Why can’t I?

At my age there are a lot of things I love about condo living.  In the summer, my favorite thing is hanging out at the pool with family, swimming laps, chatting with neighbors and the condo manager that stop by the pool or just relaxing on the lounger with a book and a cool drink while listening and watching for birds at the same time.

Water is my thing. I’m a Pisces after all. I am horrible with most exercise except for walking and swimming.  So this works out perfectly for me.

Yesterday was one of those relaxing family swims, at least it was, until it was interrupted by the pleading and whining of my 4 year old granddaughter Bristol.  “Mom! Please, please, please can I take off my water wings?”

My daughter and I were actually having a nice visit at the side of the pool while the kids swam and wanting to keep her daughter safe says no and so then came ensuing argument and fussing.  “But, Why can’t I?”  This back and forth continued until my daughter finally hopped into the pool with Bristol and let the young adventurer stretch out her wings without the water wings.  I watched as my daughter laughed, encouraged and celebrated the efforts and accomplishments of her young daughter as she swam from the stairs to her arms and back again…. over and over again.

I realized in that moment that Bristol didn’t have to be nagged, coaxed or given expensive lessons to do something that she had a desire to do.  She was simply given encouragement.

It made me wonder about my teaching.  Do I worry too much about keeping the children I teach “safe”  instead of encouraging them to stretch their wings and take risks with their reading and their writing? This year when a child asks “Why I can’t I?”   My goal is to say, “You can!”  As I jump into the pool next to them clapping and smiling.

4 thoughts on “Why can’t I?

  1. What a beautiful metaphor for teaching. I’ve also noticed that the reverse is true. I encourage my students to have independence, and I’m learning to do the same with my older daughter.

    And, I’ve been having the ‘water wings’ summer with my daughter too. Unfortunately, it means less time to visit with my mom at the side of the pool, but life is full of the bittersweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wondered how this might end up and I feel so rewarded! When the whining leads to finding the right question and achieves the desired response we can feel proud for everyone involved. And the point you make about wanting to keep your students safe is a wonderful reflection to chew on.

    Liked by 1 person

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