Last weekend I went out body-surfing with one of my mates, at one of our magnificent beaches here in Newcastle. We also took an 8 year old guy with us who has a speech impediment which makes him lisp badly.
Because many of the kids in his life criticize and mock Daniel, he has very low self esteem, and is quite afraid of people, and many day-to-day experiences.
We were having a ball in the surf, catching a few waves, and generally enjoying the energy and pounding that is often part of this great sport. We noticed that Daniel was not keen to join us as he was scared of the waves, and didn’t know what to do when they got a bit demanding, even though he was quite close to the shore.
I stood back and watched as my mate took Daniel by the hand and led him further into the water. Next thing I saw him getting Daniel onto his back so that he could piggy-back him a little further out. Then I watched in admiration as he encouraged Daniel to do some new things. He had him ducking under the waves that were menacing; swimming with the waves that were catchable; and generally teaching him some of the ‘laws’ of being in the surf.
After about half an hour of this encouragement and support, Daniel came running up the beach beaming with a sense of joy that was inspiring for me to witness. As he got closer he said, “I’m not thcared any more, ‘cos Jayden thowed me what to do, and now I’m bwave”! “That wath the betht time I’ve ever had”! “Thankth for bringing me with you”!
It was one of the many times in my life that re-emphasized that just one ounce of encouragement can make a ton of difference! I also felt so grateful for being in the position that I have created in my life, where I am helping people to feel empowered, on a daily basis.
My mate Jayden just happens to be one of my grandsons. He’s 7 years old – and he’s already learnt the value of giving encouragement and support to others!
I gave him a high-five and told him I was proud of him! He also beamed with the satisfaction of the last half hour spent empowering Daniel. Daniel is his friend and next door neighbour.
Jayden has also played a huge part in helping two other grandkids in overcoming their fear of the water over recent times. They too have come out of the water each time beaming with pride and satisfaction at having taken steps towards being capable of enjoying the water …. rather than fearing it!
When I take them all out swimming now – it’s a blast!
Not only are Michell and Cameron now capable of having fun – they keep challenging themselves by wanting to venture further from the shore each time. So now I am constantly hearing, “Come on Pa, let’s go out where it’s deeper”!
That inspires me immensely!
They’re all true champions! One for leading; and the others for allowing themselves to be led in a positive way!
What else can we learn from this?
Life throws us some waves that are meant to be ridden; and some are there so we can learn to simply duck under them, and let them go!
The lesson is in learning to know which is which!
The enjoyment is in riding the ones that we can!
Phil Evans [email protected]