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A polar plunge for my kid? Cold water didn't dampen his spirit

Roman Altherr,11, and Noah Bila, 10, soaking wet

Roman Altherr,11, and Noah Bila, 10, soaking wet after the Special Olympics "Freezin' For a Reason" polar plunge at Town of Brookhaven's Cedar Beach (Nov. 23, 2013). (Credit: Jennifer Evans Bila)

Do what you want to do, not as I say.

In this case, that twisted parental logic had to do with my 11-year-old joining in a polar plunge recently at Brookhaven’s Cedar Beach.

He came up with the idea of participating for the charity event at the last minute, when a friend decided to do it. Soon, another friend joined in, and it was a go.

I was against it, worried about hypothermia and such. But he was adamant. “I’m from Russia,” he kept saying. “Cold’s my thing.” (My son was adopted from the northern part of that country when he was seven.)

So, I waited in my winter coat, hat and gloves, while he and his pals charged into the water in their swim shirts and trunks with hundreds of other plungers.

“It wasn’t that bad,” he said as he toweled off and changed clothes under a wrapped-around-him towel. But a half-hour later, his skin still felt cold to the touch —  even in a heated car —  so we went home and he took a hot bath.

I never would have had the courage to do the plunge myself, but I’m glad I let him trust his own level of courage and spunk without my own perceptions of what’s crazy getting in the way.
 

Tags: parenting

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