|Our childhood experiences, and the memories they give us, shape who we become as adults. They determine how we react to people and situations, help to form our temperament and can evoke feelings of joy and safety many years later.
It’s probably why, as adults, we devote so much thought, time and energy to ensuring our children enjoy fun, freedom and friendship so that they too can cherish happy memories in the future. Countless hours (and dollars) are spent on ferrying youngsters to events, landmarks and activities aimed at building confidence, expanding their minds and fostering friendships and imagination. There’s also one place as near as the backyard where all of those things can be found simply by walking out the back door. A swimming pool.
Sweltering hot summers and cooling off in a backyard pool are hardwired into the childhood memories of many Australians. And why wouldn’t they be? The pool is a place of escape (from the heat) but also where a million games are invented and played. Who doesn’t remember making a whirlpool and being swept around in the current? Pretending to be pirates? Or sailing to far distant shores with nothing more than an inflatable dinghy almost as large as the “ocean” it was about to traverse.
The pool is also the place where many a child has kept fit without knowing it, honed their swimming skills and developed self-confidence in their physical strengths and, by extension, their inner strengths. It’s where siblings bond as they squabble and play, and where families relax together, talk and laugh without the distractions of phones, emails or housework.
Splashing around in the pool with the other neighbourhood kids helps to build friendships and a lifetime of shared memories. It’s also a great way for the grown-ups to know where the youngsters are at all times.
Perhaps best of all, these memories are available for a relatively small outlay in the form of an above-ground pool or more if you can afford it. Sure there’s a small cost in ongoing maintenance, but consider the cost of time, fuel, entry fees and registrations when you leave the house in search of fun and entertainment. A pool is there 24/7 and, given the lengthening nature of our summers (not to mention heaters and pool blankets) it can be enjoyed most of the year.
So why not switch off the TV, the computers, the tablets and the phones and head into the backyard to build some future memories for the kids (and yourself).