“Never give up. Never surrender,” is a quotable line from Galaxy Quest—one of my husband’s favorite movies. Maybe the line is a bit cheesy, and yes the movie is a spoof on Star Trek, but I see real value in what it says just the same. To live a life tenaciously moving forward despite the obstacles can only help a person grow into something special. So of course, as a mommy, I never want my kids to quit, which brought a few tears to my youngest son this past week.
We were swimming at a pool in a different town than where we live. The place had several pools, and one of them had a cool inflated jungle gym floating in the deep-end. Of course my children and I made a bee-line for it.
The lifeguard stopped us. “They have to show me they can swim all the way across the pool,” he said.
All of my kids are capable swimmers, so I shrugged my shoulders and told them to have at it.
My oldest two breezed across, showing off their breast stroke skills. My youngest also took off, doing his much improved front crawl with side-breathing. With his face in the water, he got a little disoriented and brushed the lane-line with his arm, but other than that he looked like a competent swimmer. When the lifeguard said he would have to retest to go on the floating jungle gym I was shocked, especially after the very next kid he passed did nothing but a slow, pitiful doggy paddle.
My youngest jumped out of the pool in tears. I chased him to the shallow lazy river.
“Go back and retest,” I said.
Bobbing through the current, he wouldn’t look me in the eye. “He said I’m not good enough.”
“He’s wrong, and you’re going to prove it.”
I wish I could say those words alone inspired him, but it took way more cajoling to get him to go back over there. His confidence in his abilities had been shattered by the lifeguard.
This time, I gave him my goggles to ensure he wouldn’t touch the stupid lane lines at all. I was so proud when my son zoomed across. If he hadn’t tried again, he might never have gotten his confidence back. And he loved playing with his older siblings on the floating jungle gym. Mommy’s “Never give up. Never surrender,” isn’t such a mean thing after all.