To Swim or not to Swim


Maria cried and cried last night when we got home from work. She had gone to Swim Team practice earlier in the day and hated every second of it.

Why? Because “she just hates it. She’s bored. She came in last and she just doesn’t enjoy practice.”

Let’s parse out those reasons. The first one I tend to not give much credence to because she’s got to learn to give reasons why she doesn’t want to do something. The second – she’s bored – I also have trouble with. Life can be boring, girl. We have spoiled you by engaging in activities all the time and this is what happens.

The third one made me think and review my decision. I don’t want her to hate going to practice everyday and I don’t want her to feel self conscious about her swimming. Right now, she just enjoys being in the water and playing around and jumping off the diving board. I don’t want to push her away from that by forcing her into a sport she doesn’t want to participate in at this time. But I balance that with my strong desire to have her learn swim strokes and be a better swimmer. I could care less about the meets and competition. So which one weighs out the other?

One girlfriend said that her daughter hated it too and she told her daughter she could give swimming up but she had to take up at least one sport. Her daughter chose tennis and loved it. I am warming up to that idea with the thought that I’d still make Ri take individual swim lessons this Summer.

I am still conflicted though. I played piano for four years when I was ages 7-11 but then I begged to not practice anymore. I can’t remember how long or intensely I begged, but my parents agreed to let me stop. Now I wish they would have “made” me continue practicing. But maybe I would have rebelled if they made me keep it up at age 11 and run away and met up with bad seeds and gotten into prostitution and been killed…. It’s always easier to look at things in the past and think “if only.”

So, my gut tells me to keep her on Swim Team for two weeks. If she still hates it, then she can choose another activity. I think Jon is on board with the plan, too. Mario just thinks Maria is crazy – who wouldn’t want to compete?!

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4 thoughts on “To Swim or not to Swim

  1. keepmoving4wd says:

    Hi randomly came across your blog after doing a swim search… and I couldn’t stop reading, you write really well… I like the idea with letting her decide otherwise she will just end up really hating it later on, least this way when’s she’s older in high school she may take it back up or before then on her on choice, I think it’s always better for the child to decide, ultimately give her your advice and what you think but let her decide I say. Thankfully I have (had) amazing parents, sadly lost my mum not long ago, but they let me do whatever I wanted to do, to a certain degree of course, and I think that was the best thing, although each to their own! I also agree with you though that swimming is very important and needs to learn how to swim even just for safety, you never know what could happen! Good luck with it all… 🙂

    • marymenkedick says:

      Thanks for your thoughts and your kind words! I wish we had the ability to realize the amount of time and effort our parents put forth on us when we are kids but at least we realize it as we get older and can learn from them and appreciate their teaching. Take care!

  2. Kevin says:

    Hey Mary- I think it’s better to let the kid decide, like your first respondent does, especially if it was your decision for her to join the swim team. If it was hers, you might talk to her about following through on her commitment to season’s end and then assess the situation. You could do that regardless of who’s decision it was, actually. If you put her on the team you could admit to perhaps putting her in something she really didn’t want to do, but still encourage her to finish the season because she might learn to like it.

    It’s really a tough decision, isn’t it? The right answer’s obvious only in retrospect. After all the Tiger Mother approach seemed to work for that woman’s kids.

    I think learning to swim is an important skill for safety reasons; as a parent I think it’s my responsibility to make sure my kid’s a good swimmer. It just so happens Daggy’s on a swim team but that was her decision. Lessons mandatory, team optional.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and joys at parenting.

    • marymenkedick says:

      Thanks for your input, Kevin. Much appreciated. I think they need to switch around the saying to “it takes a village to raise a parent!” I am so charged for Dagmawit and her “bad” self winning all of the swim meets! I hear you are all over it – pretty soon you will be making pins with her face on it to wear to the matches! Love it!!!

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