Yesterday while our family was swimming at the public pool, my husband went off the diving board over and over again. Each time my 5yo son and I laughed at his attempts at cannonballs and running dives; grading them with two thumbs up or down.
“Why don’t you try a dive, Mommy?” Wolfy asked me.
The question caught me off guard. For the past five years, I’ve been pretending around my son that I love swimming but the truth is that I don’t feel super comfortable in the water. I can go off the diving board with a clumsy jump but going head first into the water was the last thing I wanted to do.
Wolfy is struggling to learn to swim this year. He’s making a lot of progress but it’s always two steps (or strokes) forward and one step back. He doesn’t like to jump off the side of the pool even when his teacher promises that she will catch him.
I want my son to know that while it’s important to listen to the voice inside your head that says something is dangerous, sometimes if it’s a safe situation, it’s okay to push past your fear and test your limits. We call it taking a Calculated Risk.
But it’s easy to talk about this while cozily tucked into my comfort zone. And it’s another to show him that I can take Calculated Risks too.
So tonight, I got up on the diving board. But at first I couldn’t make myself dive off. I stood there for a moment feeling the wobbling of the board and the awkwardness of knowing that half of our small town was watching me. For a moment I considered doing my usual clumsy jump. And then I bent down and dove into the water headfirst. Just like I had promised my little boy.
He was definitely paying attention.
“Nice job, Mom.”