Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
Swimming offers our kids amazing role models. Whether it’s older kids on their team, coaches, or Olympic heroes, the sport is filled with extraordinary people. This past week we saw Ryan Lochte make an amazing comeback and win gold at U.S. Nationals. With Lochte’s story, we can tell our kids that he’s human and messed up, wasn’t a great role model in Rio, but look how he’s learned, grown and improved as a person. And yes, he can still swim fast! Throughout the ups and downs of Lochte’s career, there’s one thing that is clear—he never gives up. Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history, and has overcome his demons to become an incredible role model for our children. Olympic medalist Kaitlin Sandeno overcame asthma, injuries, is a TV personality and serves as a spokesperson for the Jessie Rees Foundation, bringing joy to children fighting cancer.
Swimming is filled with talented, hard working people our children can learn from. It’s a proud moment when we watch our children become role models for the younger kids on their team, too.
Why are these swimmers worthy of our children’s admiration?
The world of swimming is filled with talent. Lochte, Phelps and Sandeno are three of many people who were given an extra helping of talent.
Swimming doesn’t allow shortcuts to success. At some point, talent won’t cut it without years of hard work. All successful swimmers put in hard work to achieve greatness.
According to Angela Ducksworth who wrote the book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” talent and luck will only get you so far. “Grit is holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow,” she wrote.
Being in the spotlight has tested more than a few of our famous swimmers. We tend to respect those who show humility and put their team ahead of their own glory. Humility is a trait of great character.
Not afraid to fail.
It takes a special courage to lay it all out on the line with no guarantees for success. The top swimmers don’t show fear of failure. They are willing to give their races everything they have, all the time.
Pick themselves up.
The ability to fail yet try again is something that will benefit our children throughout their lives. It’s easier to say, I can’t do it, it’s impossible and quit. Yet, swimmers try again after experiencing excruciating injuries or setbacks.
What other traits do role models share that can benefit our kids?
Elizabeth 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.