It's been nice out so I took my youngest daughter to the pool yesterday. We had a blast in the shallow section of the pool bobbing around and splashing. She had on her floaties, this approved life jacket with the arm floaty things. They keep her floating and that's a good thing but it makes it hard to move or to feel what it's really like to be in the water, etc. But she was terrified to take it off. She saw other kids without it on but knew she didn't have the skill yet to be without it. We go out to get a snack in the sun and when we went back in she didn't want the floaties. I was totally fine with this since I knew I would be right there by her the whole time. She told me she felt like she could move better or reach deeper in the pool without it on. Then as she was bouncing around, her feet slipped and she went underwater. I was right there so helped her up but you could see in her face that she was freaked out. I was right there and told her she was fine and that she did great. She got out of the water, used the towel to wipe her face off and within a minute or two, she wanted back in the water. We even moved to the "deeper part" (3' deep) and she climbed along the wall then inched her way to turning and pushing out to me. We got a little further apart each time and she loved the way it felt! She was super excited and happy! When we are learning something new we are scared of all the unknowns. The "what if's" run crazy in our heads, but if you can get with someone that is going to keep you safe, have fun, make it enjoyable so you can learn, and help you along the way, then you can improve quickly! The steps my daughter took were giant and it all happened in one day. The confidence she developed by being able to attempt, struggle, get picked back up, do it again, and succeed was amazing! This is the job of a coach, parent, teacher, or mentor. Filling you with all the scary things that might happen doesn't protect you. Helping you to gain the skills to protect yourself, protects you! It doesn't matter if its life stuff, job stuff, sports stuff, etc. You won't have your "protectors" there with you all the time, so you need to be taught those skills so you are successful, safe, and confident when you are out in the world on your own. The cool thing is you can still have fun in these little struggles, just like we did in the pool! :)
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