The TV show "Andi Mack" on the Disney Channel has done a great job in highlighting real life experiences. Imagine being thirteen years old and on your thirteenth birthday you find out that your cool older sister is really your biological mom. And the parents raising you are actually your grandparents. Yes this is Andi Mack. But what is important here is who is there for the child and remember the adults are the role models. And while we are role models, while the child is learning from the adults and about their own life, as we mature as adults and caregivers, we learn just the same.
Andi Mack
Disney Channel, 2017

While it is not unusual to have grandparents raising grandchildren but perhaps not necessarily raising them as their own child since birth. But as with Andi Mack, finding out at thirteen, and not necessarily on purpose, the pressure can be overwhelming to the child, as well as each adult involved and how they relate to the child. While I am on the topic of grandparents raising their grandchild as their child, and perhaps not too often as their own, but similarly are many single parents who have a significant other such as a boyfriend or girlfriend who fills the role of a parent that might not be in the child's life. Having a positive role model can be a benefit to the child's development. But nevertheless can also have major developmental, emotional and sociological influences as well, if life experiences change.

In this show, Andi Mack, is full of these experiences. It illustrates how difficult life change can be. From early life and inter-personality family issues while a teen is developing, learning from the adults in the child's life to the peers they influence from.  Remember us, as "adults" are the role models. While we feel they fill so much of our own lives, we are there for them. As an adult caregiver, regardless of biological or not, if you are in a child's life it is up to you to be a positive role model and be there for the child. And while that wonderful child in your life means the world to you, they not only learn form you, but you learn of yourself.

And what to learn from all of this? Change and acceptance takes time. Time to take it all in. Sometimes we need help accepting, dealing with everything. As a teen, and even the caregivers. Talking to a therapist for the teen and adults can always be a big help too.
 
 
Perhaps you never had the chance to take swim lessons or never had the need to know how to swim. As long as you stay away from water bodies you are fine but when you least expect it and need to know how to swim, will not only put you at risk but also your loved-ones who will survive you. Everyone should know how to swim.

As a former lifeguard we are trained in preventive strategies and understand that drowning can occur when we least expect it. We also know that a victim who is drowning is silent. They do not have time to yell out for help like in the movies. They drown silently, but tragically. A victim can loose consciousness  in only two minutes and result permanent brain damage in 4-6 minutes of submersion. There are times when someone see's a loved-one in trouble in the water and tries to save them, but only becoming a victim themselves. This can be because of their inability and lack of training on how to help someone who is drowning that puts them at risk, but sometimes a natural instinct sets in and they act to-save, even though they do not know how to swim.
Contact your local parks and recreation department or  American Red Cross for a swim class near you!
This is what happened recently when a brave father, who did not know how to swim, instinctively jumped in the water to help his son, but unfortunately lost his own life. He is a hero and his child was saved by a bystander.  Knowing how to swim will not make you a lifeguard because it does not train you in prevention or rescue techniques. But knowing how to swim can save your life (and a loved one) when you least expect the need to know how to swim. Whether it is helping a loved one or a similar tragedy. Every day in the United States, on average, 10-people die from unintentional drowning (CDC) and one in five are children ages 14 and younger.  The most common drowning location is private swimming pools, followed by lakes, rivers and ponds. In addition to preventable drowning related deaths and near-deaths, even survivors among those who have drowned also carry significant emotional and psychological trauma from their loved ones who have died.

If you do not know how to swim, whether you are a parent or not, have nieces or nephews,  or even if you feel that you are not around water, remember when the need arises and that unexpected instinct kicks in when you least expect it, the life you save can be yours and also will help reduce risk of emotional and psychological trauma among your surviving loved ones. Find a swim class near you by contacting your local parks and recreation department or local  American Red Cross.