Dear parents: You need to put your phone down and watch your child’s swimming lesson.

 

phoney

Teachers bring it up in meetings, coordinators brainstorm ideas on changing the culture at the pool, and, yes, kids get upset.

This week one of our teachers came out of his shift and told us that he almost cried during a lesson, because a little boy in his class swam the length of the pool, looked up at his Dad for praise, and said:

‘Why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone.’

His Dad was so engrossed in his phone that he didn’t hear his son call out to him. This particular boy had put in so much effort. He had listened well to the teacher, he had tried his hardest, and he just wanted his Dad to be proud of him.

Sadly, we see it all day every day.

I teach classes and see parents/grandparents/caregivers/whoever completely missing out on the effort that their children are putting in to this lesson, the comedy they bring to the classes with their imaginative ideas, the competitive streak that suddenly appears when a child realises they can do something and do it well.

You could walk into any learn-to-swim environment, and I bet you will see a row of parents sitting on their phones.

As an instructor I can tell you that overall, lessons are great fun, and we get so much out of them. We get to see children change, develop, grow. We get to hear about their days, we get to help them through what can sometimes be a frightening experience, and we see progression.

That progression can be huge; it can be a child finally trusting themselves (and us) enough to let go. It can be a child mastering bilateral breathing. It can be a child perfecting a streamline kick. It can be a child putting their eyes in the water, it can even be minuscule (in appearance), e.g. tucking a chin in further towards their chest; but that could have taken weeks, if not months to happen.

How are you going to see those accomplishments if you are on your phone or ipad, or reading a paper?

How are you going to know that your child IS benefiting from the lessons if you are not watching? Do you see how much they have to take in and do all at once?

Honestly, I get sad as a teacher. I am a little disappointed when ‘Michael’, after months of encouragement and gentle guidance, finally trusts me enough to push off from the edge and paddle out to me, only to see that his caregiver hasn’t noticed. They are not even looking our way.

That’s me, feeling sad, as an adult.

Imagine how ‘Michael’ feels.

I do get it, I know that sometimes it is unavoidable. I know that work can reach us any and everywhere, and while your child is in a safe environment, being watched by another adult, it is convenient to get those final emails done. It’s finally ok to book that appointment online, without your small person trying to talk to you or show you something.

It’s just that, they usually are trying to show you something.

I work for an ever-expanding company, and at the co-ordinators meeting this week, an item on the agenda was: HOW do we get parents to put their phones down?

We discussed banning them (not very realistic)

We discussed posters (will you see them?)

We discussed talking to parents and gently encouraging them to watch

We discussed creating an app where you can watch your children swim (in real-time)

We even discussed offering free wifi and changing the password to “please get off your phone and watch me swim”.

Then the following day, our amazing teacher told us about the boy in his class, whose Dad didn’t realise his son was calling out for him.

‘why won’t Daddy watch me? He’s always playing on his phone.’

Please just try it. You will be amazed how much you get out of it, and I’ll bet you your child will work their absolute hardest.

©notsogreatcatsby2018

Big thanks to K N for the pic.

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THE ‘C’ WORD

THE ‘C’ WORD.

(Customers)

ENTITLEMENT.

One single word with multiple mental connotations. Perhaps for you this word brings to mind an opinion (or five) of a specific generation. Perhaps other stereotypical views are summoned; such as opinions on genders, races, cultures. Perhaps you adamantly believe in the existence of entitled behaviour in those around you…

But do you see it in yourself?

We live in an age of abundance. Years ago, with limited establishments, consumers had limited options. If you particularly wanted something, you ordered it, paid for, and received it. Your purchase was a treat, and delivered to you as advertised.

In recent years, this routine has changed, drastically. Customers are increasingly demanding, sometimes requesting extensive menu changes, and sometimes going off-menu completely. If the staff do not bend over backwards to comply: customers leave a bad review on Trip Advisor, or the company’s social media.

Sometimes the staff actually do provide the customer with exactly what they ordered, but the customer will still complain, out of some misguided hope that they will receive money off, because they do not understand what they actually ordered, or perhaps because they just like to complain.

‘BUT THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT!’ I HEAR YOU CRY.

Except, they aren’t. They really, really aren’t.

CUSTOMERS HAVE RIGHTS, AND THEREIN LIES THE DIFFERENCE.

‘What are consumer guarantees?

When a consumer buys goods or services, the ACL provides that they have guaranteed rights including that:

• the supplier has the right to sell the goods; • the goods are of acceptable quality; • the goods match their description; • the goods are fit for any purpose that the consumer makes known to the supplier; • repairs and spare parts for the goods are reasonably available; • the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and • the services are completed within a reasonable time where there is no agreed date.’

SOURCE: HTTP://CONSUMERLAW.GOV.AU/FILES/2015/06/ACL_FRAMEWORK_OVERVIEW.PDF

As seen above, this does not mean that customers may dictate the business hours of an organisation to the organisation.

This does not mean that customers have the right to imagine utterly nonsensical adaptations are feasible, and threaten legal action if they are not made possible.

This does not mean that staff may be spoken to or treated in a demeaning manner, they may not be abused or assaulted; they may not be disrespected.

This does not mean that one customer may be put out and disadvantaged for the sake of another.

This does not mean that laws may be broken, in order to satisfy the all-holy consumer.

If this is all sounding extreme, I would like to direct your attention to just a few anecdotes I have had the privilege of compiling in recent months. These are taken from what can best be described as a ‘support group’ for those in the hospitality industry:

customer article 4customer article 3customer article 1

customer article 21customer article 19

Did we somehow, as a society, wrongly decide that ‘servers’ are in-fact ‘servants’? Did we somehow forget to adapt with society as a whole, and therefore forget to acknowledge that working in the service industry does not mean ‘taking the easy way out’? Did we progress in such a way as to make food preparation a commodity available to the majority, but not acknowledge that those catering to those needs are doing so as a chosen profession?

Many (if not most) of the people serving you in cafes, restaurants, cocktail bars etc. are highly trained in their profession. Many also have degrees and qualifications outside of the hospitality industry, but enjoy their roles within it, and remain in them for this reason.

We are no longer in an age where having food prepared for you is a sign of vast wealth and power, so why do some people maintain the mentality that those doing so should be grateful for the opportunity; and suffer mistreatment and poor manners as a consequence?

Perhaps you are not of the entitled mentality; but I am willing to bet you know someone that is. Perhaps you could show them this article, and encourage them to review their behaviour.

Perhaps we, as a society, could take a step in the right direction, and remember our manners with the barista and the wait staff; just as we do when we interact with other paid professionals.

Perhaps we could all make a more conscious effort to be grateful. Grateful for being in such a privileged position that we can pay for something and have it provided to us.

Perhaps we could take some responsibility if what we have our hearts set on is not on the menu.

If we continue to demand the unrealistic, if we continue to demand services for free, if we continue to underpay and under value the hospitality industry as a whole: it will not survive.

‘YOU CANNOT DEMAND A SERVICE WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DEGRADING THOSE WHO PROVIDE IT FOR YOU’.

-thempress

©CatOwens2017