Sink or Swim?
What would you do if you saw a child drowning? Jump in and save her? Call for extra help? Toss her a life preserver at least?
Or would you stand on the pool deck and shout to the child, “YOU’RE OLD ENOUGH– YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO SWIM BY NOW! IF YOU WOULD JUST KICK YOUR LEGS AND MOVE YOUR ARMS, YOU COULD SWIM TO SAFETY!”
What if you were told that the child whose head is starting to dip dangerously below the surface, had something wrong with her that prevented her from learning to swim as quickly as other children her age? The support of a life jacket could help her stay afloat long enough for an experienced adult to teach her to swim.
But at this pool, the use of life jackets or any other flotation device is discouraged. In fact, this pool would prefer that only children who can swim well jump into the water. They hope that the kids who need help swimming find a different pool somewhere else.
The drowning child, who is actually a very good athlete, is using all her strength to keep from sinking, but she becomes more and more distressed as she grows tired of the effort it takes to stay above water.
When her worried parent sees the situation and tries to alert the lifeguards, the guards don’t seem alarmed that the child is drowning. In fact, they point out to the mother, “See, if only your child would learn to swim. We told her she should learn how to swim. If she would just try harder she could save herself.” They shrug. “She must not want to save herself.”
The more the mother urges the lifeguards to help, the more reluctant they are to rescue the child. Finally, fed up with the insistent mother and the lazy child, the lifeguards turn their backs, knowing that they’ve done everything they could.