Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Do You Spell CONFIDENCE?

Parents deal with irrational children on a daily basis. With the patience of a saint, they are experts at persuasion. As a grandparent, my skill in the art of persuasion is a bit rusty. Case in point was Ayden’s swim lesson tonight. Last weekend he played in our pool with reckless abandon. Wearing only a pair of inflatable arm bands, Ayden jumped into the deep end, bobbed to the surface unaided, and swam to the side where he got out on his own and jumped again and again. Ayden didn’t do well at his swim evaluation a couple months ago. As an incentive to do well in his lesson tonight, his mommy promised a Dairy Queen Slushy after the lesson. Ayden walked in with all the confidence of a 4-year-old until he and his young swim mates were instructed to sit on the first step of the pool. He lost it. His lip quivered and large alligator tears filled his eyes. I don’t get it. What happened?

For the first 20 minutes of a half-hour lesson, Ayden cried, pleaded, and cajoled. He would look at Jamie and say, “Mommy…I have to tell you something”. Then he would say, “I love you” with all the passion of someone facing execution. “Mommy... I have to go potty”. Ayden tried everything to get out of his swim lesson. Look at his bright red ears - a sure sign that he's on sensory overload.

Finally, he decided to give it a try on the boogie board. Hmmmm…that didn’t go too badly.

The last 10 minutes went…swimmingly! Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
"Mommy! I can do this!"

Do you recall the last time fear overcame your confidence? In the mind of a 4-year-old the world appears quite intimidating. Peace and harmony exists in their small circle of friends and family. Introduce an unknown person or situtation, and Ayden's fragile confidence crumbles. What shakes your confidence? What would you do for a DQ Slushy?

Never mind. Don't answer that.


Chere said...

When I say something stupid.The second it comes out of my mouth I realize it. My mind is saying why did you say that? Then I feel dumb and about 3 inches tall. Poor little Ayden. I can recall both of my kids first swim leasons. No water wings, no inter tub and no one that they loved to catch them. Kicking and screaming they would go. After a few leasons they loved it but it took awhile. Jamie, you my need to wait in the car. Ayden did look pretty happy by the end. Good Luck Ayden

Roxanne Schwandt said...

I LOVE this post! You have the perfect way of telling the story, with pictures and all, and getting us to THINK about our own self-confidence. I can remember how hard it was to trust a stranger in an environment that I had previously thought to be unintimidating. I'm so glad Ayden pulled thru and finally enjoyed his swim lessons. He's a born fish in the water and I'm sure he'll soon be the swimming star! :)

Starwoodgal said...

Great post!

I still feel that way everyday when I learn something new and then finally master it.

Where's my slushy? :)

Jamie Payne said...

Thanks for the wonderful pictures mom! And thanks for having the confidence that I could handle the situation:)

Judyann said...

Great post Debra. Give my congrats to Ayden. He did a wonderful job! I used to teach swimming lessons to little kids. Sometimes it took awhile to get get them over their fear and have the confidence to plunge forward. But the smiles on their faces when they succeeded were priceless. Great pics as usual.

Deb said...

What a touching story! (taking notes on how to encourage a 4 year old for future reference)! Ayden is so adorable. You captured the entire story digitally for all of us to enjoy. Kudos to the swim instructor for showing Ayden security in the water.
What would I do for a DQ Blizzard (my downfall)? Well, I would jump into the deep end of the pool without my swimmies! I would give up scrapbooking for a week...well, maybe 4 days. Ok, 1 day.

Country Girl said...

What a wonderful story. What it was that shattered his confidence initially, we'll never know. But now he's on the right path again. Bravo for young Ayden!

Pamela G. (aka-Mimi, Pixie Dust Diva, Little Skinny Butt said...

This is a great post! Who hasn't had their confidence shaken at many points during their lives? Ayden learned a valuable lesson about his own confidence and also about trust! He has the best mommy and mimi as his biggest fans. You can't wait in the car - we all want to show our progress to an admiring friend or loved one - no matter what the project, experience or how old we are!