Saturday, 25 February 2012

Old entry #1 - If No one was Watching

Just to let everyone know, I’m just importing some of my older blog entries from my other site onto this one so I can have everything in one place. Feel free to still comment on them :)

If No one was Watching . . .

What is it that we are all so very afraid of? This had struck me early this morning when I was teaching swimming lessons and has been occupying my mind since. This young girl was signed up for a level based on her age, rather than her skill. This is not a mistake of course; it happens all the time. But this particular girl had never taken swimming lessons of any sort and was not exactly comfortable being in the water. The problem was that the level she was originally signed up for was way beyond her water skill level. She couldn't even enter the deepend at her teen age. At the moment, I thought this would be an easy problem to fix - I be by her side with an assist (fludder board), ready to help her when needed. For her however, this was a life or death task. Now being as stubborn as I am, I was not going to let her leave the lesson without completeing at least one basic fundamental of swimming; back float. She did not like this idea of mine of course, and decided to sit out for the remainder of the lesson. I was dumbfounded. Why not at least TRY?

As I continued teaching my lesson, I kept glancing over to study her. Not glaring or anything rude, but just studying. The way she hung on to the wall, looking down, deep into the clear water with almost no expression at all, made me think. Something kept telling me she wanted to be in this lesson, at this time, on this particular day. She DID want to learn how to swim, how to move with the water instead of fighting aginst it. She DID want to try...

My theory is this -

She was afraid of being judged. Being chuckled and pointed at. This particular group of kids all knew eachother fairly well. She didn't want to ruin the rest of her summer being known as "That girl that couldn't swim"... Perhaps that might be an exaggeration, but how was she suppose to know that? How was she suppose to know that no one was going to be talking or laughing behind her back? Of course I would quickly put a stop to that, but she still didn't know.

After speaking to her mother after the lesson about how much more she would be able to benefit if we were to drop her down a couple levels with a different instructor. I saw improvement immediately. Not only physically, but mentally - emotionally. Becca (the other instructor) had stayed in the pool during her break with this young girl, so that no one else could watch her struggle. I cannot express the feeling I had at the momment where she had succeeded. She had tried. And succeeded.

This brings to my attention alot of questions I have of society beyond swimming. And maybe even questions for myself. We fear of the audience that is waiting for our mistakes to happen. We are always asking ourselves, what would happen if I did this, tried that, spoke my opinion and messed up? Even something as exotic and silly as trimming my front lawn with no shirt on. It gets hot in the dead of the heat! Yet, my conscience says no - that's inappropriate. Is it inappropriate? It is hot outside, my shirt is sticking to my back and if everyone in the world cut their lawn with no shirt on, it wouldn't be seen as inappropraite or weird or crazy. I suppose there are still "standards" or "rules" that should still apply like; you don't go down to the store naked, to buy groceries. That isn't my point. My point is; how much of our lives do we miss out on, worrying about an audience that exists only in our minds?

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