While there, I met Anna Anderson (who has now become one of my very good friends!) At the time, she had just started teaching ISR lessons as a result of a near-drowning experience she had with her oldest son. She was so impacted by that experience that she determined to learn how to teach this unique program so that not only would her children have survival skills in the water, but so that she could teach other children as well. (That is one of the major differences about ISR lessons is that they teach survival skills in the water, not just how to swim.)
After learning about the program, I of course thought it sounded great and was definitely interested. But, due to finances we were not able to sign the children up.
Then last summer we were at my in-laws’ swimming pool. Carlee had been in the pool with her life jacket on but decided she was done swimming. I was always insistent that if my kids were near the pool they must wear swimmies on their arms. No questions asked. However, this particular time I broke my own rule. After Carlee was out of the pool I took her flotation device off and put swimmies on her arms. Then she decided she wanted me to hold her and wanted the swimmies off. I thought, “She should be fine. She’ll be wrapped up in a towel on my lap.” However, someone came over to talk to me and without any of the other adults or me even realizing it my daughter had gotten off my lap and crawled into the pool without any flotation device on.
I truly believe God directed my attention to my sweet daughter because the next thing I knew, I looked over and could only see her red hair floating under the water and her trying to get above the water. I immediately jumped in and got her out and when she came up she was able to cry, praise God! I was very upset by this event because I am one of the moms that always has swimmies on my kids and yet, it still happened.
Afterwards, my mom commented that the only time they would probably be safe without floaties on was if I was holding them. I explained to her that was the situation and yet it still happened!
That was one of the worst days as a mother so far (and I hope I don’t have any more days like that.) After I got them all home and into bed for naps, I cried for an hour. I didn't sleep well at night for several nights because every time I closed my eyes all I could see was my little girl under the water and the horrible fact that I didn’t even see her get in. It’s one thing to have your child knocked in the pool or to see them crawl in and you immediately get them out, but to not know how long they’d been under or the fact that I didn’t see her get in was even more disturbing to me.
God is sovereign in all things and I know that He used that incident to teach me that even though I do my best to take care of my kids, I cannot be with them at all times, nor can I protect them from every bad thing. Our Heavenly Father IS with them at all times and yes, terrible things still happen because we live in a sin-cursed world. This doesn't mean God doesn't have the power to stop bad things, but in His sovereignty He sometimes allows them to happen. I praise Him that He chose to let Carlee be okay that day. "My help comes from the LORD, who made the heavens and the earth! He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep." Psalm 121: 2-3 These were the verses I read the day of Carlee's incident.
Things like this (and worse) happen more than we like to know. I know of at least two other moms that has happened to and it really is an awful experience! After Carlee's experience I was so embarrassed to tell my friend Anna because I couldn't believe that it happened and I had even known about the ISR program. She was a great friend and reassured me that of all people, she would know how I felt. She then told me about ISR's scholarship program and suggested I check into it. I definitely did and began praying about the possibility of our children taking lessons. Amazingly, God provided every last penny for all THREE kids (at the time, ages 11 months, 3 and 5) to take lessons! (ISR focuses on children ages 6 months to 6 years).
This program is an average of six weeks long. Lessons are daily Monday-Friday with each lesson lasting only 10 minutes. I was very impressed with how much individual care goes into each child before, during and after the lesson. I know it sounds like an incredible commitment. And it is. But it is so worth it. At least now I know that if any one of my children were to fall into a pool, Lord-willing they would be able to get themselves into a floating position and swim/float/swim to safety if need be. (Caleb was only about 12 months old at the time so he did not learn to swim BUT that baby can float!!! Even fully clothed! It is amazing!)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm guessing a video must be worth a million. :) That being said, I wanted to share these videos with you of each of the kids.
Honestly, I can't even tell you how thankful I am that my kids were able to participate in this program! It doesn't replace parental supervision by any means, but it does give my kids one more chance at survival should they need it.
If you want more information about ISR, check out their website here or contact my friend Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org
This picture was taken before our first ISR lesson
Ms. Anna with the kiddos!
The kids were officially done in this picture. It was an incredibly proud moment for me.
(As you can see, Caleb's so sad his lessons are over.) :)
If you have children ages 6 months to 6 years, I hope you'll at least consider a program like this. It's hard for me to put into words how grateful I am that my kids have gone through this program. If you happen to live local to me, you will love Ms. Anna for an instructor! She is truly gifted at what she does. This program is available nation-wide and I know they have many fabulous instructors---I read a lot of reviews on line before we participated in this program.
**I definitely was not paid to write this post or even asked to write it. I wrote it because it is something that is very important to me and I want others to know about it!