Perhaps one of the most painful things is to watch someone you love struggle. That pain can really squeeze your heart when the person struggling is your own child.
We signed Will up for swim class this winter to try and strengthen his skills. Of course, the little guy didn't think he needed the lessons. He thinks he's a better swimmer than he actually is (which can be dangerous!).
Everything went well until the next to last lesson. Halfway through the class, Will got out of the pool, grabbed a towel and came over to us with his bottom lip out and quivering. What in the world?
Will told us his tummy hurt and he thought he'd throw up if he got back in the water. We had our doubts, but since that stomach bug had been going around, we went with it and packed up and left. Lo and behold, he miraculously felt better once we got in the car. It turns out Will didn't want to tread water for 30 seconds in the deep end.
We both talked to him about being scared of things. We also talked about how proud he would feel for conquering his fear. Yet, all that week, I wondered if we should've handled things differently that day. Should we have made him stay?
The morning of his final class, Will looked like he was going to cry. He told us he wanted to go home and that he was scared to tread water. I thought Mike would have an anxiety attack watching Will. It tore him apart.
I don't know how the little guy had lost his mojo, but I figured the only thing we could do was encourage him. There was no way we would leave that swim lesson before it was over again.
Sure enough, in the last 15 minutes of that last lesson, the instructor let them do cannonballs. It put the smile back on Will's face and the swagger back in his little swim strokes. And yes, he was able to tread water.
We all have our fears. We all lose our confidence. Sometimes, we just need someone to push us so we can believe in ourselves. And sometimes, we just need to let loose and jump in the deep end.
Julia is a reporter for WRAL-TV and the mother of a grade schooler. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.