The hubs guest-blogs today! On a subject close to his heart. He says…
One of my aims has always been to endow K with key non-academic skills before she goes to Primary One (which is when the academic nightmare starts). It was important for us, since we want her to develop herself outside of academia, and to teach her self-confidence.
What key non-academic skills are we talking about? Cycling and swimming!
First, cycling. In 2013, we considered enrolling K in a cycling class. This class would help move her from 4 wheels to 2 within 2 hours (for a fee, of course). I decided to pass on this, since I thought that it is only right for parents to teach their kids how to cycle, and I wanted to have a good go at it. So with a pre-loved Strider (purchased from a good friend at a friendship price) and weekly Sunday afternoon lessons at the void deck, K managed to master the Strider within half a year. She was able to glide down a gentle slope without having her feet touch the ground.
The next step was obviously to transit her good balancing skills to a proper bike. But to be frank, we were lazy, and just kept dragging our feet though we had another pre-loved pedal bike given by a church member. It did need some work: tyres were flat, brakes not all there, and with training wheels still on. Finally, with some help from K’s maternal grand-dad, we got down to it, and got the bike into decent shape…
And the result was marvelous! Within 5 minutes (I kid you not) of being on the bike, K deftly combined her peddling and balancing skills and managed to cycle! Those of you who’ve seen the IG video know what I mean. We were very amused, since K was screaming like a mad woman but she was actually managing very well!
Secondly, swimming. It has been close to 18 months since we started her in swimming class. And how much she has developed! From one who was scared to get water in her eyes when bathing, to one who is the most advanced in her swim class of 3 little girls! She is able to swim about 20 meters in freestyle, without any support. To me, what was most significant along the journey of learning to swim, was the joy she experienced in developing a skill from scratch, and in learning how to push herself, beyond her comfort zone.
As I reflect on her progress, I was proud to see K pick up these skills. In the process of learning how to cycle and swim, she was able to overcome her fears, and to learn how to persevere in the face of difficulties. Life IS difficult. The more we help her to prepare for life’s challenges, the better it is for her. A few scabs on her knees and a few gulps of pool water is a small prize to pay for such important life lessons.
|A precious papa and daughter moment|
I do echo his thoughts! This inexplicable fuzzy feeling welled up when I saw how K first swam that short distance at around 4.5 years, and when she first ‘took flight’ on two wheels and pedals a bit after 5 years old. Felt prouder of her accomplishing all that, than when she started reading (which was a pretty delightful moment)!
Guess it also comes from my dream of wanting her to grow up enjoying the great outdoors, and be comfortable and confident in activities such as cycling and swimming.
I think it’s simply too cute to see little kids master these psycho-motor activities (like blading, skiing or even snowboarding too!). In fact, it is when they are little that they have less fear of failure, falling, and learn faster, I feel.
Looking forward to our journey in these with B next!