I’ve always been a big fan of resiliency.
The Toronto Star recently ran an article with the title, “Tough Times Make Kids Resilient” and I couldn’t agree more. Lauren La Rose writes, “One of my jobs as a parent is to take a dependent child and turn him/her into an independent adult. And I think we’ve lost the plot on that as a culture in the last few years.” Once again, I couldn’t agree more.
My friend and I have recently been talking a lot about this on the phone, reminiscing about the life lessons that we learned growing up. The profound lessons were never learned by “sitting at the side of the pool.” The character-building, resilience-making lessons were learned when we were in the deep waters of life – sometimes swimming long distances and getting weary, sometimes barely treading water, with no life jackets on – but in the deep waters, nevertheless. We were both prepared because when we were younger, we were given opportunities to experience, explore and be challenged in the shallow water without being rescued. We progressed from there.
When my daughter was young, I enrolled her in a swimming program. I hadn’t done my research on this unique method of teaching children how to swim – I just took advantage of a nearby pool because I had two younger children in tow at the time. The idea was for Dawne to sit on the steps of the pool, start blowing bubbles and when she “felt” ready, she could choose to move down to the next step and do the same thing. It was all about Dawne “feeling” comfortable with the water and progressing at her own level. After twelve weeks of lessons, (which parents were not allowed to watch), there was an Open House and parents were encouraged to come and see how their children were doing.
I will never forget this experience. There was my sweet daughter in her cute little bathing suit. sitting on the second step, blowing bubbles and briefly dipping her face in the water – after twelve weeks and a substantial cost, my daughter had “felt” like blowing bubbles. Granted, there were many kids who had made their way down the stairs and were swimming up a storm but Dawne…well, she was taking her time. I wasn’t embarrassed – I was angry. Twelve weeks of blowing bubbles as a kind, patient teacher with a gentle voice stood by and passively encouraged her….hadn’t worked.
Soon after these classes were completed, I put Dawne in a public swim class and within two weeks, Dawne was swimming…and smiling. She was very proud of her accomplishments.
She needed to swim with the sharks, not blow bubbles with the fish.
“A little bit of stress is good. Without stress, a person doesn’t learn to cope and they can’t live on their own…They expect everything to happen the way they want. The balance is between too much stress and enough stress…handling stress well builds strength in people.” Lauren La Rose
Bruce Lee once said, “Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
As I look back onto my life, I am acutely aware that it has been God’s grace and my choice to work through the pain and disappointments that have made me a resilient person.
I’m so thankful for the deep waters.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficult, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43.2 NLT
He reached down on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. Psalm 18.16 NIV