I have always loved swimming and have passed on this joy to my children. We went to our local swimming pool a few times a week when my children were small. I was the mom in the racing suit who was swimming laps, jumping off the diving board, or playing in the middle of my children. My children loved to pick me up and carry me in the water when they were small. It is something they could never do outside of water, and it made them giggle every time.

My daughter and I also went just the two of us many times. She liked to swim laps with me. She also wore a racing suit. Of course, she looked much better in hers. I remember one time after we swam laps we went to sit in the hot tub. I believe she was 14 at the time. Two other girls were sitting on the edge of the hot tub-but not in the water with us. They did not want to get their hair wet. Their hair was perfect, and they had a lot of makeup on. My daughter was ignoring me a little bit, so I assumed that these two girls went to her school and she knew them. I waited to talk with her until they walked away. I was right. After they left she started talking to me again.

Later, when we were home, she felt so bad that she had ignored me and had been so concerned about what they thought that she came to me and apologized. This led to one of our great discussions. She said she was glad that I wasn’t like other moms who brought their kids to the pool but didn’t play with them. They sat in their chairs with their perfect hair and makeup, reading their novels but ignoring their children. I, in turn, told her I was proud of her because she was herself when she went swimming. She wore her racing suit, swam her laps, played with her family, and dove off the board without concern about who was there, how she looked, and what others thought of her. She preferred to enjoy the experience and have fun with her family instead of submitting to peer pressure and pretending to be someone she is not.

This experience and conversation helped affirm her ability to be herself in other areas of her life. She started to recognize other times when she did not submit to peer pressure but just enjoyed the moment and was herself.

She has continued to live her life in this way. Throughout high school she was herself. She did her hair the way she liked, wore very little makeup, and dressed in the clothes she wanted to. There was one morning just recently that I drove her to school, and she had an “I Love (with a heart) Mom” T- beamng on. I laughed and said I couldn’t believe she was courageous enough to wear that to school, explaining that I didn’t want her to feel pressure from me to do so. But she just smiled and walked to class.

Teaching happens in the moment! Nurture her nature!

write by Baron