellas. We’re proud of you.

I’m linking up with Crystal Stine’s Behind the Scenes today…Social media allows us to share many facets of ourselves. Although putting our best foot forward is important in many instances, this link up is an opportunity for us to put aside our ceaseless striving for perfection and share the nitty-gritty details of what’s really going on in our lives. Care to join us? Click here for more details.


  1. Mel:

    Yay! Good for your guys! At the same time…I get this. I remember when Mae did gymnastics for a brief few months last year…skills-wise, she did pretty well, considering she was TWO. Cooperation-wise? Oh, I was so hard on myself, even though she is TWO. 😉 As parents, I think it’s very easy to take our kids’ accomplishments or lack of them so personally…what a good reminder that there’s always something to be learned, whether they succeed the first time or not. Great post…thanks for sharing! 🙂


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