We are half way through the first week of swimming lessons. Once again I am pleased to report that Jack is doing quite well and progressing quickly. Today's lesson began with a review of the "stretch" from yesterday and then the swimmers were taught how to make a full stroke through the water: stretching their arm out then pulling it down through the water, coming up and brushing the side of their leg, extending straight up into the air, and reaching forward for another stroke. Jack told his teacher, "The stretch is my favorite because that's how Superman looks when he turns."
It is hot today, first day of Summer H-O-T!! I found some relief in the shade of a pool-side umbrella and parked Andrew's stroller where he could see the action. Imagine my surprise, and flash of frustration, when it came Jack's turn to swim to the teacher and he tells her, "I can't." What?!?! Where did that come from?!?! What on earth made him think he couldn't? I have never taught him the "I can't" mentality. In fact, Jack knows Philippians 4:13 and delights in reciting it especially when he is in full armor wielding his Sword of the Spirit! He boldly proclaims in a masculine barritone voice (for a 5 year old), "I can do ALL things in Christ who is my strength!" Even before he knew the verse by heart, I taught him this Biblical principle as a toddler when we would watch Bob the Builder, (who obviously also knows this verse to be true because he boldly proclaims: "YES I CAN!" in reply to any project that dares him to take it on). So, now I'm dumbfounded as his "I can't" is still ringing in my ears. Where did he get that notion? Whoever told/taught him this, could you please undo this false teaching! She didn't let him get away with that reply, thank goodness; she said to him, "Sure you can, I've seen you do it!" Her firm enthusiasm was enough to propel him forward through the water to where she stood. Yes, he can, he could yesterday, he can today, and he will tomorrow.
After his lesson, we went to the library for the weekly storytime at 11:00 for his age group. He has several buddies in this little group, so Jack looks forward to going to see his friends, find some books, reach into the treat box, and maybe even check out a video.
This brings back memories for me. Mom used to take us to the library during the Summer for a kids movie and to load up on books. I used to go straight to the Ramona books by...is it Beverly Cleary? I was so excited when I got my own library card; I remember it was paper, cream colored I think, I know it had a metalic bar on it with raised numbers, and my named typed out "Wendy Mari Wise". Remember the cards in the book that stayed in the pocket and the librarian would stamp them with the due date. I used to stand in the check out line mesmerized by the rhytmic and repetitive movements of the librarian at the counter: opening the books-stacking them up just so-and stamp, close, stack, stamp, close, stack-until they were all ready. Then she would rub the spine back and forth on this metal platform...I never knew why. Anyway, good times. Sigh.
So, anyway, we meet up with some friends and decide to go to lunch together. This was so much fun! I'd promised Jack a trip to McDonald's "soon", so we went. Of course lunch was last on his mind, and his buddy's too I think, they are most concerned with getting another one of the Happpy Meal toys from the Disney movie "Cars". Oh the drama! Oh the heartache of getting a duplicate! But, wait, what's this, nooooo it's the girl car, No it can't be! Geez. I ended up spending $4.47 to just go ahead and buy the other cars they have to save myself from being pestered about going to McDonald's to get all the Cars toys. (They're cool toys though, have you seen them? They spin, wobble, & other stuff too!)
Well, my sweet friend and I had some time to catch up after the kids are off in the playland. Guess what comes up, yep, child training! I'm pretty sure I didn't bring it up either, anyway, she too is "counting it all joy" while going through these trying times of raising precious children. Something she said struck a chord in me, I may not quote her verbatim, but I'm sure I'm close: "Sometimes I just don't know what I'm gonna do!" Why is it that the ones we love so much elicit this response from us more than others? Well, as we talked I told her I used to feel that way because I could not implement the scriptures in God's Word and godly teachings from books I'd read by Christian family experts. She caught that I said, "used to feel that way". I don't mean my kids behave perfectly and I never have a parenting challenge to tackle, nope, what I mean is now I know how to use my sharpest tool in the box.
So, we talked a little more and I shared with her what I wrote about in my post for yesterday, June 20, 2006. We both concurred that Christian parents, especially, ought to be the last ones feeling like we "just don't know what to do". After all, we have THE answer, right? Are you sure? YES! We can boldly approach parenting, knowing that answers are in our own copies of God's Word, hope is offered from godly counsel through books authored by godly men and women, and encouragement is found in the relationships we have with other Christian parents, the body of Christ!
I did not delight in my friend's frustrations, but felt connected to her because we're experiencing some of the same things. I was excited to share with her something that has helped me tremendously. So, let's say...you're a mile ahead of a friend/family member as you travel down the interstate on the way to the beach. You see signs of trouble ahead, so you turn on your CB radio. Sure enough an accident has blocked both lanes of traffic a couple miles ahead. You are approaching the exit that will be the last chance to get off before traffic gets worse. What would you do? Well, I would call on the cell phone and let them know what's ahead and that we have an opportunity to take a different route. Wouldn't you?
So, I shared with her my tool (Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman) for putting into practice the scriptures and principles taught in God's Word and expounded on by Dobson and many others. She said, "That's my problem, I read the verses and books but don't know how to use them at home." Well, that's what I loved about the book...it gave me clear and practical examples of what the scriptures and principles we have studied "look like in my home". Excellent! You know what, we can do this for each other outside of a book. That's one of the wonderful benefits of being a part of the Family of God! We can share our experiences with each other; what worked, what didn't, ideas, hopes, prayer requests, and praise reports! Like I said yesterday, its hard, the hardest thing ever...but, Can we do it? YES WE CAN!
Anyway, it is striking to me the parallel in Jack's Swimming Lessons and my Life lessons learned this week. Just like Jack, I am reviewing what I learned already, practicing that, then am stretched to new limits that test my skills and teach new ones, and practice that, then its review the new skills, stretch to new limits, practice, reveiw, learn something new, practice...then before I know it, Jesus comes to pick me up!