Sunday, 3 March 2013

Held Back

Jack's progress in his swimming lessons has been slow. He's just not a strong swimmer, he can move his arms and his legs but doing both together gives him problems.

He attends swimming lessons weekly and we go swimming as a family from time to time. So it's not like he doesn't get a lot of time in the water, he just didn't seem to get it. He's in the beginners class where the kids take turns being guided/pulled by the instructors across the short length of the pool.

He didn't get one of his badges some months ago and it seems to have had a snowball effect. At the time we weren't surprised because Jack just wasn't getting any better at swimming despite our best efforts. The reason given was that he needed to do more work on his back, but when asking what the meant no one could give any real answer. In swimming lessons they spend very very little time on back work so we felt a little short changed.

A few months ago, in true Jack style something just clicked and he was suddenly able to swim. He went from having to cling to us and demanding floats to swimming long lengths underwater.

So we eagerly waited the next swimming exam thing for Jack to show his stuff. The exam came and Jack did get a badge. We were very happy. Sure this badge meant that he'd finally be moving up.

The weeks went by and nothing changed, despite the new badge Jack remained in the beginners class while some of his friends were moved on. Jack started to get bored in the lessons and would start messing around between tasks. The next exams came around and Jack got another badge, and that was it. Many if the other kids in the class moved on but Jack stayed where he was. So we had a word with the boss and were told that Jack needed to pass his 5m swim before he could move on, this is the exam that he failed all the months ago. We immediately challenged and requested that someone test him. The boss obliged and Jack passed with flying colors and got another badge...

So another week went by and as I sat and watched Jack get bored an start to swim laps on his own during class I got a little annoyed. I thought about the last few months and noticed something. Because of that 5m fail all those months ago Jack has slipped though the cracks of this system and had effectively been forgotten about. Despite his having done all that he was required to do he was just behind enough that he would never really progress. I've seen this sort of thing a hundred times before. I dug down deep into my system manipulation library and made a very simple plan. I don't like to be the parent that's forever yelling at the poor instructors because I feel like my child getting a raw deal, I more of a strategist when it comes to that sort of thing.

When the boss appeared the following week I gave Jack a task.
He approached the boss and asked with hope in his eyes,
Now that I've done my 5m am I in the bigger class?
The response was exactly what I expected, "No Jack, not just yet."
I smiled politely at the boss as Jack came back with the response. No daddy, I'm still in the little kids class.
I made sure that we were still in view and earshot of the boss.
"Sorry Hun, they'll move your up when you're ready."
Ok. Jack sighed.
Excellent, now watch it go.

Ten minutes later one of the instructors approached me.
"I've been watching Jack and I want to bring him up into my class now."
"Oh, ok great."

Jack beamed at me as he was lead to the big kids class.

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