Water Safety and Play-acting

Our Home Parents’ job description is over a page long. Yet that barely touches all of the random responsibilities that sometimes fall under the last category…”perform other duties as assigned.” For Home Parent Dad in the Hubbell Home, Jordan Douce, that recently meant acting like he was a nearly drowned child.

As summer approaches, the kids start asking, “When can we go swimming at the lake??!” The first concern for all of our staff is, “How can we stress the importance of our water safety rules?” Lifeguard and Home Parent Mom in The Wright Home, Merri Heberlein, decided the best way to impart that knowledge this summer was by staging a scenario of what could happen if children disobey.

Enter lifeguards Jordan Douce and his younger brother Tully (who serves as a Parent Aide.) They were given the task of pretending to be fighting children. As the brothers broke one rule after another in the water while the children silently watched, the final catastrophe happened when they both insisted upon being up on the “catwalk.” This small deck towers over the swimming dock, allowing children the excitement of jumping into the lake from a higher height. Only one child at a time is allowed on the catwalk, yet Jordan and Tully ran out together, while shoving and fighting, and of course tumbled down on top of each other into the water. Children were mesmerized as Tully came to the surface but Jordan did not. As the other lifeguards jumped to the rescue, children’s eyes grew wide with concern as Jordan was pulled to the surface, placed on the body board and then resuscitated.

No amount of lectures or speeches could have driven the point home as thoroughly as that mock rescue. With the lesson over, a wet but smiling Jordan was greeted by the large group of children, many asking, “Are you okay Mr. Jordan?” in spite of his reassuring smile. Afterwards, the lifeguards quizzed the children on many of the rules that had been stated earlier. They were eager to answer, and one young boy said, “Wow, I really thought Mr. Jordan was a goner!!!”

Finally, the children were told that all of the water safety rules exist because we love each and every child at Coyote Hill. We’re not trying to take away their fun or make things difficult for them…but because of our great love and concern for them, some rules have to be obeyed for their own good and for the safety of others.

Sound a bit like God’s love for us, perhaps? “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:25