Learning From a Water Baby

We certainly can learn from little ones, can’t we?  Just yesterday I was watching my son and daughter-in-law introducing little Mika to the pool.  Well, she’d already been swimming a bit in a pool in Florida but her introduction had been a tad scary when she went into the deep end with Grandpa unexpectedly.  No harm done.  Everyone got out quickly but Mika wasn’t too sure after that if swimming was for her.  This time, the kids were trying to make her water introduction a more pleasant affair.  As I watched, I got to thinking how we could apply the same principles to anything new but slightly scary that we grownups approach.  For example, –

1.  Introduce something new slowly.  If you are fearful about trying something and it’s possible to do so, just try a little bit of it or do it in small increments at first.

2.  Include a trusted friend in your new activity or adventure.  Somehow, things aren’t quite as scary if you have a friend walking beside you joining in the adventure.

3.  Sign up to try something new in a group setting.  If you are trying to learn a new skill, nothing helps take away the panic of failure like being in a group of people who are all at the same level.  I love learning new things in groups where we are all laughing with each other as we flub up, try again, and then start seeing ourselves improve at a new skill.  Or, if I’m traveling somewhere new, it takes away a lot of my concerns if I am traveling with a group under the guidance of an experienced guide.  In fact, when my mother and I used to travel in foreign countries, we’d often sign up for a city group tour when we’d first arrive in a strange city.  Then, after we’d had the chance to get our bearings in a safe setting, we’d strike out on our own later.

4.  Try to introduce an element of “play” into new experiences.  If you can combine a fun element with something that is a little more nerve-wracking, sometimes you can get so distracted by having fun that before you know it, you are doing the very thing you were afraid of  and hey, it’s not so bad after all.

5.  Consider finding a good instructor to teach you a new activity.  If I’m trying to learn how to do something, I’m a firm believer in finding someone who knows what they are doing to teach me.  Or, if I’m going to an unfamiliar country, I’m going to want to hook up with someone who knows the area and customs.  You can save yourself a lot of trial and error if you don’t try to muddle along on your own.

Mika had a fun time in the pool yesterday.  She wasn’t thrown in to sink or swim.  She was surrounded by people she trusted, who knew how to swim if there was a problem.  Her rubber ducky was used to make a game of her time in the water and she received lots of encouragement from both the in-water folks and Nana and PawPaw.  Plus one other thing……she had lots of sunscreen on.  That would be point number 6.

6.  Don’t be foolhardy.  Use common sense and take necessary safety precautions.  Thanks, Mika, for being our object lesson for the day.

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