Friday, July 4, 2008

Persistence and Courage

I have often noted that small children exhibit an interesting range of reactions to the ocean. Some of them are terrified and won't go near the water. Others run straight for the water and often have to be "rescued" by nearby adults to prevent disaster. Most of the time they come up from an unexpected dunking in tears. Sometimes that unpleasant surprise is enough to to turn the second type of child into the first type, at least for a little while. Every once in a while, I see a kid who makes me want to stand up and cheer. I saw one of them today.

DH and I were walking on the beach this morning when we noticed a little tyke take a hard tumble in a wave. Parents pulled him out of the water, and he immediately began to dig in the sand. He was done.

There was a little girl in the same family group, perhaps she was the little boy's sister or cousin. She appeared to be approximately two years old or so. When she saw the water, she broke into a run and did not even slow down when she hit the water. A small incoming wave almost immediately knocked her down and she landed face first in the drink. Her father (?) pulled her out and set her down on the dry beach. She didn't cry or run away. She shook her head, wiped the water out of her eyes, and took off running toward the water again. Another wave knocked her down. That time she landed face first as the wavelet broke over her head. "Daddy" pulled her out and stood her on the beach. Once again she shook off the water like puppy and made a bee line for the water. "Daddy" stepped in front of her. She altered course, ran around him and almost instantly was face down in the water.

That may not be the best way to learn to swim, but given the plethora of wimpy, whining, sniveling cowards in the world I live in (which often includes me), I was amazed and inspired to watch that baby Amazon doing what appeared to be an impossible battle with the ocean with courage and persistence.

Reminds me of a few crazy guys in Philadelphia a couple of hundred years ago.

Happy Fourth of July!

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