Monday, September 22, 2008

Take a Different Perspective

Often times, especially as we raise our children, we fall back on old reasons for activities we have the children do. They ask "Why do I have to do that?" and parents answer, "because I told you so." In our swim school world, when a parent asks, "Why start swim lessons at such a young age?" we could list safety statistics about childhood drownings or breached barriers until the parents' eyes glaze over. And while all this information is pertinent and important, I choose another route.

When I get asked that question, I start talking about infant brain development and synaptic pathways in the child's brain that are stimulated and encouraged to grow by the child's exposure to the water and the decisions they have to make there. Learning to hold their breath and float, bilateral use of their arms and exposure to a fluid environment (that's not all that different from the womb) all benefit the infant and child. I want to let these parents know that by exposing their child to the water and a world that is fluid rather than hard like a floor, chair or a car seat carrier, they are giving them new sensations that help the child develop their brain's capacity for learning and decision making.

Why is this in my mind today?This weekend our team of teachers is participating in an awesome workshop on Infant Brain Development taught by the team at New Directions Institute. I am so excited to share their knowledge with our excellent staff of teachers. It is our hope to offer this material at a future seminar for our students' parents in the coming months.

Also, I have a friend in Australia who often shares jokes and motivational stories with me. I received the following parable from Ross and it got me thinking about making sure we take a different perspective on the world each day.

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: 'I am blind, please help.' There were only a few coins in the hat. A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, 'Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?'

The man said, 'I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.' What he had written was: 'Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.'

Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?

Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative... Be innovative. Think differently and positively.

Invite others towards good with wisdom. Live life with no excuse and love with no regrets. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.

Great men say, 'Life has to be an incessant process of repair and reconstruction, of discarding evil and developing goodness.... In the journey of life, if you want to travel without fear, you must have the ticket of a good conscience.'

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