Thursday, August 11, 2011

Connor the Conqueror

Connor is sometimes a tough egg to crack. I understand him pretty well because we're a lot alike. Trying new things can be scary. Fear can be paralyzing. I get this all too well.

A couple weeks ago, Connor was pretty much terrified of the deep end of the swimming pool. Getting Connor to face and conquer his fears is a challenging feat, but sometimes necessary because we want him to feel a sense of accomplishment and to do things we know he'll enjoy once he stops being afraid.

Connor's always loved the water, in a safe way. As in, being able to touch the bottom or being held or being in a floaty or sitting on the steps. He didn't take very well to swimming lessons. But in the last year or two we convinced him to start swimming underwater to get him more comfortable, which he the shallow end. This summer we vowed we'd get him swimming for real. And lo and behold, he started swimming. In the shallow end. 

Swimming in the deep end was the next step. We gently encouraged him and pushed him to try. Chris's dad has a big pool that's 10 feet deep. He told Connor he'd pay him $20 each way if he'd swim back and forth across the deep end. Connor doesn't forget much especially if it involves the promise of 40 bucks. I'm sure he was thinking about that money every time he went swimming.

Just over a week ago we invaded my father-in-law's house on a Sunday afternoon with a bunch of extra kids. And Connor earned his $40. We were ecstatic!  We surpassed our goal of getting him to swim this summer - he is now swimming in the deep end like a pro. 

But we didn't stop there. Right away we started badgering him (gently) to jump off the diving board. His response was pretty much "no way!" But we're persistent and we know our kid. We knew he would love to conquer the diving board. So this past Sunday we invaded my father-in-law's house yet again, this time with even more kids. Chris walked him out on the diving board, just so he could get the feel of it. And Connor said, "I'm gonna do it!" He let go of Chris's hand and jumped off the diving board. Now we can't keep him off the diving board or out of the deep end.

Overcoming fear is hard, but Connor did it. We knew all along that he could.

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