Soon after I sat down beside the pool to watch Patty the swimming teacher work with my young grandson, I grabbed a notebook and began taking notes. Her instructions were working, and I saw my grandson’s swimming skills increase significantly during that 45-minute lesson. I started scribbling down Patty’s words, because it occurred to me that much of her advice could not only make someone a better swimmer, but—taken methaphorically—might also help one be better at freestyling through the deep end of life. There might even be some political wisdom in there. Here’s what Patty said; take from it what you will:
“When your heart rate is racing, dunk under water five times and blow bubbles.”
“Kick fast and efficiently for a more productive stroke. Flailing and bending your knees just slows you down.
“To learn how to move your arms and legs, have a teacher hold your legs and move them for you. Feeling the correct motion helps you learn it.”
“If you want to swim faster and farther, reach your arms to the sky.”
“Always remember to take the time to glide.”
“Float on your back; put your hands behind your head like a pillow.”
“Keep swimming across the pool, and don’t give up.”