What I learned from a lifeguard…

by | Aug 10, 2008 | Love Others

A week ago I took our two children and two of my nephews to the waterpark. It was a beautiful day–the sun was shining, the weather was warm and the water was refreshing! We did our share of water slides (the kids went on much more than me), and we really had a wonderful time.

I took a “time-out” to dry off and rest on my lounge chair by the “kiddie pool” a couple times that afternoon. During one of those breaks, I couldn’t help but notice a situation that was taking place in front of me. I certainly didn’t think that seeing something at the waterpark that day would have such an impact on me…but this did!
I noticed a younger woman trying to lead a toddler to the “kiddie pool” area by talking to him. This toddler was in tears; he looked upset and scared. It didn’t take me long to figure out he was lost. The young woman was leading the toddler to the lifeguard there. This lifeguard was a male; I’m guessing either high school or college age.
After the two adults exchanged some conversation, I watched what the lifeguard did. He looked down at the toddler and tried to calm him. That didn’t work. I was surprised at what he did next…He took off his sunglasses, then got on his knees and then spoke to the toddler again. With the sunglasses gone, the toddler could see the eyes of the lifeguard. And when the lifeguard got on his knees, he was more at eye-level with the toddler instead of towering above the little guy. What a different reaction I saw from the toddler! He became much more calm and even put his little hand into the lifeguard’s hand. The lifeguard then was able to help him find his parents.
Obviously this lifeguard knows something about relating to people! His actions got me to think about the times I have not taken the time to get on “someone else’s level,” to see things from their perspective! How many times have I “towered above” someone, instead of making them feel comfortable, loved and cared for? How many times have I not looked someone in the eye and kept my focus on them during a conversation?! How many times have I not “removed my sunglasses” so I can be transparent, and let people see my true heart through my eyes?
Today, who can you lift up by “getting on their level?” Who can you help feel safe, secure and loved? Remove your sunglasses and lower yourself to see eye-to-eye to someone. You and they will be blessed!
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