The Impact You Make Is Ever Lasting

For me, today was a snowy day where the roads were bad. A day that I could snuggle up with my daughter by the fireplace and watch television while she is babbling at me. There is a portion of me that always has people on my mind.

But that is for another day, because today I am desperately trying to find the words to sum up the impact that this particular group of newly-certified lifeguards had on someone like me. I begin this knowing I will fail miserably, but I’ll continue.

I think what I can start with, is the fact that a few Fridays ago, everyone just came to the pool having not known each other. Just as I pulled the parents aside to talk to them about the class that their kids were going to take, I noticed all of them laughing and smiling. This was weird because everyone who takes my class is generally nervous-not knowing what to expect.

They took so many pictures and videos … perhaps the greatest understatement known to humankind! I asked them what they were doing, and they said they were capturing memories because apparently, I told them during the unit on law and ethics in lifeguarding that they should “document everything.”

I guess I walked right into that one.

And so it began. All the conversations about life and our constant exchange of stories during the whole course, even going through hundreds of pictures after taking loads of them. Apparently, some of the kids said to me “but Drew they have to actually be good ones!” (they were all good). And as I went back and read through all the threads, most were surrounded by positive thoughts and more exclamatory statements. As I read each one, I was in awe of their strength, outlook and attitude. I know I tend to “preach” it, but I struggle with it myself sometimes.

I think what made this group special to me is because they all had things in their personal lives that they were dealing with. And on top of telling them the first time they took their final tests that they failed, the fact that they came up with a game plan on their own on how to re-work different things says a lot about who they really are as people. They accepted defeat the first time and took ownership for it yet,used that to “claim victory” the second time.

They passed the following week!!

I just believe that life is about more than myself. I always ask myself “how can people be better than themselves?” I always think about how I can really help people succeed and set people up for those “aha” moments instead of limiting their changes at succeeding. I always tell everyone that when they take my class, they do not fail. They pass. Although, it might take them time to pass because it is how motivated they are to do well.

But in the end … they do pass. They pass when they do it right. And if that means doing something a million times perfectly until it is right, then so be it.

I gave this group as many opportunities as they needed to pass. And they took advantage of that and made it happen. THAT is how people are inspired to do well in life.

Last evening, I got a text from one student who said to me: “Thanks Drew for actually teaching me. I learned more from you in 3 days than I learned from any teacher that I had in high school in 4 years. How come you don’t want to teach older kids like us? I hope you’ll find it in your heart to go back to school to teach kids like us because we people need you. You actually show us what it means to love what we do. I’ll miss you Drew.”

I was just about to go to sleep when I couldn’t come close to finding the words to express how I felt after that comment because no words could and would ever try to capture the depth of gratitude that had on me. I hope so at any rate.

So I do not know if they will ever read this or stumble upon this years later. I just hope they know the impact they had on me. They need to know the examples of selflessness they were to others. They need to know that their thankless actions they did out of the love in their heart for their fellow human beings never fell short on others. And it certainly did not fall short from me having to have witnessed it.

Because of you guys, you will forever have made the water a better place, a peaceful place, a stronger place, and this world a more loving place.

I love you all. Now go leave the nest and advocate for every single human being and their safety and well-being in and around water. We can eliminate drownings once and for all. It starts with you guys.

Go change the world!!

Go … go … go!

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