Kids gain from encouragement – and return back to us

As parents, we are always encouraging our children to do their best or to give something a try.  We hope they get encouraged, but sometimes they learn a lesson that maybe we didn’t intend; to be encouraging to others.

My sons started learning how to do competitive diving. My youngest son was the first to start (another story for latter) and my oldest son decided to give it a try as well.  Needless to say, in an attempt to be a good dad and to participate with my sons, I also started diving (really another story for latter).

The main pool where we practice at has only a 1m board (low board) and a 3m board (high board). At two other facilities we dive at there are the platforms: 5m, 7m, and 10m (which is like a 3-story building).  We were at the facility with only boards for this story.

Now, it had been YEARS, a lot of years, like back when I was a kid years, that I had been up on a diving board.  Yes, when we are younger our sense of doing something that could possibly get us hurt doesn’t exist; but man does it ever develop as you get older.

I had mainly been sticking to the 1m board, but finally decided to venture up onto the high board. Did I mention that it had been a REALLY LONG TIME since I had been up on diving boards?

I did a couple of front entries from up there, which is basically standing at the end of the board, bending at the waist and then falling forward into a dive.  I thought, ok, this isn’t that bad; some of the trepidation was wearing off and I started to “think” younger. As I was back to the ladder to climb back up to the 3m board, my youngest son asked me what I was going to do. I told him I think I was going to try a front tuck dive.

As I got up onto the board, I decided that I would just do a standing spring jump into the front tuck dive. I wasn’t confident enough yet to actually do the approach, jump up into the air, land on the board and get a bigger spring.

As I was standing there contemplating my possible fate, all of a sudden I heard my younger son’s voice calling out from below, “Dad, hey Dad!” I looked down and he was standing on the 1m board getting ready to do his next dive. He looked up and me and flashed me a thumbs up sign, “You can do it Dad!”

Right then, at that very moment, I felt a sense of amazement and pride. Here I was, the guy who had been giving him encouragement and support getting it returned in kind; something we never expect to receive from our kids.  I also felt a sense of pride as well knowing that he had learned the lesson of being encouraging to others.  I had seen him be encouraging to his fellow classmates, which also let me know that he had learned that life lesson, but it didn’t hit home for me until I myself was on the receiving end of the encouragement.

I learned that even at my age, we still need encouragement at times and it can come from the least expected places.  Also, sometimes even somebody who is way younger and a child can provide that uplift that we need – without us even realizing we needed it.

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