My husband and I are both avid divers, so it’s no surprise that when our son turned 10, he wanted to become certified. We looked forward to showing him the world underwater. As expected, Joseph certified and fell in love with the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Of course, certification was only the first step, and he was not automatically confident in his ability. However, as he logged more and more dives, he gained that confidence that comes with time and experience. In evolving his diving skills, he carried that confidence back to his regular life. He learned to rely on himself in other situations. As kids build confidence through scuba diving, their newfound skills can carry over into many other areas, such as school and adult-centric situations. Here’s how
Since Joseph became certified so young, he was able to journal about an unusual topic for a 4th-or 5th-grade student. In addition, as the teacher assigned projects requiring students to present pictures illustrating their lives, Joseph had some great underwater shots. These caught his teachers’ attention and sparked classroom conversation.
Because of this, classmates were interested in him. They asked him questions about where he had been and what he had seen. He became more and more comfortable speaking in groups and sharing information about himself. Scuba diving gave Joseph something to set himself apart from his peers. The environment can be more challenging in junior high. But Joseph continued to show confidence because of scuba, which made him feel unique.
We warned Joseph that his open-water and junior-advanced open-water courses used textbooks written for adults, so he was proud of himself when he got through the texts and classes. In addition, more adults than children surrounded Joseph on dive trip, so he learned how to manage himself in a variety of adult discussions. He became comfortable talking to adults about scuba and different tips and tricks that he’s learned along the way. He began to realize that he could offer meaningful information to an inexperienced adult diver. This contribution led him to find other areas where he could also add meaning to a conversation, as appropriate, and he eventually became quite comfortable speaking up in a group of adults. He was soon able to carry a conversation that would otherwise require parental intervention.
Becoming Generally Responsible
A child diver must have confidence in his or her abilities underwater. Once certified, other divers will expect them to be capable dive buddies. Parents must of course choose dives with good conditions, as well as ones within their abilities. Something can go wrong on any dive, but Joseph knows that he’s responsible for helping us deal with an emergency. What that emergency response looks like may vary tremendously. But realizing that he may have to become a caregiver to an adult encourages him to plan and prepare for the dive. As he refines his skills and gains confidence in his abilities, he can move that problem-solving skill set topside to school, social situations, and even to managing potential threats.
Joseph loves diving and continually improves his skills as he matures and logs more dives. He has been diving on a variety of boats and in a variety of conditions. His confidence has kept him focused and calm in many situations. That same diving confidence spills over into many situations in his everyday life. As he continues to grow and mature, I am certain that diving will have a significant impact on how he addresses new challenges in his life.