I believe it is important for our boys to try a variety of experiences out especially at young ages. Moreover, I believe that part of this process includes learning the joy of mastering something and the frustration that comes with making mistakes and needing to work harder. There are times however when I struggle between wanting to support their desire to try something with my concern that they may be getting in over their heads.
On Saturday, we went to an outdoor swimming facilities. It was the Cadillac of swimming pools. They had water slides, Olympic size pool, kiddie pools, and everything water based in between. But more importantly they had diving boards. Ry, who is still working at improving his swimming was intrigued by the board. He indicated he wanted to jump off of the board. I was not certain this would be the best idea, but I agreed he could go for it.
We waited with some family friends as bigger boys flipped, flopped, and twisted their bodies off of the board into the pool. And then Ry took his 6 year old self and carefully walked to the end of the board, looked out at us, and simply jumped, plunged, and safely rose up, and dog paddled to the side. After a round of congratulations, he was ready for a few more jumps. And then,” hey dad, I’d like to jump from the high dive.” Gulp.
I really struggled over whether to stop him or not. He slowly climbed, climbed, climbed, and climbed till he reached the top. He slowly walked the plank, till he reached the end. Our friend chuckled and remarked, “did you see him, he just mouthed the words WOW.” He looked forward, looked back, and then…he turned around and walked down, down, down, down, the stairs. When I told him I was proud of his decision, he looked confused. I said I’m glad you knew yourself enough to know you weren’t ready to go rather than jumping out of concern for what others would think.