Dear Eli: A Letter to My Son’s Swim Instructor {Day 23}

Dear Eli,

I’m writing because I want you to know that you were an amazing swim instructor for my son several years ago.

When we found you, our son had already been through three rounds of swimming lessons at other facilities. NONE of them had been successful. He spent most of the time kicking, screaming, crying, and refusing to get in the water. When he finally did get in the water, he didn’t learn much of anything. It was all so embarrassing, and as a parent, I didn’t know what to do.

But you took our little boy, repelled by formal swimming instruction and unwilling to get in and try, and made him into a swimmer! There were moments where he’d still resist, especially the first several classes, but you had a way about you that made him receptive to trying. You worked your magic, and half way through class, you had him swimming like a fish! My son came to love you and was particularly excited when he’d hit the jackpot of swimming lessons, those random days where he was the only student in class and had you all to himself!

We were sad when our weekly swim lessons with you came to an end. We’d gotten to know and appreciate your style quite well over the 12-16 week period. Why would we want to give you up? You taught our son how to swim. He started off sitting on the side of the pool, hating the whole thing. By the time you were done with him, he was jumping in and swimming several feet all by himself. And even on the last day of class, he was still progressing. What more could a parent ask for?

You instructed with skill, care, and ease, and knew how to inject a just-right dose of humor to motivate my son. Your personalities meshed perfectly.

We assumed you’d continue your work as an instructor at the swim school since it was commonplace for instructors to continue from one session to the next. But we assumed wrong. When we made the request, we were told you were no longer an instructor at the school and that you’d become a personal care assistant. While I was so disappointed you had left and knew we’d never have you again for a swim instructor, I knew the child you were caring for was going to be blessed beyond measure by your assistance.

Thank you, Eli, for what you did for our son. Thank you for breaking the cycle of negativity. Thank you for building in him a confidence he never knew prior to meeting you. Thank you for understanding him, for adjusting your teaching style to meet his needs. And thanks for being you – a great guy who was, is, clearly headed for a bright future.

Sincerely and all my best to you,


*If you’d like to read more from my #31Days Letters to the Unthanked series, click here for the landing page where all the letters are listed and linked!

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