Children are less afraid and more motivated if they can see where they are going and how much farther they need to go to get there.
Watching my daughter learn how to swim has provided me with multiple insights as both a parent and a teacher. At the swim school she goes to, the teacher requires the children to have swim goggles, not just any swim goggles, but high quality goggles that do not leak.
At first, I thought this was simply a formality, part of a ‘swim uniform,’ if you will. After observing a few classes, however, I began to wonder if there was more to it than that. My daughter was learning how to swim easily 10x more quickly than she was at her previous swim school. She was way more confident after one or two lessons than she was before.
Curious, I bought myself a pair of goggles. I took my daughter swimming and got in the pool with her, both of us with our goggles on. I began swimming laps in the pool and noticed immediately that the goggles seemed to give me more breath under water, not actually of course, but because I could clearly see the other side of the pool which gave me the confidence I needed in order to try to get there in one breath.
Knowing how far I needed to go to reach the other side, I was able to push myself a little harder to get there. There was magic in the swim goggles. They gave me a superpower.
It is up to us, as parents and teachers, to give our children not only goals and the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve them, but also the vision to see past the struggle, resistance, and fear, so that they can push through their limitations to get to the other side.
“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”