June 22, 2008

Down to Three...

It’s been a crazy last few days. My older two boys left today for Boy Scout camp. Its typically one week, but we’ve had to cut it short by two days due to summer plans.

My philosophy about child rearing has been that the goal is to raise children to be independent socially responsible adults, who have good relationships. I want my boys to be able to love and be loved. I want them to pick healthy people for their long term relationships.

Anyway, its one of the reasons I’m such a proponent of Scouting. It helps teach fundamentals for boys becoming men.

That doesn’t mean this week isn’t going to be hard on me. Two weeks ago I realized… my boys are going to have a blast and… I’m going to miss them.

It wasn’t until this past Monday, when I was talking to a girlfriend of mine, that I finally put it all in perspective. Her son is a Marine and is going to Iraq mid July. I’m just sending mine off to Boy Scout camp.


No comparison.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be kind of depressed this week. There is a lot of noise that will suddenly not be in my home. Just Bones… and me. It will be quiet.

Well, there will be Bones, so it won't be THAT quiet... but it will be... different. There will be a different energy.

I dropped them off today, stuck around for their swim test (they both passed, including the 'floating' part, which for them is 'not sinking so fast') helped them set up their mosquito nets and gave them some basic instructions on how to stay organized and keep things clean… things like, “Don’t stick wet items back in your foot locker…”.

A side note on the swim test… we had 17 Scouts with our Troop. We had one kid included who is not really with our Troop, but what we call ‘ a provisional’. He was put in our Troop because he could not attend the week with his home Troop. Of the 17 boys, ages 11-14, every single one of them could swim, except one, our provisional. Not only could he not swim, he wouldn’t even put his feet in the water. Nothing.

I felt awful for the kid. I don’t know the story, but folks, I am here to tell you, it is a rarity in Florida, especially SOUTH Florida, to have a kid who can’t swim, in particular a TWELVE year old.

There is SO MUCH water down here… everyone pushes their kids to swim by early ages, almost all by age five. When I go to a pool, I can pick out the kids ‘visiting grandparents’. I have never ever been wrong… the only non-swimmer older kids I EVER see at a pool are Northern children. Native Florida kids swim early.

And when I say non swimmer older kids, I mean any child older than five.

And as one of the Scout Employees, an older man who works for BSA, said to one of our leaders who is staying for the week (two chaperones are required at all times for BSA events), “This is very scary. He’d not even put his foot in. We are surrounded by water and he doesn’t know anything to save himself if he falls in one of these many canals or the lake. It’s not the pool I’m worried about…”

And he was right. It’s not the pool. We LIVE surrounded by water. So everyone is on high alert for this boy who doesn’t swim.

But another part that is sad is… this kid can’t participate in any water activities. Its not bad enough that he’s a provisional… a child that doesn’t know our kids, but now his inability to swim has him in a different class during different parts of the day. I’m afraid he’s going to have a miserable time.

I really am.

So I go to stay on Tuesday night; I’m one of two Tuesday night chaperones, and I am going to remind my boys and their two buddies to please include this kid in all their activities. I’m going to remind them to save a seat for him at dinner, to ask him to join them on whatever they’re doing, as long as it’s not near water.

The water thing… I hear they have him signed up for swim lessons next month. I wish it had been LAST month. It would have been so much better…

We were asked to not have our boys have cell phones. My eldest did receive one for his birthday, but we took it away for camp. I told my husband, “I can’t let them rely on me. They have to solve their own problems. The have to ask of other people to help if they need it. Plus, if something goes wrong and they call me… I’m going to feel helpless here as I CANNOT do anything. Let the chaperone call me if something hits the fan… not the boys.”

And so we are disconnected as well, as it should be. They have to learn to do things without me and I think this is a good way. Next year is camp in NC and the year after that is the Boy Scout Jamboree. So this is a good start… camp close to home, but not TOO close.

Anyway, the boys are at camp, I’m minus two boys at home, I miss them already, I hope they don’t miss me, Bones and I will keep each other busy, and… life goes on.

I think they’re going to be crazy busy and I hope they have a blast.

Posted by Boudicca at June 22, 2008 09:32 PM | TrackBack

As of now...Her Royal Highness, now 5, is diving to the bottom of our pool, with or without mask, to retrieve whatever is of value down there. P2, turning 4 next month, is learning the basics and getting her head underwater for longer periods. I think by the end of summer she'll be a fish like her sister. The Prince, well, he's just scary, sometimes its like he has no fear and bails in, and i dig him out. He's doing pretty well for 2. The X-Man will see the pool soon.

Yeah, it could be rough for that kid. Good thinkin' on reminding the boys to include him as much as possible, i wouldn'tve thought of that.

Posted by: Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper at June 22, 2008 11:46 PM

While I don't swim well, but I swim. And my boys go to lessons... tot hates it, tater loves it. But BOTH will swim. And Float. We live surrounded by canals, ocean, pools, ponds, lakes. Yaa... 12 and not swimming... sucks.

Posted by: vw bug at June 23, 2008 06:24 AM

mind boggling.
RTY's school is next to the community center pool, so they include swimming as one of the P.E. segments.

I thought all kids on Florida could swim.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at June 23, 2008 07:00 AM

I would argue that it shouldn't matter where you live in the country - everyone should know how to at least float and do the doggy-paddle. Beach vacations, other people's swimming pools...everyone encounters these at least a few times in their lives. How can someone NOT teach their child to swim as soon as you can slip a floatie thing on their arms?!

Posted by: Kris, in New England at June 23, 2008 11:05 AM

That is pretty sad, having a Boy Scout going to camp that can't swim. Hopefully his peers will show some mercy and understanding and include him in everything else.

I'm taking my Scout crew swimming tomorrow evening. Two of them already went to Scout camp and have had their test, but the other two need testing so I have to coordinate with one of our older Scouts who's certified to administer the test. Then I got to figure out who can loan me swim trunks, I haven't been in a pool in over five years. I swim just fine, I've just become... ahem... a little more self-conscious about myself in a swimming pool.

Posted by: diamond dave at June 23, 2008 02:48 PM

They will miss you. Count on it. My first time at camp I got homesick. But the separation will be good for them. It's part of growing up.

Posted by: Denny at June 23, 2008 03:42 PM

... I fell sorry for that little guy, I truly do.... but as a hillbilly who learned to swim at the age of 5, was competing by 6, and was a MCIWS by 19, I just don't understand why his parents haven't had him taught to swim.... or better yet, taught him themselves....

Posted by: Eric at June 23, 2008 03:44 PM

Geez, i was born and raised in northeastern Ohio, and all of us neighborhood kids were in Red Cross swimming lessons by age 5. With Lake Erie and several rivers nearby, not to mention pools, creeks, etc. it was essential that we all knew how to swim well. My brothers and I also passed our Lifesaving classes early in high school. It made for a nice summer job (beat the heck out of waitressing or babysitting, and we got nice tans to boot!).

Posted by: Mary at June 24, 2008 10:06 PM