Recently, I had one of the most transformative travel experiences of my life and it happened in the oddest of ways. You may know that my biggest fear is of deep water: I hate not being able to touch the bottom standing. I swim and snorkel but only when I’m close to the shore. So when my 11 year old wanted to get her scuba diving certification so she could dive with daddy I decided that it would be a good time for me to face this fear so that the three of us could dive together. It was H-A-R-D for me. I was nervous, I had a lot of anxiety about it, and I was honest with her about how I felt.
As we learned to dive together, something amazing and magical happened. She would check in with me while we were underwater to let me know she was okay so I wouldn’t worry about her, and also to check whether I was okay. It was one of the most amazing experiences and feelings as you see your child take on a bit of a caregiving role with you.
When we got back she told me that she was proud of me for overcoming my fear. She added that she feels more confident now that when something makes her nervous she will be able to manage it because I am brave and as my daughter she has some of my bravery, too. Let me tell you -hearing this was worth every single penny we paid, every worry and stress about the trip, and more.
My 7 year old was able to do the Sasy Program where he learned how to use a BCD and get used to compress air but was not able to descend. We did get a chance to dive with stingrays and he was able to snorkel with us. He can’t wait until he is able to get certified, too.
Now me being me, you know I did my research and didn’t just go with any company when it came to the certification. I met Margo from Kids Sea Camp a few years ago and learned that they have certified over 7000 kids without incident. Kids Sea Camp has been running for 17 years and has extremely high standards for the instructors they hire.
At Kids Sea Camp safety is #1 with fun coming in close behind. I trust Margo and her team and know that thousands of others have too. Plus scuba diving is actually really safe. According to PADI, the world’s leading scuba diver training organization, the most common injuries associated with scuba diving are, in order, sunburn, seasickness, and dehydration. All of which are easily preventable with sunscreen, anti-seasickness bands or medicine, and making sure you drink enough water before and after a dive. Scuba diving is safer than most other sports – when done correctly. Which is why choosing a program like Kids Sea Camp was so important to me.
Once I realized I was capable and I had completed my certification despite my fears, learning to scuba dive with my daughter was an amazing experience. I am so proud of myself for doing this and I’m proud for sharing the experience and my feelings with my kids. Pretending we can do everything and are not afraid of anything does not serve them. Being real with our feelings and our challenges and showing them how we overcome them is a great life lesson and something worth celebrating.