Working Backwards From the Vision

 In Family

Yesterday, Ian (10), Gianna (8), and Benjamin’s (5) seven week recreational league swim league season culminated with the championship swim meet. The sense of accomplishment and fun my oldest two experienced in their first season last summer on the team inspired me to have all three participate this year, although with trepidation that Benjamin would consistently and safely be able to swim the length of the pool for his races. Just in case, my hubby Joe had his swim trunks on under his shorts and walked along the side of the pool at the first meet in the event he would need to make an emergency rescue for a drowning Benjamin.

As it turned out, Benjamin became adept at swimming a length of the pool and even completed in swimming the 50 meter races, or up and down the pool. Over such a short time he developed into a confident (at times overconfident) swimmer.

Still I didn’t feel quite comfortable dropping him off at practice with such a large group of kids and only two or three coaches, two of them being 18 years of age. With one eye in my laptop and one eye making sure Benjamin’s head was above water and he was still breathing, I stayed at the pool for every practice.

Regularly present at the practices, I couldn’t help notice a stark disparity among several of the older kids. During the first week of practice at a day when it was a tad bit chilly, two of the girls on the senior team, probably 16 year olds, refused to get in the pool and were giving their almost contemporary 18-year-old female swim team coach a hard time. I was struck by what a poor example they were giving to all of the younger senior team swimmers. The next day they showed up late and rode in with several young boy swimmers carrying Starbucks latte’s. Eventually, they stopped coming to practice altogether. One of the girls was on the chubby side and they both seemed incredibly immature and undisciplined.

In contrast, one of the assistant coaches, another 18-year-old Matt stood out to me as having poise, maturity, and patience.. He was tender and patient with the four-year-old girl who practiced in Benjamin’s lane and who kept getting out of the water early and saying she was cold. On several occasions when he would see Benjamin at the pool he would playfully throw him up in the air. I could really see this guy as being a wonderful father and husband someday. I would hope that my boys would grow up to operate with such class and warmth.

As parents we must have a vision for the kind of adults we want our kids to be. Then we need to work backwards to help them get there. Looking at older kids can give us a taste of what is possible and what we want to avoid.

Unfortunately, as part of summertime observations, I noticed some things in myself that were pretty unattractive and would not contribute to me and my family getting to where I would like us to be. Hear about them in my next blog.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Identify older kids with qualities you like and list three things you can do to help your kids develop those traits.

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