Updated: Sep 19, 2019
I have tears in my eyes as I am writing you this letter. My heart breaks when your heart is breaking. Our society puts too much emphasis on numbers these days. How many shots did you make at the game…what are your test scores…what year is the car you drive…how big is your house…how fast did you swim?
I know your SAT scores are not as high as you would like them to be. And your swim times are not as fast as you hoped they would be this past season. You should not be embarrassed about them. Think about the real numbers that count. Not only are you the hardest working 17-year-old around, but let me remind about a few things that you accomplished this summer so far:
Remember the first day of swim practice? As you were standing on the sideline coaching, you noticed an adorable 11-year old boy who was having an anxiety attack. He never swam before and was upset that he couldn’t keep up with the other swimmers in his lane. You immediately saw him, called him out of the water, and helped calm him down. You reassured him that he would be fine, that he would improve every day, and you let him know that you “had his back”. You didn’t know it at the time, but his family was going through a difficult time as his father was home fighting a terminal disease.
Well, that young boy came back to practice the next day…because of YOU.
And he came to every practice every day thereafter…because of YOU.
He came to every swim meet and improved at every event…because of YOU.
His parents are so grateful that he found new friends and a place where he can relax and laugh…all because of YOU. Not only did you change his life, but you changed theirs as well.
And how about your nephew who is autistic? He loves to swim but he always had to wear a huge bubble around his arms and waist to keep him safe. You were patient and loving during the lessons you gave him (and are still giving him). Now, he puts his face in the water, kicks his feet and uses his arms!
He is SAFE in the water…because of YOU.
He is HAPPY swimming in the pool…because of YOU.
And your aunt and uncle can relax at the pool, knowing he is safe…all because of YOU. Maybe even next year he will join the swim team!
And then there is the other young boy on the team that is on the spectrum. You’ve been teaching him how to swim these past two years and he adores you. You taught him how to dive and do a legal flip turn!!
He is SAFE…he is CONFIDENT…he is having FUN…all because of YOU.
His parents are glowing with PRIDE…because of YOU.
An average 17-year-old would not have accomplished these things. You are NOT AVERAGE. You’ve changed the lives of three young boys, and their families. You’ve taught, loved and shaped so many other kids on the team as well! It’s obvious because when you swim your events at the meets, they are all screaming and cheering for you on the sidelines. In reality, numbers are not really that important because I can’t even count the number of people (children and adults) that you have influenced in a positive way.
When people complain to me about how long swim meets are…and how time-consuming the sport is…I just smile because I know that it has taught you so many lessons and has shaped you into this amazing young woman. I have no idea what the future will bring for you but always remember…you are NOT AVERAGE. I don’t know where you will go to college but the school will be LUCKY to have you. And if you choose to swim in school, that team will be especially fortunate to have you as a friend and teammate.
Stand tall, walk with pride, and keep a smile on your face because you, my friend, are NOT AVERAGE. Continue to change the world…one small gesture at a time. Every night I thank God because I am the luckiest mom in the world. I am your biggest fan and love you with all my heart. Keep up the great work…you are NOT AVERAGE!