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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 Dangerous Things To Let Your Children Do In Water

Gever Tulley is the founder of the Tinkering School.* He explains in his TED Talk below 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do and describes why a little danger and these 5 things are ultimately good for both kids and grownups:

1. Play with fire.
2. Own a pocket knife.
3. Throw a spear.
4. Deconstruct appliances.
5. Break the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and drive a car.

Being from the open water swimming world, we have our own open water swimming alternatives for Tulley's land-based risky actions:

1. Learn bodysurfing.
2. Swim along a coral reef.
3. Swim against a current.
4. Swim in really cold water.
5. Paddle board and navigate for a swim buddy in the open water.

Just as Tulley explains below why fire, knives, spears, appliances and cars are good learning tools for children, we believe bodysurfing, coral reefs, currents, cold water, paddle boarding and navigating are similarly great teaching experiences for the next generation of leaders.

1. Bodysurfing teaches children how to interact with nature (i.e., catching a wave) and what happens when things do not go to plan (i.e., a wipeout).

2. Swimming along a coral reef shows children the wide spectrum of life on earth and how living creatures depend on one another; and ultimately how the health of the ocean is vitally important for the survival of the human species.

3. Swimming against a current demonstrates to children how powerless human beings are ultimately against Mother Nature and how to continue on despite the obstacles and issues that they will face in their lives on terra firma.

4. Swimming in really cold water is a fascinating first-hand experience with potential hypothermia that can teach children that what is impossible is quite often possible when the proper mindset is attained and the importance of planning and safety in many aspects of life.

5. Paddle boarding and navigating for a friend teaches a child the importance of teamwork and interdependence upon their friends, schoolmates, teachers, parents and, ultimately, their spouses, co-workers and neighbors.

So provide a little danger and elements of risk in your children's lives under the proper supervision**; they will be better off for it in the long term.

* Gever Tully is the author of Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do).

** Note that all risky acts in the open water should be done under the guidance of properly trained adults (watermen and waterwomen) who can explain and demonstrate to the children what should be done and what can go wrong and who are very comfortable in the open water.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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