This is Al at the Aquatic Center this evening (our church rented it for all the kids from church and their families and friends and neighbors). This may not look like a big accomplishment for a ten-year-old, but for Al it is.
Until recently, the most he could do in the water was walk around, and he generally stuck near the wall except in the shallow kiddie area (it slopes gently upward to zero feet so even toddlers can have fun in the water). But the past two weeks he went to swimming lessons, and this evening he proudly showed me what he had learned.
As a baby he seemed to love water, whether in the bathtub or being held in a lake or pool. Then as a toddler he suddenly became afraid of swimming pools. No matter how securely he was held, he hated it and was desperate to get out. Just getting him to want to get in the water at all was a big deal. When he walked back and forth along the wall and enjoyed it, I was happy for him.
But now that he is a Webelos Scout, and plans to go on to Boy Scouts, I decided he really had to learn to swim. I am very grateful for the patient swimming instructor who worked with him the past two weeks. And for a girl his age who helped and encouraged him in the pool this evening. It will still take a lot more practice and learning to make it to the next level in next year’s swimming lessons, but I think at least now a lot of the fear of the water is gone.