Saturday, March 29, 2014

The swimmer

A miracle happened today. Josh passed the Boy Scout swim test.

Ever since Josh was super little he has hated swimming. I tried swimming lessons several times with him over the years and he has never managed to pass a class. He just hates it.

But he is working on getting his Eagle Scout award and one of the requirements is to pass a basic swim test. Most kids pass it off at scout camp. If you can swim it's totally no big deal. You have to jump in water over your head, swim 75 yards and back float 25 yards. Josh tried it his first year at scout camp. They had to drag him out of the lake. He tried it his second year at scout camp. They drug him out of the lake again. The kid can not swim. Can't do it, doesn't want to.

But it's a requirement to move up to the next rank in scouting and if you don't move up, you're stuck and he can never make the rank of an Eagle, which is his goal.

So he has been stuck for a long time. He has finished all the requirements for his current rank and almost all the requirements for the next rank. He just can't advance until he swims.

This has been really frustrating for me. I grew up swimming. I only had one more certification to get and I could have been a lifeguard. I love water, so it's hard for me to understand why he doesn't. But he doesn't and he's stubborn and he's a teenager and that's all there is to it.

So next week there is a Court Of Honor. It's the night they do rank advancements and once again he would be passed over if he didn't pass that darn swim test. His scout leaders recently offered to help him. They assured me they could get him swimming. I wished them luck, lol. He came home no closer to passing it off.

This has pretty much been a constant discussion for two whole years. The kid needs to swim. Even if he never learns to love it, he needs to swim to pass off the swimming test. And this week we decided that he has waited long enough. With the rank advancements next week, this is his chance to do it and be done and finally advance to the next rank.

So this morning I took him to the pool at the Y. I told him that we were going to conquer this thing once and for all. He was less than enthused.

It got off to a bad start. He just has major anxiety when it comes to water. For the first hour we were there I was pretty sure it was a lost cause. I tried to get him to relax. I tried to get him to practice treading water, I tried to get him to float...the kid just sinks like a stone.

This is what I know about Josh, and I know it because he's exactly like me. If he doesn't want to do something, there is nothing in the whole world that can convince him to do it. But once he decides he wants to, he can accomplish anything. I've seen this with him a million times. It's all in his attitude. I kept telling him that. He just needed to get over the "I can't" and decide to do it.

Two hours passed. I finally got him swimming half the length of the pool. He had to swim the whole length of the pool four times to pass the test. It seemed hopeless.

And then I saw a change in him. That change that I always see in him when he finally sets his mind to something. He finally got past whatever wall was holding him back and he decided he was just going to do it.

And you know what? After three hours in the pool, he did it. He DID it! The kid swam! He jumped in, swam across the pool three times and back floated back.

The Olympic swim team will never be knocking on his door, but the kid swam. And I don't think I have ever been more proud of him. And more than that, I don't think he has ever been more proud of himself.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm glad for him! :)