Building Character, Part 1

How to feel like the worst mom on earth:

Bundle yourself in a sweatshirt to watch your kids swim outdoors in 65 degree weather.

I was faced with somewhat of a parenting crisis last Monday morning when we woke up to chilly overcast windy weather, but my kids were supposed to start their swim classes that day. What to do, what to do? I ended up taking them because the lessons were already paid for and I didn’t want them to miss the first day. They were brave little soldiers, shivering in their little bathing suits before getting into the pool. Our pool is heated, but it’s a sad state of affairs when the pool water is warmer than the air.

The kids survived. They had fun actually, but I still felt so guilty watching from the sidelines in my sweatshirt. I would never go swimming in that weather. If you asked me to, I’d think you were crazy. Yet here I was forcing my kids to do just that just because I’d paid a little money for them to take lessons. Bad. BUT they are learning how to swim, which is potentially life saving for them. So really, I asked them to get in the pool to save their own lives, right?

Nope, still feel guilty.

It stayed that cold for the first two days of swimming. On the second day, it actually rained while they were in the pool. Then I felt really guilty. I didn’t even want to be outside, but I made my kids swim. Hey, they were wet anyway. What’s a little rain on top of that? Terrible, terrible, terrible. All the parents in the chairs were like “Are we BAD parents or GOOD parents for making our kids swim through this?” As far as I know, none of the kids from swimming dropped out during those first two days. All of us parents were bad or good or cheapskates together. We already paid for those lessons! We didn’t want to waste them!

The actual swimming part wasn’t so bad. It was the getting out of the pool part that was traumatic.

I mean, really. The girl was wearing a ski cap after going swimming outside! That’s just wrong!

All that coldness just builds character, right? Tomorrow, another very guilt-inducing experience that happened last week. We might not have been the best parents last week. Or maybe we WERE the best parents and our kids will have the best character ever because of it?



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2 Responses to Building Character, Part 1

  1. Jane

    You’re just being a good Jewish parent. Among the things the Torah says a father must teach his son (it’s always about fathers and sons, right?) is to swim because his life may depend on it.

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