Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rules of the Pool

Today L and I had a special mommy and me day. E had his last day of school before winter break. It was his holiday party and movie day. So L and I ran errands and picked the crafts for her tea party next week - then we went to the indoor pool at the rec center. (I had rallied hard for the conservatory but she was dead set on the pool.)

The pool really is nice. Large and with 2 slides. One baby slide and one big kid slide. The big kid slide requires that you be 42" tall and able to pass a swim test or over 48" tall and no swim test! Very simple - so between 42" and 48" you have to pass the test.

L wanted to do the big slide! I did not think she would be tall enough, but she climbed up the steps and low and behold down she came. Happy as a clam. She did the slide no less than 10 times before the the rest period. After rest period and the life guard shift, she climbs the stairs only to come down in tears. The new life guard felt she was not tall enough. (Hello her hair is wet....and flat to her head and the last time she had dry hair.) She is distraught for being denied what she had just done. I climb up the steps with her and got attitude. So not his problem.

So I marched us to the pool managers office. I was not taking issue with the rule - IT IS A GOOD RULE! But I was taking issue with the haphazard way it was being applied. There should be safe guards in place to ensure that all the guards are enforcing the rule in the same way. There should be a wet hair or dry hair allowance. Or the kids have to be clearly an inch over 48". Some safe guard. I get that it is a judgement call, but there are ways to ensure that everyone is making a seemingly uniform judgement. (Mgmt 101)

Like I explained the the pool manager - I take no issue with the rule on its face. I take issue that L is seeing people in positions of authority applying the rule in a haphazard way. It is unfair and creates situations where she feel she cannot trust those around her in positions of authority to act in a reliable and principled manner. To be allowed to do something and then 15 minutes later be denied the same privilege is unacceptable in my mind.

The manager agreed. She is just tall enough or just a tad under and she can swim - so she was allowed to proceed. But I could tell she felt confused and let down.

I hope the manager takes the time to express my concern to the life guards. It seems like no big deal, but in reality it really is a big deal!

I would submit that this is an issue in society at large! We as a culture tend to be selective in rule enforcement. I think it is important to be flexible and judge certain things on a case by case basis - but there is also something to be said for being principled and consistent in rule enforcement.

No comments: