A couple of years ago we enrolled my oldest daughter, Harlan, into swim lessons. She mentioned to us that she wanted to learn how to swim, and we knew it was a good idea, especially for those summer months that we spend by the pool and at the beach.
Born in Florida, Harlan has always been a fan of the water. She took her first dip in the pool at four months old and immediately fell in love. If there is a place to swim, she’s there.
During her first months of swimming lessons, she soared. So much so that the instructor told us that she was ready for the next level. She was so excited and proud of herself because she’d succeeded and was surpassing her goals. She couldn’t wait to start the next level of swim lessons with her new teacher.
It was on the first day with her new swim instructor that I knew something was wrong. As I watched her swim across the pool it looked like everything she had learned had disappeared. She was struggling, and I would soon find out it was in more ways than one. After the lesson I walked over to her and asked if everything was okay. She immediately broke down and told me that she didn’t want to swim any longer. Not wanting to pry, I let it go and figured it would pass.
The next week as we were getting ready for swim lessons, rather than being excited for class, she was begging me not to go. I asked why, and it took a while before she finally admitted that it was because she didn’t like her teacher. He had a different style of teaching that she wasn’t used to, and it wasn’t helping her progress.
As much as I didn’t want to do it, we pulled her out of the swim lessons. I told myself I’d never be that parent that pushed my child to do something when they didn’t want to do it. And I was holding to my promise.
Harlan never mentioned swimming for nearly a year after that last lesson. I’d bring it up, and she brushed it off without any interest in it.
It wasn’t until we moved to our new town that she told me she was interested in taking up swimming again and that I should look into it immediately.
Our latest Citizen Kid, Ingrid, took a similar path in discovering her love of ballet. You can check out her story in the video below:
At just 3 years old, Ingrid’s ballet career could have been over. But she decided to give it a second try and fell in love with it. So much so that she is now pursuing her education at a prestigious ballet academy. Her dream is to become a principal ballet dancer at a top theater company.
There is something remarkable in waiting for your child to make a decision on her own. Harlan may not end up swimming for the rest of her life, but I know now that it’s something she enjoys. It just took her some time to figure that out.