Learning to Swim

By Ron Pereira Updated on March 5th, 2008

My 2.5 year old daughter hit a major milestone last night.  She swam by herself with no life jacket. 

She and her older sister (5 years old) took swim lessons earlier in the summer.  My 5 year old caught on during the lessons and was swimming in no time.  But it took the younger one a little more time to get the hang of it.

I have written about some of my kids milestones before, like when my oldest learned how to ride her bike.  As many of you know by now I always like to compare these major life accomplishments, and hey they are to my kids, to what we as lean and six sigma practitioners can do when we put our minds to it. 

Here is what I learned from my youngest daughter the last few months as she nearly sunk dozens of times only to have mom or dad hold her up.

  • She had no fear.  Now for a kid learning to swim this is not always best since she pretty much jumped into the water no matter if mom or dad were close to her or not.  Nonetheless, she was and is a fearless kid.
  • She was determined.  This kid is about as determined and stubborn as any person I know.  She watched her older sister swim and you could just tell it was killing her to not be able to do it herself.
  • She persevered.  She drank lots of water and failed to swim many times.  Yet she never gave up.
  • She listened and learned.  She did really good in her swim class and learned some basics like how float and kick.  She also listened to her mom and dad as we gave her tips.
  • She put her face in the water and swam.  One of the things she hesitated to do was hold her face in the water for an extended period of time.  Finally, last night she just put her face in the water and swam.  And just like that she had it.  Once she got it she kept improving and by the end of the evening it was if she had been swimming for years.

There is much to learn, in my opinion, from a child.  If us grown-ups always display this same courage, determination, perseverance, and trust in the systems and tools that we know work (e.g. lean and six sigma) we can do great things.

Have fun with the kids in your life.  Watch them, love them, and learn from them.

Have a great weekend.  We’ll be at the pool!

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