When my son Ben was about 4 years old, he took his very first swim lessons at the local YMCA. I didn’t realize until we arrived that I wouldn’t be inside the pool with him, so I watched from the window just outside. (Albeit a little nervous since he didn’t know how to swim at all) I was amazed at how brave he was when I was out of the picture. Where he would have normally clung to me for dear life, he was content to hold onto the side of the pool with the other “minnows.”
When it came to jumping off the side of the pool into the water though, no one was game.
The instructor tried to encourage each student, coaxing them off the ledge, but no dice. They had hit the edge of their courage. I was impressed when, instead of giving up and moving on to a different exercise, the teacher did something brilliant. He had each student do their most ferocious dinosaur ROAR. They bared their teeth, squatted down and made their hands into fearsome claws. All the parents marveled as one by one, each tiny dinosaur roared, then jumped right into the pool and into the instructors’ arms.
It was as if the bridge from fear to courage lived in a tiny shift in perspective. A ferocious dinosaur wouldn’t be afraid to jump into the water, right? It reminded me that simply embodying a posture of courage can give you power and can be an access point for your own fierce spirit.
The other thing this story highlights is this: Courage is contagious.
As each minnow saw the other minnows jump in the pool, they saw that they could do it too. This is what we do for each other. This is how our being brave helps light the way for others. This is why we need to practice and why practicing together is a way to lift everybody up.
My brand new offering this year is called Wonder Lab! It’s a monthly membership where we explore a theme each month. This month the theme is courage. And I would LOVE to have you join us in practicing courage!!