It would seem that the resilience spirit in my little boy took a break. Z was back to his ‘I cannot do this’ phase recently.

We had been away for a 2-weeks holiday so Z did not practise his swimming. When we were home, I asked him to practise his ‘freestyle’ strokes. He told me that he forgot the strokes. Fair enough, we understood that children had these moments when they were out of practice. The next day, after his swim class (which I observed that he was too busy playing and chatting to pay attention), Z said he remembered his freestyle strokes. I told him that we had a bit of time and to ask his coach if he could practise freestyle swimming in the main pool.

Z immediately replied, “No, I cannot ask. He will scold.”

To me, it was either a fear of asking questions or trying to get out of swimming. I asked him to try. There was no harm in making the request, the worst was being rejected. Z refused to ask and gave the same reason that his coach would scold.

I did not want Z to grow up to be a boy who was afraid to ask questions and speak up. I was very firm and he still refused to ask. I had no idea why he was so fixated in his thinking without trying. Eventually, I ‘stormed off’ and told him that he was apparently only afraid of scolding by his coach. He seemed to have forgotten that I could scold him too.

In the end, after the melodramatic fanfare, he asked and the coach agreed. I was not expecting the moon. I only wanted to see that he really remembered the freestyle strokes like what he had claimed. Z also learnt that there was no harm in asking questions.

There was another day when he brought his iMath kit home. I asked him on how to use some of the tools. He simply said he forgot and did not want to try. It was certainly a frustrating moment that he forgot our emphasis about trying. No wonder that was how the Chinese saying went, “,“.

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