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my-childrens-most-valuable-lessonsIn June, I dread the thought of entertaining my kids and giving up my freedom. By the end of August, I hated to give them back, and by September I wonder where my summer went?

When my oldest two (now 16 and 17) were little, my husband and I decided to join Paradise, a local pool and tennis club that is great for kids. Set on many acres of land, they have swimming, tennis, rowing, volleyball, and hours of orchestrated games.

It's really the equivalent of camp, kids meet kids and moms meet moms.  

Through this experience, my kids have developed life long relationships. My only requirement was that they join the swim team and take swim lessons, which began at age 4 and ended at 17 when they left their mentor, Coach Steve. 

Their love for the sport has developed differently. My oldest two began their love affair with the water in elementary school and now swim competitively for their high school. 

My youngest is 9 and isn’t a fan. A gifted athlete, his motto is why participating if you can’t win? We are working with him on developing sportsmanship and teamwork. The swim team is an opportunity to reinforce that you cannot win every time. What counts is trying your best, and are participating on a team.  

Every year at the end of the summer, each team goes to championships. The coaches start the meet with a relay race with their tops swimmers. This year, standing on the block, goggles in hand in preparation to join the relay; my son suddenly sprinted from the block and began crying. His team was in first and the pressure was on. 

Convinced that he didn’t want to lose, I was mortified. We knew if he didn’t swim, the team would be disqualified. As his turn approached, his emotions (and mine) escalated until having no other choice, he jumped before my daughter pushed him. 

At the end, my husband and I approached him.

“Carter why did you do that?” we demanded. 

“Because” he looked down as his lip began to quiver.

“Because you didn’t want to lose right?” I asked in a somewhat fresh tone.   

“NO, I was afraid Mom. I wasn’t afraid to lose,” the tear came down his cheek. 

“I was afraid, to let my team down. “ 

I had never been prouder of my son or the program that was teaching him about life, sportsmanship, and compassion. Life was full of lessons, swimming being just one of many.    

For more LIfewithwendy stories visit her website at www.lifewithwendy.com.

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