My sweet little Miller man started swimming lessons this week. We have been everyday. This is our first extra curricular activity with kiddos!
Lee and I didn't know that we were going to learn some lessons in parenting during such short swimming lessons!
Take notice of the window. The parents sit in a little "viewing room" while the kids swim.
The Blackburn family arrived and everyone was excited. Miller walked right out to his class, sat down in the water, and began kicking and splashing. He did well for his first little day. He participated in all of the activities without much fuss. Lee and I were so proud watching our little fish splash around.
He did really good... Until the end. He cried and cried because he did NOT want to go down the slide at the end. We couldn't hear what Miller was saying. We could only see him crying. Lee and I were actually kind of surprised because Miller normally jumps at opportunties like a slide. Anyway.
The lesson ended and I richly welcomed little man at the door. I wrapped him in a towel and shuffled him to the bathroom to change clothes. I told him he had done a good job, then fairly quickly I said "Miller why wouldn't you go down that slide?!?!" He said "I didn't want to."
We walked out of the bathroom and met Lee and Chip. Lee leaned down and said "Miller! Why didn't you go down the slide?!!?"
Miller didn't answer.
We said our goodbyes and got into the car.
I looked at Lee and said, "We both highlighted Miller's failure first thing when we saw him after his lesson. He did so good the whole time then the one thing he didn't do is what we talked about."
Obviously this led to a deeper conversation between us.
Why do we do that? Why do we highlight the negative?
We came up with several answers to this question.
Lee and I had been SO proud of Miller the whole time, but did he know that? Or did he hang on the very first thing that was uttered from our mouths when he saw us?
The conversation was a blessing for both Lee and I. We verbalized how we desire to raise our boys (and we will fail constantly). We want them to be men of confidence, not defeat. We desire to foster a learning environment based on positive reinforcement instead of threats, negative reinforcement, etc.
I want to love them. Constantly.
I want them to know that they are loved because of WHO they are not WHAT they can do.
And we need a community to come around us and help us teach our boys in this way!
And honestly, at the end of the day...
Whether or not he went down the slide is not worth squishing his confidence over! He will eventually do it!
(For the record... He still hasn't done it 😄)
And... His sweet little lessons have become more and more tearful on his end 😢 but that's ok. We are pushing through!! Lee says God is teaching us lessons on humility 😁😁
But he loves his little friends at swimming lessons!
In all honesty, as parents we don't intend to break our children's spirits. We desire more than anyone for them to succeed. Lee and I were so shocked that Miller didn't go down the slide and cried about it. We were honestly curious about what happened.
But did he know that?
He is only 2, but that child KNEW that he was scared to do something the other kids were doing. He has talked about it since.
Lee and I realized that it is crucial for us to be intentional about the things we say to our boys. We have to foster their learning without crushing their spirits.
This blog post by another writer is beautifully written on this exact topic! It's worth the read!
For the record, no we aren't beating ourselves up! Yes, we have MORE than encouraged our little swimmer. And yes, we realize that this is ONLY. THE. BEGINNING. In raising kids!!
I simply wanted to give some other moms encouragement that "you're not alone!"