Have you ever wanted to do something that you knew you weren’t qualified to do? How about your son wanting to be a Spider-Man or have super powers like his super hero friends on TV? Or how about your daughter going to the water park and deciding that she'd like to be a lifeguard even though she can barely swim?
I think we have all been there, and one of two things has happened: We either went for it, or we let it go.
Sometimes, as parents, if we haven’t fulfilled our own dreams because they may seem unreachable, we tend to pass that negative attitude to our children. Or if we think our children aren’t qualified to do something, we may try to talk them out of it or overlook it.
I must admit, I almost lost my vision as a mom when my daughter said she wanted to be a lifeguard.
What do you do when your daughter who can barely swim says, “I want to be a lifeguard”?
You coach her...
Growing up I was a swimmer. I swam competitively as a child all through high school and became a lifeguard while I was in high school. Although swimming was not my daughter’s sport of choice, I made sure she could handle herself in the water and could at least swim in the deep end and swim at least a lap. It was the least I needed her to be able to do in the water.
When we moved to Texas, we moved next door to a water park. The first time we went, my daughter said she wanted to be a lifeguard. She was 13 at the time, and I totally dismissed it because I knew she couldn’t swim well enough to be a lifeguard. The following summer, we were back at the water park and she said again, “I want to be a lifeguard.” So, to discourage her (being honest, because I knew she couldn’t meet the prerequisites), I told her she needed to find out what she had to do to be a lifeguard.
I’m sure you are thinking, why would you try to discourage your child? Because sometimes it takes a minute to get that light bulb moment. I stopped swimming years ago because I wear glasses and my vision is horrible and I got away from wearing my contacts, so in that moment I didn’t see how I was going to help her, and the only people I knew who could help her lived in Chicago. But then the light bulb went off!
When the light bulb came on, it was all a go. The prerequisites just to take the lifeguard training class:
- Swim 300 meters (in a 25-yard pool, that’s 12 laps).
- Tread water for 2 minutes without using your hands.
- Retrieve a 10-pound brick from the deep end, swim on your back for one lap keeping both hands on the brick and keeping it above water.
None of which my daughter could do, but she said she wanted to do it. For me, that is all I needed to hear because at that point it was game on. She was not eligible to take the class until she was 15. It was summer and she turned 15 in September. So, in the summer, we paid for her to take the class in December the first week of her winter break.
Monday through Friday every morning we would go to the Frisco Athletic Center for her to practice her laps. When she got her 12 laps down and more, we worked on her treading water with no hands. She only needed to do it for two minutes. I had her doing it for at least 10-15 minutes.
By the time we got through the laps and treading water, the summer was over and it was time to get back to school, but she still needed to retrieve the brick and swim on her back... and, yep, the day before the class started in December, she nailed it!
She passed her prerequisites, started the class, and on December 23, 2016, she became a certified lifeguard. By mid-January, she was working as a lifeguard: first job, age 15, making $10.25 an hour as a lifeguard. #proudmom
I coached my daughter every day in the summer from the side of the pool, I pushed her until I know some days she would get mad and want to cry, but if she wasn’t going to quit neither was I.
I have always been on my daughter’s team; I have always been her #1 cheerleader, her motivator, her voice of reasoning, and her corner coach. She has had some amazing mentors and coaches in her life, she is a black belt in karate, she has attended a champion tennis camp, she has excelled in everything she went after, but for this she needed ME. I was the only person at that moment who could help make her vision a reality. I needed to be her head coach for this event.
...and she gets the job!
What have you given of yourself to bring your child’s vision to life?
It’s not always easy to recognize when it is time for you to show up in your child’s life, when they need something that only you can give, but when that light bulb goes off and the vision is clear, you have got to Make It Happen! It may not help them get a job or excel in a sport, but there is something you have that only you can give to make your child a success.
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Apryl Moore Beasley ~ Visionary Mom
"Raising Children We Will Someday Depend On"