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Sink or swim

June 21st, 2004 · 2 Comments

Last week I took Abigail to the pool. It was Mommy-and-me time, but I also had a goal in mind. I wanted to see how willing she was to swim. I didn’t care exactly what she remembered from her lessons last fall or what she could or couldn’t do. I wanted to know how willing she was to learn.

I’ve been thinking about the will and how powerful it is. We grownups can hire professionals to help us in our lives but if we’re not willing to make the changes, it won’t work. Nothing will happen. We have to have our wills in line with our goals. Being willing is the key to changing ourselves in every aspect: emotional, spiritual, physical, mental.

One of the big changes I’m trying to make is to exercise more. I can talk about it and write road races on the calendar, but I have to want to do it. It means making the time each morning. I have to be willing to push myself out of bed and into the street. I have to be willing to turn that key in my heart and mind and body and the front door…and to make myself run. I have to want that physical transformation.

Spiritually I’ve been struggling. One day as I tried to pray, I thought I felt God saying that all I had to be was willing. He would take care of the rest. God will supply it, but He wants me to make the choice, to turn the switch to Him on.

Being a parent, I’ve seen how little I can control my kids. I can take Abigail to the pool every day. I can put her suit on her. I can buy her goggles. I can sign her up for lessons. But if she doesn’t want to learn how to swim, all my efforts are in vain.

The key to the will is the key to the heart. If I want to do something, that means that my heart is engaged, at least in some way. Free will is different from force. I could try to force my kids to swim. But it would only backfire after a while, and someday they would hate the pool.

Today Abigail had her first private lesson at the pool. I think we were all nervous. Once or twice this spring Abigail had said that she didn’t want to take lessons. Then she seemed to change her mind. But only being in the water with an instructor would prove her willingness.

This morning she got out of the pool excited: “I can float!” Through the day she told me how much she liked her teacher. She said she wants to go back to the pool and practice. Now she wants to learn. She is willing.

When it comes to the will, it’s a matter of life and death. It’s sink or swim.

Tags: journal

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Jun 22, 2004 at 9:18 pm

    I’ve been having trouble making myself get up in the mornings to exercise, too. Even with a friend waiting at Curves! But this week with D on a business trip, I can’t go anyway…sort of a relief not to have to even think about trying to make myself…for three days, anyway.

  • 2 Katherine // Jun 24, 2004 at 4:07 pm

    And about swimming – kudos to you for making sure your kids learn how. Jason learned basically how to do it at age 7 (but needs a lot more practice to become a strong swimmer), and Emily is still working on being comfortable (not a word she would use yet) with her face in the water. So I’m kind of envious of the families whose kids are like fish. I guess it takes (at least) more exposure to the pool…hoping to get some of that this summer with the cousins.