Many of us have fears about swimming. The deep end can be a scary place until it isn’t anymore. What if you lived by the sea and your whole family swam daily in the deep water? What if you were the youngest and even though not much scared you (not the classics like snakes, spiders or the dark), you were afraid to swim in that beautiful greeny-blue water? Even though you longed to? This is what Alice deals with in Tim Winton‘s The Deep (illustrated by Karen Louise).
Many students connected – some of us quietly admitting that the deep water was kind of scary – even when we had previously claimed nothing frightened us. In Alice, we witnessed how our fears can hold us hostage and make us miserable. There is a scene in the story where Alice tries to conquer her fears and swim in the deep and yet, she quickly turns back ending up on the shore, curled up and crying. Heartbreaking
She hated being small. Being stuck in the shallows. She could swim, couldn’t she? So why couldn’t she swim in the deep?
It is so challenging to be courageous when our fear seems to paralyze us. This story really helped us explore this. Some important thoughts from students:
- If we don’t notice we’re doing something we’re afraid of, it can be fun
- It’s still just water. Even if it is deeper. If you can swim, you can swim anywhere (Here is the logic our fear defies)
- It seems like the fear is just in our heads (Something we need to explore further)
- If anyone else can face their fears, then we all can. (Let’s hope we can recall the images and feelings from this story when we face our next big fear)
This book would be particularly helpful for children dealing with their fear of learning to swim.