I heard the door open and then small feet in flip flops squish across the floor of the locker room followed closely behind by a pair of bigger feet also squishing across the wet tile. I heard a small voice say “T-t-t-towel P-p-please”. I saw the boy stretching to reach the towel just out of reach. Then, the boy asked, “Ca-ca-can you help me?” “Yeah,” said the man. He reached for a towel, unfolded it and wrapped it around the boy. “Th-th-th-thanks Dad.” The dad smiled and replied “See, that first lesson wasn’t so bad. You did a great job listening to the instructor and trying your best. You were very brave.” “It was kinda fun.” answered the boy
They moved over to a bench and the dad opened the locker as his son worked at the wet knot of his drawstring. Once again he asked, “Ca-can you help me?” His lip was still quivering from the cold air after leaving the pool. “Sure.” replied the dad. Let me show you how…
The dad instructed the boy to take both ends of the string and pull firmly and slowly in opposite directions. It must have worked as I heard a surprised “Huh!” from the boy.
I heard the boy grunt and then sigh. He must have been struggling with the wet swim trunks as I heard him once again ask, “Can you help me?” “I can…” replied the dad, then he added, “...but I think you can do this on your own.” The dad then coached him through working his way around the waistband to loosen the string and then wriggle his way out of the trunks. I heard them both giggle. The dad said, “Good Job!” and I heard what must have been a slightly failed attempt at a high-five and they both laughed once more.
I know that they came there that day for a swim lesson which is valuable to the boy's physical health and fitness. However, the life lesson that the dad provided will likely prove even more valuable to the boy's overall development. Dad's lessons;
It’s good to learn new things from others.
It's also important to ask for help.
Remember, the same people who will help you will also support you when you face struggles and even encounter failure.
The dialogue of that quick exchange, especially the giggles, brought a smile to my face and gave me a sense of gratitude. I am grateful to those in my life who have helped me when I needed it. I am also humbled to realize that I need to get better at asking for help when needed.
I hope that you will join me in helping others when we can and also in asking for help when we need it. You just never know what you might learn along the way, the value of that opportunity for those who can lend their aid or the impression it will make on someone simply observing your act of kindness.
Be well, make good happen, and keep in touch!
Rod Carnill currently serves as Executive Director for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education and recently celebrated the birth of his first granddaughter.