By Dennis Coughlin
Family holidays in Scotland include two things; rain and someone saying, “It looks like rain.” Lucky for us then, that on our weekend away, the hotel had lots of indoor activities for the kids and best of all, it had a big pool!
The kids were desperate to go swimming, so we dropped off the bags and ran downstairs. The three of them jumped into the water and started to splash about. The next moment, my wife tapped me on the shoulder. “Look at Jack!” she said.
Jack was swimming! I know that should not come as a surprise given that we were in the middle of a pool, but he was swimming the proper way! His head was face down in the water, his hands were stretched out in front of him and his legs were kicking up a storm! Up until that moment, we had only seen Jack mange to keep himself afloat using armbands. Now I was witnessing a future Olympian whiz past me!
My wife and I were amazed.
A Natural Talent Appears
Jack had been taking swimming lessons for a few months, yet we had no idea of the progress that was being made. The weekly routine is that we drop him off at the lesson and then wait outside until the class is done. The parents never get to see much.
So seeing him swimming in front of us was a revelation. One of the most surprising aspects was just how natural Jack looked in the water. You could describe it as sheer abandonment. He was throwing himself into the water, submerging his head and gliding forward. It was like he was destined to be a swimmer and the light switch had been turned on in front of our eyes.
You Need to Try New Things
Seeing Jack’s transformation reminded me of my own situation. I am in the middle of trying to find my calling. To find my true passion in life. I don’t have many answers, but I do know that you need to try lots of different things in life. As Joyce Meyer says, “You can’t drive a parked car. Sometimes we need to get our lives out of park.”
If we had asked Jack a year ago, “Do you think you will love swimming?” My guess is that he would have said, “I don’t know. Can I have some ice cream?” You will never know what you will enjoy until you give it a try.
We never asked him to predict the future. That would be silly. Instead, we took a chance and signed him up to the lessons. Turns out it was the perfect fit for him and we’re now excited to see where it leads.
If you have the chance to try something new, then go for it. You have no guarantees. You just have to get stuck in and discover if for yourself.
You Need A Push
Sometimes you need someone to send you to the swimming lesson in the first place. You need that push from other people in your life to help you get moving in the right direction. If you have friends or family who are offering their advice about new opportunities, then listen to them.
Jack was not thrilled with the idea of going into a cold pool after a long day at school. We took him there because we knew it was in his best interest. We gave him the initial nudge to help him on his way.
You Need a Good Teacher
Based on the results we have seen, Jack’s swimming teacher must know her stuff.
When you are entering a new area in life, you always need an experienced person to help show you the way. You need an expert to share the wisdom they have built up over the years. That teacher should be generous with their time and have the ability to explain things in a calm and simple manner.
Also, don’t forget that teachers can be found anywhere. You might have a friend or family member who is already acting as a teacher or mentor. Listen to them and let them know that you appreciate their time.
You Need Encouragement
Jack received loads of encouragement during our family holiday. We were so amazed that we kept telling him how great he was in the pool. We told him over lunch, over dinner and into the next day!
You need to surround yourself with positive people who want you to succeed and who are able to compliment you. We all need to hear kind words every so often. It helps to keep our spirits up during those tough days.
You Need Fun
I could see the enjoyment in Jack’s eyes. He was having a blast in that pool. The technical thoughts of stretching out his arms or kicking his feet in rhythm were now in the back of his mind. All he was thinking was, I’m going to dive down there and touch the bottom of this pool! He was enjoying the benefits of his hard work.
If you are constantly pushing yourself to learn something new and there is no reward of fun, you will either quit or burn yourself out. You have to love what you are doing and combine the hard work with a bit of fun.
You Need to Keep Going
My wife and I never doubted Jack’s ability to learn, but at the same time, we never thought much about it. He was taking swimming lessons and one day, down the road, he would be able to swim. We just never expected the transformation to be so sudden.
Being amazed by your children must be one of life’s greatest pleasures. As a parent, you spend a great deal of your time telling them to rein in their behaviour; don’t jump off that, put that hammer down, finish your dinner, don’t hit your brother, don’t hit your sister.
Then there are days like the one in the pool where you stand back and say, “Brilliant! Keep going!”.
I think we all need that at times. To know that we are on the right track. If that’s what you need today, then I would say, keep going. Every time you jump into the pool, you give yourself another chance for a breakthrough. Jump in and expect to be amazed.