I'm still trying to figure out what all the lessons were from my recent trip across the pond. I think I've almost gotten a hold on one:
Water wings. We spent lots of time introducing some young children to buoyancy, being in the water, floating, keeping your breathing apparatus out of the H20. They were excited to be in the water but wouldn't let go of our necks at first. Slowly they let us hold them instead of the other way around. And, here's the cruel part. The crucial part. The part I didn't like the most when it was done to me.
At some point, you have to let them go. All the way. So they can fully experience the wings bearing them up. They have to learn to flex their little arm muscles to further submerge the floaties so their little noses and mouths can find the air. You can say it a million different ways, but in the end you have to let go with your hands and let them work it out.
It is scary as crap when you're a grown up in a very foreign land. And you're submerged in something you don't know how to maneuver through, somewhere that isn't instinctive or innate. I've got great instincts. I get by on them all the time. They were no good to me in Narnia. I needed something more.
I sure made some horrible gasping noises and flailed about like I was drowning, even if nobody could see me or hear me. But, as I finally realized, I had on my water wings the whole time.
They do tend to deflate over time and you have to add some air here and there. I totally get that now. But, they are just the beginning. I've heard of these things called surf boards. Hmmm...