8 Reasons Why Swimming Makes You a Better Parent

  9 SwimSwam | February 05th, 2017 | Club, Lifestyle, Opinion

Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham

Swimming is a great sport for building character in our kids. As supportive swim parents, we rearrange calendars and vacations to accommodate the swim schedule. What do we get in return? I’m not talking about college scholarships, but how does being a swim parent make us a better person?

  1. Discipline.  We take our kids to practice all the time. Monday through Saturday—and for meets, Sundays, too. We also drive in the wee hours for practices.
  1. Volunteering. We step out of our comfort zones and take on new roles to help our team. Mine included asking businesses for donations—plus public speaking at parent meetings. You jump in and do what needs to be done. Volunteering makes us good citizens and role models for our kids.
  1. Less is More. We learn that the swimming pool is a place to step back and let our children figure things out for themselves. Sometimes, it takes a coach to give us a hint to do so.
  1. Patience. Swimming teaches us to be patient. We wait at practice. Wait for kids to finish their showers. Wait for best times. Wait at swim meets to watch our swimmer swim for a few minutes.
  1. Good sportsmanship. By cheering for other swimmers, we can model good sportsmanship for our kids. Also, by watching a few parents, we learn how not to behave.
  1. Humility. No matter how proud we are of our kids, we learn there are faster, more talented swimmers. Once you start going to meets, you find out about faster meets with more swimmers. It never stops. A record holder—at any level—will get that record broken.
  1. Appreciation. I’m impressed with how hard my kids work. They work to achieve goals without immediate success. I wonder if I could have been a student athlete?
  1. Community. Is there a stronger community than swimming? Swimmers and swim parents are family.

What have you learned as a swim parent to make you a better person? Please share.

Elizabeth WickhamElizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog: http://bleuwater.me/.

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9 Comments on "8 Reasons Why Swimming Makes You a Better Parent"

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Retired swim-dad

Commitment. While I am grateful to the sport, the people, and the organizations; I admit–I must have been just a wee bit loony. I am happy we did it all, but I was more than willing to pass that baton when the time came.

Flexibility – I tend to plan ahead, usually to try to fit in the many activities my child wants to do. It’s ok to miss certain things, and I put the choices out there for my child. If she wants to participate in a school dance and miss practice, that’s ok. If she wants to leave practice 30 minutes early to get extra sleep before a big test, that’s ok. These are her choices. It’s really stressful for me to wait until Friday afternoon to get a text for when weekend practices are, but that’s part of the process. We learn that not everyone is a planner, and that’s ok. It does give me flexibility and keeps me from overplanning.
9. PRIDE – I feel proud when I see my child work hard to accomplish a goal and achieve it no matter the amount of time it takes, number of meets to reach it, or obstacles in the way. I feel proud when my child begs for me to get her to practice early or to stay a few minutes longer. I am proud when my child cheers on her teammates or friends on other teams. I am proud of the example my child is setting for her little sister; showing her that to be the best you have to practice and work hard. I am proud when after a tough meet my child walks away knowing she left nothing… Read more »