Monday, December 19, 2011

Just telling it like it is.

Interesting that in the season of goodwill I should post a story tinged with un-goodwill'ness.  Don't shoot me.  I'm just calling it as I saw it, and I truly am a very nice person.

We're at our last swimming lesson for the year, it's assessment time, and Rafe has in my opinion, been a term too long in his class and surely must be due to move up.  I tell him "when that guy watches, swim your heart out", he does and canes it.  There's another little guy in his class who started about the same time, sweet looking kid but clearly out of his depth in that class.  His mum is always on her pink phone, barely looking up the whole term, me, i never get near mine thanks to whatever child of mine isn't swimming and Angry Birds.
But on this day, the mother is at full attention, she has a pre-swim assessment briefing with the instructor and then a very animated one after.  I start to take interest.  He comes to me, I ask how Rafe went, he tells me, another term or some holiday lessons will take him over the line and into the next class, he says "I don't want him not able to keep up with the kids in the next class up, and be out of his depth".
Fair enough, we move onto another part of the pool to watch Will's lesson.  Only to have the other kid come across with his mum for "John to have a look at him" says the instructor.
The kids swims and splutters and performs his very average technique in this second chance assessment to the head instructor.  Coincidentally this is happening in front of where I'm sitting.
At the end "John" swims over to the kids mum and says "He's good to move up", she looks relieved, puts her two kids into their dressing gowns and heads for the door.

Wisely and uncharacteristically for me, I wait till she's left before I wander over to the coach.  "So how come he's gone up, when Rafe hasn't and in my opinion Rafe is a much better swimmer?"I ask.  "Oh yeah, absolutely, Rafe is so much better, but the kid has slight cerebral palsy so ..umm, you know, and his brother is about to move up to the same level, so umm, ".  I was a bit mortified at my rudeness and inappropriateness and muttered an "oh of course", and start to move away.  When I saw my little guy looking a little disappointed having seen his class mate have a special assessment and get the nod for the move up.

In a flare of perspective, I stopped and turned back to the instructor and said "you didn't think Rafe should go up because he'd be out of his depth and wouldn't be able to keep up with the other kids, right?  Well regardless of his condition, that little boy is going to also be out of his depth and even more behind the other kids so how is that helping him?".  Sighing he says "look lady (ok, I put that part in there although I bet he was busting to say it), if it was up to me he'd be staying where he was but his mum insisted so that's why I got someone else to make the decision not me, he shouldn't be going up".

Hmmph, I thought, so that's just how the world works sometimes.  Logic and common sense are sometimes left on the edge of the pool.
As it was in this case.

Sorry, back to my usual Christmas cheer, and if you take anything out of this, let it be that I will walk over coals for my kids, as obviously this boys mum has had to.

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