Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Children's Day Lesson

Every Friday is a very busy day for the family, well, mostly for Ira. He has school in the morning, remedial lessons after-school, French lesson at 5pm, and swimming lessons afterwards. Unlike any normal Friday, the 4th of October was a special one this year. Ira had no classes (and remedial) as it was Children's Day. His French lesson skipped this Friday for the same reason. But he still had swimming lesson to look forward to.

As he didn't have anything for the day, and Kelvin was home early because he only had his test to finish before being dismissed from school, we went to the swimming complex earlier than usual. We dropped by McDonald's for some sundae treat for the boys. Once they were done with the sundae, Ira headed to the pool for a dip while waiting for his lesson to start. I thought we could go to the slide and check if Ira now meets the height limit. I talked him out of the pool to go to the slide but he said he wasn't interested in the slides anymore. But I knew that really wanted to. It just so happened that a few weeks ago he and Kelvin went there and were rejected by the person-in-charge (PIC) as he was a few millimeters short of the height requirement. He was very disappointed then that he went back to the pool crying and mumbling angry litany. Knowing him, he didn't really want to go there just to be turned down again - he would feel rejected and embarrassed. As his lesson was almost starting, I didn't push the idea any further.

After an hour, I tried to convince him again. I told him that while I was talking to a friend, she told me that there was a class of students who went to the slide sometime ago and there were 2 children who also fell short of the height requirement. Their teacher spoke to the PIC, pleaded for the children to be allowed to go down the water slide as they knew how to swim anyway. Lo and behold, they were allowed into the water slide. I said maybe if I could talk to the PIC and let him know that Ira can swim, given that the height difference was not that much, then he might be allowed to try. With much persuasion, I was able to convince him to give it a try. Anyway, we won't be losing anything if we did. If he won't be allowed again, at least we tried. If we didn't try, then we won't find out.

So off we went to the water slide, feeling a bit nervous but determined. We walked up the stairs leading to the measuring wall indicating 1.2m. Ira stood with back on the wall, and he was a few mm short. But what surprised me was that before he was even standing next to the wall, the person manning the water slide approached us and almost told us off. He said Ira was still a bit short for the requirement. We stood aside, when a small boy rushed to the slide without even standing in front of the measuring wall (i think it was already his second or 3rd attempt). Then Kelvin said, "Mom, that boy is as tall as Ira and the man let him slide!" I noticed a father and daughter approaching the stairs. The daughter was almost the same height as Ira, so she definitely would not be allowed to go to the slide. But the father talked to the man-in-charge and said that she could swim. The man hesitated for a while, but allowed the girl to go provided the father would go first to catch her, just in case. The 3 of us looked at each other.  I guess we all had the same thing in mind - if she was allowed to go, then Ira should be allowed to go too! Heck, he is even a better swimmer than I am! So I talked to the man-in-charge again, showed him Ira's height as compared to the measuring wall, and informed him that Ira knew how to swim and he has been taking lessons for more than a year. Again, he hesitated, probably a bit worried since Ira did look small as compared to those his age, but he let us go in the condition that Ira can only go ONCE. Well, that was still better than not going at all. He let Kelvin go first, supposedly to be able to catch Ira. But I think Kelvin didn't really mind what he said so after sliding he walked to the side of the pool while the man shouted for him to go to the side and wait for his little brother. We couldn't do anything about that anymore so I told the man that I'll go first so I can assist Ira when he slides down. Ira was getting more and more excited. I slid down and waited for him at the bottom of the slide. Ira slid fast and swam to the side of the pool. He was soooo happy, his face lit up as he flashed those incomplete set of teeth. The look on his face - priceless. 

That's something money couldn't buy for him for children's day. 

True to our word, we didn't go back for another slide, but we did talk about going there again next week ;)

I hope I was able to teach them something about perseverance - not because he was turned down once, he was going to give up.  It's not about getting around the rules just because you want to do/try something. It's about trying and trying, using difference courses of action, as well as providing additional information that may persuade the other party to change his/her mind about his/her decision. It's showing that because Ira was only a few mm short of the required height, if we could reason out that he was capable of fending for himself in the water (eg. he can swim), maybe he could be allowed to go down the slide - safely. And he was!

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