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We just came off the beach and packed into the car. It was a wonderful day of digging in the sand and jumping in the waves with our granddaughters and family. Just before getting buckled in our 3 year old granddaughter, Ellie threw her sister’s dolly directly at her with intent to harm. Samantha, Ellie’s 2 year old sister wailed out as the doll hit her square in the nose– a direct intentional hit for Ellie. I observed with awe how my son (Daddy) handled the situation. He removed Ellie gently from the situation, spoke to her kindly and let her know that he saw (and I saw) the meanness in her eyes. Her heart intent was to harm. And she knew it.


What is the goal of your parenting and what are the motives of how you interact with your child? Is it purely a desire to have them behave correctly? Is it a desire to calm the irritation in your own life—meet a schedule, look good to a peer, have a clean and orderly environment? Each of us has a certain level of love and true care for our children but it is always a challenge to provide an environment of unconditional love for our children. In being brutally honest with myself, I must say that much of my parenting included elements of the desire to create peace in my own life rather than purely seeking out what was best for each child. What does a child need to grow up with a true sense of self and love for others?


In the Christian tradition there is a term that most of us have heard of —and is common to all traditions— “unconditional Love”. This type of love is one of deeply knowing a person; seeing the other for who they actually are (the gifts and the shortcomings), and still loving them totally. This type of Love nurtures a person-a child- to become the person they are uniquely created to be. To Love totally is to desire the very best for him or her. I have found in myself and in others that I am very good at desiring love…but not quite as skilled at “Loving”.


In raising a child this may mean to observe more and correct less. Or it may mean to engage quickly and help them understand that mean-ness is not acceptable. At the beach that day there was no scolding, no elevation of voice and no punishment. Ellie’s Daddy decided that this was a time to re-direct with kindness. Did it work? Well, only time will tell. Redirection and guidance discipline is not always immediate…it’s results will only be known in the course of time. This is consistent parenting that looks at the heart of a child and demands growth and development for both parent and child. It is not a formula to follow. The real work is not solely directed at correction and discipline, but more on engagement, relationship and enjoyment of each other as valued and loved people.


Here at Sea Otter, we are interested in caring for the whole child and the whole family. I will be sharing more thoughts on parenting, relationships, and the process of developing the skill of swimming with you in upcoming newsletters. We are honored that you are choosing to be part of our Sea Otter Family where we are attempting to love and care for each person as we help them develop the joyful skill of swimming.


We are here to enjoy each child, each swimmer and every family! Thanks for joining us in this adventure of

With Joy and Caring, Rebecca Sassenrath, Founder/owner-Sea Otter Swim Lessons