the cool of the pool…

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

For the past couple of weeks, Hattie and Laura have been taking swim lessons at our local pool.  They both did great and we are so proud of their progress.

The pool we are members of has 2 indoor heated pools and a large outdoor water park geared towards little children.  There are a couple of large slides and a deeper section for accomplished swimmers.  We chose this facility because it fits our current pool needs.  We’re not ready for the olympic sized pool inundated with teenagers.  Not yet anyway…

The swim lessons were held in the indoor pools but most days we went out to the water park after class for some fun before heading home.  I have been taking my children to the pool every summer since Abigail was in utero.  We love it.  My girls have become part fish.  As we were celebrating the end of swim lessons with a picnic and an extended swim, I began to reflect on my observations over the past 2 weeks.  Big surprise, no?  😉

I was astounded by the number of parents that suit up their children, watch them wade into the water and then cease to be parents.  Just because the pool has lifeguards doesn’t mean that you are released from your parental responsibilities.  This is not the time to tan, text or talk on the phone and completely ignore your children.  Even if your children can swim, you are still accountable for them.  I could not believe the parents who were so involved in conversations with their friends that they did not see their children mowing down smaller children left and right.  The lifeguards are trying to make sure no one drowns.  They are not there to babysit for you or teach your children the word respect.  One woman asked me to watch her 2 year old while she took her older daughter to the bathroom.  Of course I said yes.  However, thirty minutes later, I realized that she was sitting in the shade talking on her phone.  The nerve!  I have no problem with children playing and having fun.  But you still have to be respectful of the others around you.  Especially in a public pool full of people.

There are also pool rules for a reason.  For instance, you are not supposed to bring toys.  It is not fair to expect the line of toddlers at the frog slide to wait for your Barbie to go down first.  It is not fair to leave your boat floating in the water while you go play elsewhere and then come yank it away from the innocent little boy who found it.  It sounds like I’m standing on my soapbox trying to stifle the fun out of everything.  I promise that is not my intention.  Let me ask you this – how can I expect my children to obey rules and respect authority if I don’t lead by example?  I can’t.  I think this applies not only to the pool but also to life in general.

I know that parents need a break.  Trust me, I KNOW.  But the pool is not the place for it.  Maybe the pool in your backyard is, but the public pool teeming with little children is not.

I feel sorry for the ignorant parents because the truth is that they are missing out.  I spent over an hour sitting in the shallow water watching Abigail race down the big slides grinning from ear to ear.  I watched Hattie practice all she had learned over the past couple of weeks in class – her confidence growing by the second.  And I was repeatedly visited by mermaid Laura as she tried to figure out how to swim like Ariel.  It was wonderful and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything!