CONVERSATIONS. Grandmas, swimming, Transformers.

Mind if I sit here for a minute?
I asked the white-haired lady.

Of course!
she said.

I scooted a chair up close to the observation window.
Do you have a child in lessons right now?

Down there,
she pointed.
My grandson at the other end. The one clinging to the instructor. He was in the level up until they moved him back. He is so much happier being in the shallow end.

I said.
Did he have a bad experience in the water?

she said.
We've been at this two years now. I made the mistake a while back of using a bribe. I told him when he got to a certain point I'd take him to Toys 'R' Us.

How'd that go?
I asked.

He finally got there. So I took him with the $25 I had promised and he got to buy a toy. And now he won't do anything else now that he's got it. What I'm afraid I'm going to have to do is tell him 'Grandma's going to borrow your Transformer for a while until you can swim to the deep end and back.' I'm afraid that's what it's come to.

What does he enjoy doing?
I asked.

He does soccer,
she said.
And he will talk your ear off. But he's cautious. Very cautious. See him next to the instructor? He'll cling to her. For some reason...I don't know. He said he doesn't like swimming. I said 'well you're going to learn.' That's the kind of Grandma I am. Stubborn. I am very stubborn.

Sounds like he's fortunate to have someone who's helping him,
I said.
Swimming is definitely one of those foundational skills that's kind of important.

she said.
His sister is twelve and she's been climbing trees since she was three. And he's seven and will still only go two branches up. He is very cautious.

Does he not want to get his head underwater, or does he want his feet touching, or...?

She nodded.
He wants his feet touching the bottom. That's a big thing. He'll just hang onto the rope or the side.
She shook her head.
I don't know.

I said.
There's plenty of situations where a healthy sense of caution is a good thing.

Oh yes,
she laughed.
Hopefully it will serve him well when he's a teenager! I was a special ed teacher for many years and we're just going to keep working on it. He's going to get it. I am very, very stubborn.

Special ed teacher?
I said.
Tip my hat.

I got up to go get my son out of his lesson, and realized later that I was wearing a hat at the time, and could have literally tipped it.

Next time.

Thanks, Grandparents, Parents, Teachers, Instructors, Uncles, Aunts, Coaches, Caretakers, and Guardians everywhere who help those in their care overcome unique challenges and not simply accept failure or sub-par performance as an option. Although methodologies may sometimes be much different than I would choose. smile emoticon.

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