Blog

There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children. Nelson Mandela

I am worried that we are not doing something about the cause of why many suffer mentally today and rather just trying to fix the symptoms. 
Children need dependable, consistent and loving relationship to grow up into strong and resilient adults. Since the seventies more and more children spend a great deal of their day and are raised outside their home with few adults and with very little consistency. That causes stress within a child wich effects their brain and can make them more sensitized for life.

Back in 1996, I chose to change our swim school from how swim schools were operating traditionally and let our parents be able to stay in the water with their children or on-deck close by. 
I myself as a mother felt that every activity my child could attend to after the age of two was without me. And you might question why? Because it is for sure not the child's wish. (Eventually they will choose activities without their parents but not as two-year-olds...) 
My intuition told me that it was good and important to keep parents and children together. I also felt that it was of extra importance as they today already spend enough time apart during a day.

In 2007, I read in the BO's* report that 40-50% of Swedish children grow up with an insecure attachment**. And that it is applicable throughout the entire western world! 
Why? Mainly because we have moved towards a society that is not as child and parental friendly as it could be. Children need dependable, consistent and loving relationship to grow up into strong ad more resilient adults. Today many children spend a great deal of their day and are raised outside their home with too few adults and with very little consistency. This means that they will not be able to develop the important close relationships they need. They adapt but the cost can be unnessary high.

Today researchers know so much more about our early childhood and how our early life relationship experiences will effect how we view ourselves, others and the world and also how happy and resilient we will grow up being. But there is a huge gap between what researchers now know to what is practiced in homes, institutions, schools and among adults in general in their contact with children.

Children are very vulnerable; especially when they are small. They don't tell us what to do, they react and adapt. They need dependable, thoughtful and responsible adults and not only their parents but decision makers and teachers too. When they grow up with that kind of people around they will grow up to become strong and healthy individuals with the ability to love one self and others.

Today we are experiencing more "burnt out" adults and an alarming increasing amount of teenagers and young adults who suffer mental illness. We need to understand the important needs we have as small children and take care of those to stop the trend.

Our swim school is a very small world but together with the 3400 people that weekly swim with us we see and feel the effects. Here we have made it possible for parents and children to be able to share, enjoy, learn and develop together. Just as it was meant to be. 
Children learn best when there is dependable adults to teach and guide them. Through love, respect and consistency in a relationship we learn to know one another. Adults who know the child is more able to give the child the opportunity to explore the world and give them the “just the right challenge” at the right time. By that they are providing the opportunity for children to grow up into into strong, healthy adults.

I know it's important also as business owner, employer, manager and as one of those children who grew up in the seventies a little too insecure. I know in my heart, just as many other parents do too, that our small children wants to be and thrive around us parents and with the other important adults who are interested and willing to be part of their world.

This is what we, me and my staff together with the thousands of families experience every day and it feels good. There is no doubt that children learn and develop best in close and loving relationships. I would love to see more action in making our society a little more parent and child friendly. We just need to see and make it possible.

If we want to take care of our world, take care of our children. Then children grow up confident in that people are nice and responsible and that the world is a great place to be. By that they will grow up to be nice and responsible adults and also take care of our world.

Loads of love and awe to all the lovely people who devote their time to make a difference in the lives of children and their parents.

*BO is The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden, a government agency tasked with representing children regarding their rights and interests on the basis of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

**A safe attachment between child and caregiver is today known as critical to a childs wellbeing now and also in the future. Research has shown that children who have a safe attachment gains a lot, they: have greater empathy 
grow better self esteem 
have better relationship with parents and piers, 
start school ready to learn, 
has better ability to control their emotions

When they grow older they have better conditions for a good mental health now and in the future. 
The attachment theory was developed by John Bowlby

We work on the core of our business focusing on staff, our product and economy. We have a quality concept and staff is key in our business – it's the Swimmix people who makes it all happen. Therefor we are heavy on staff both economically and resource wise. The toughest and most resource demanding on not just the business but on everybody is to much absence, training new and loosing old staff. Good values and clear goals doesn't keep it from happening but makes a significant difference for all of us.

The Swimmix swim program is developing into something more than just learning how to swim. It's also about human growth and development. It's very much about being and growing together. It's important and we need it in our world today and we feel that we in a small way can contribute to that. Thank you to our great team of swim teachers! I see your dedication, your interest and desire to learn more. I also see how you prepare, exchange experiences and care about our swim families and it all makes me feel so fortunate and really, really happy.

Our On-Deck team has become an important channel in how we work and we introduced giving a little 5 minute talk before classes – the new “Swimmix tip”. During 2013 it is new. Developing a new culture finding the form and context demands for a belief in and will to do it. Despite some challenges we got interesting experience and knowledge that meant that we together managed to find a form that now is developing into what we aimed for. Thank you for your dedication – that made all the difference!

Five years ago we extended the 10 level Swimmix program with Team Swimmix. That gives our young Swimmers an opportunity to continue swimming even after they've learnt to swim the four strokes. They are often too young and are too well skilled to fit into the program's most swimming clubs provide. That meaning they stop swimming which we think is a pity when they enjoyed it at first. The “Team Swimmix” team of coaches has taken a big leap in development and has worked on refining and developing the program. We also took the decision to invest in a team leader for this team. The joint results have lead to a higher outcome and satisfaction for our young swimmers and with a clear goal of joy and fun in the sport. Thank you to this team of coaches, past and present, for making swimming important, fun and enjoyable for our youngsters – you do an awesome job!

During spring 2013 we took pictures for my upcoming and new book on baby swimming. Thank you Tuala for your amazing abilities behind the camera! You captured so many great moments and the book will be easy on the eyes because of your pictures. Thank you to all the families attending the photo session and for being a wonderful contribution to the new book. Without the love and wonders you radiate the book would not be half of what it will be. 
I've been writing and rewriting and now I am finally almost finished with the book. I am actually happy I didn't finish it last year as planned. I am much more pleased with how it developed after the last rewriting and I am looking forward to do the final touches. Then it's time for editing and translations into English and Swedish.

From October 2013 I had to give in and take a time-out from work. I had to recover from the many surgeries I had gone through. My body and mind was stressed and I needed to calm the system down. Rest, walks, therapy and training in mindfulness was the medicine. But most importantly a drive within myself that I wanted to be strong again. 
Thank you to my team and Johan who made it possible. Thank you to the angels that walk this earth and I am lucky to have around me thank you for your energy and good thoughts, talks and scientific inputs. In January 2014 I was back at work again.

This ends my 20 years in 20 days... 
A big warm thank you for reading, commenting, messages, e-mails, flowers and all the many, many kind words. It means more than I actually have words to express. 
Thank you to my wonderful team in Farum – who you are and what you do and what we do together means the world to me. 
Thank you to my lovely family and wonderful friends I couldn't live without you, I know I am not easy at all times but know that you are as important to me as the air I breathe.

In the beginning I quoted Aristotle who said ”Learning is not child's play; we cannot learn without pain.” I have felt pain, one do when you put your heart in what you do. I have also learned a lot but maybe most importantly that I, my self-criticism actually gives me the hardest blows. 
Viewing forward I see many good opportunities.

Because of where we are right now and the people we have around us in Swimmix I am now again daring to dream about writing, lecturing, presenting and consulting in the areas I have experience and feel passionate about - creating environments for human growth within families and sports. 
My upcoming book and my new blog being two important steps towards that dream. 
It feels exciting but I also feel insecure – but it is OK! Bring on the next 20 years!

There is plenty to take care of so first of all it's about prioritizing. Stability within staff and focus on what we do and deliver is of most importance so we can feel meaning and joy in what we do. With motivation we will deliver the consistency and development that signifies Swimmix and our swim families will thrive and feel happy. If they are happy we are happy. 
Our long term goal is to attract people who know what it means to be committed and who also know and value the importance of good relationships and the strength of working together. We also have to work on the relationship with our partners; such as the community pool. Our swim families goes through that public part and use their dressing rooms and showers before entering Swimmix. It's important that they are and feel welcome there too. Slowly but surely we get there.

We cover the whole facility in the theme we are working with. First theme of the year is a Space Adventure. We hear a “Wow” from our swim families and children when they see it. They love it even though the occasional child get scared of the alien welcoming everybody at the entrance. The themes and the visual effects sparkle imagination and everybody jumps on board – Fantastic! 
Thank you to the team in Farum for the trust and your way of being open minded, stepping up and into a new era. 
We set a goal of turning the bad trend in loosing customers and stop it by the end of the first year. We not only stopped it we turned it around to an all time high! You were awesome!

During early spring I contact the health department in Farum Municipality and we start a ventured project where Swimmix gave a group of vulnerable families opportunity to come for baby swimming with us. As we have an attachment based approach it is just the right thing. We are all very engaged in this project and we have a lovely group of families and together we learn, grow and love the weekly activity and meetings.

In May I attend the ASCTA Event in Australia. Of course expectations were high “In the land of swimming”. You fulfilled and went beyond my expectations. What a great event and so many great people gathered in one place. I am so happy I got the opportunity and that Ida joined me on the trip Down Under. I also got to present (a little early but I had to try my wings again) and I made it all through the presentation. Johnny Johnson and Cindy were featured speakers and listening to them was a delight. I also got the “Bruce Sullivan experience” – This man is an excellent presenter and have important lessons delivered with humor and warmth yet without missing the important message. It was exactly what I needed on my road of fueling my energy levels again. I can really recommend to check him out in: “1 Life Do It Now”. 
I met new friends and got the special treat of time with “old” and special friends. I always enjoy seeing, talking and spending time with and around you. Thank you for being you and letting me be part of your life!

After passing the education to be a family counselor and seminar leader I also become a member of Family Lab. It's an interesting and important network for me. I am so happy to be part of it and here I find so many skilled and knowledgeable people working full heartedly for the wellbeing of children and families. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this network, thank you for the sharing, help and support and interesting and nourishing talks.

The year has been full of hard work, challenges and set backs but most importantly we are moving more forward than backwards and that is much thanks to the loyal and dedicated people we have around us. We still have much work to do before we are where we wish to and know we can be. But viewing into 2013 it sure feels good.

2011 is a very different year. Business is now down to just one facility, the one in Farum, Denmark. Very far from what the dreams and plans were only 4 years back. 
Plan is to keep Swimmix Farum, as it is, with the facility manager we have in charge. I will concentrate on writing, lecturing, presenting and consulting. But those plans I soon learn will have to wait a little longer. 
Swimmix Farum celebrates 10 years and we held a party for our swimmers, their parents, grandparents and the Swimmix staff. We celebrate all day with cake, balloons and fun. That day was made extraordinary thanks to the team in Farum – That was a great day and the sun shun from the blue skies!

But behind the scenes we are experiencing our first drop in our straight 10 years of growth. We also have new staff starting and leaving in a worrying speed. I sence tension within the old staff. I try to understand why and help out in the best way I can. In december I take the tough but only decision I can - we are terminating the facility manager. 
Thank you to old staff for hanging in there despite difficulties. I am so grateful that you stayed we couldn't have done it without you.

Back in october we attend the USSSA conference at Disney in Orlando where I also present for the last time before a long break. I'm taking a longer break from appearances on stage. The conference is great and being at Disney affects me on many levels. I know many talks about Disney as a money machine but for me it is a very creative environment and I love the characters and the play. To see children and their happy faces as they see or get a hug from Mickey, Donald, a Princess or Pinocchio is pure magic. I get many ideas at this magical conference. Thank you again organizers of the USSSA and everyone there. Thank you to the staff at Disney for creating the magic. And also a special thank you to Mr. Disney, your legacy brings smiles on our faces and a little magic into our lives.

The blows and losses I have experienced the past years has shook my grounds and has sent my self-esteem into an all time low. I feel unworthy of pretty much everything. I know why but the feeling is heavy and hard to keep in check at all times. The tune for me this year is John Denver's “Fly Away”. That's how I feel, I want to fly away, far away. 
I am exhausted, energy is very low and I feel blue. But my business needs me more than ever. No time to fly away. 
In May I get so hoarse that I loose my voice and it doesn't get better. It's a cyst on my vocal cords. Needs surgery. I am put under anesthetic and a couple of hours later I wake up and am told to keep silent. Silence for weeks and then vocal training. I guess my body said well she doesn't listen; very well lets shut her up. But it takes three more surgeries before I start to learn. “It's hard for old dogs to learn new tricks.” 
It's time to heal my self, refuel and get the energy back. That will take me almost three years. 
One of the most difficult things I have experienced is feeling sad when you know you have nothing right now in your life to be sad about. 
Thank you to Johan, my children, Auguste and Ida, my sister, Victoria and her family and friends for loving me. With you I belong and I love you so much. Always will! Your love helped me to love and believe in my self again and to pick my self up from the abyss.