I took the boys swimming today. They found another boy there and they all had a great time splashing each other, playing tag and jumping into the pool. There was a life guard who had to tell them off for running once, but didn’t tell them off for jumping into the pool.
But I had to endure sighs and looks from a number of mothers who had their babies in the pool at the same time. For the most part, they huddled in the corners of the pool and I was careful to tell the boys off for splashing or jumping near the other bathers, but I think I was right not to stop the boys from horsing around and having fun in the pool even if it made the mothers and other bathers uncomfortable.
You can tell I’m feeling a bit chastened here (though no one actually said anything to me) and feel the need to justify myself. But I think I actually can give good reasons for my latitudinarian stance.
1. The boys were playing in the shallow end. The mothers with their babies could have gone into the main pool. The babies have floating arm bands and can’t touch the ground wherever they are in the pool. The mothers can stand on the ground in the main pool just as easily as they can in the shallow end. The only swimmers who potentially benefit form the shallow end as such are young independent swimmers, like the boys.
2. The boys were having fun. We take the boys to properly structured swimming lessons during term time, but they won’t take it as far as they could unless the learn to enjoy being in the water. And I think fun helps that.
So, my defence is that by allowing the boys to have fun in the pool I am taking the necessary preparatory steps to making them good swimmers, which is important for their future. And I had to do that in the shallow end where it was safe.