Monday, June 1, 2015
An Open Letter to Pool Staff
Dear Lifeguard, Dive Coach, Swim Teacher,
I imagine that for you, this job is a fun way to make some good money over the summer. You get to be outside all the time, there's music, fun friends, you get a tan and it's a pretty fun environment.
As a mother of four children there are a few things I would like you to know after our first day of lessons.
Today, you taught my children, and I watched and listened.
I watched as you complimented each kid on something they did right, either with their form or their effort.
Do you know that those words may be the only compliments some of those kids get each day?
You said something good to every kid, no matter their size, shape, or ability. Some of these kids are at that yucky awkward phase in life. Your praise, as one of their peers, means a tremendous amount! You don't know which kids had a rough school year and are trying to find something, anything, to be successful at, but they do.
Thank you for helping them feel good about something they are doing right.
I watched as you took the time to point out what they need to work on so they can become better. They listened to you because you are so close in age, you are more like a friend than a teacher. For helping them to learn how to improve in a very low key way, thank you!
I didn't watch you watch my kids as we swam as a family, but I was so glad to know that you are watching!!
I need to know you are watching and not daydreaming, or talking to friends because I don't have enough eyes for all of my kids. I know how important taking them to the pool to experience the water and learning to swim is.
I know that they learn more about swimming and holding their breath from being there a lot and experiencing it, than they do from lessons, although those are important too.
I also know that when you blow your whistle at them and tell them not to do certain things it is because you are trying to protect them or others. Thank you! They may not always be listening, or sometimes they keep running, but thank you for trying to keep them safe!
I know that your job is super important! I know how quickly a child can drown even in shallow water. As I was in the shallow end with my little ones, I was watching one jump in, only to turn back and see the other under water. It scared me to death!!! Again, I am glad to know that I have your eyes as well as mine! Thank you!
You may not realize that you work miracles with ice and popsicles! Last summer you soothed the embarrassment and pain of a high dive belly flop and a first time bee sting with these and some kind words. Thank you!
Some days, your job may seem boring, but those of us who take our kids to the pool week after week, appreciate what you do.
Please continue to give praise to those who are learning and trying! It means so much coming from you.
Please continue to tell them how to improve, it often has more power coming from you than me.
Please continue to blow your whistle if they are doing something they shouldn't. They need to know that Mom and Dad aren't the only ones who establish rules and enforce them.
Please help them learn to love the water and the joy of swimming. It is truly a lifelong skill.
Please keep watching! I need your eyes too.
And please wear sunscreen every day, because I do worry about you and I want you to someday watch your own children at the pool.
A Mom, a mother of 4, and a friend