Baby Lion Swim Test

If you’ve been on the internet the past few weeks, you probably have seen this.

These lions cubs need to pass a swim test before they can join the big lions in the main exhibit. Since the big cat enclosures have water features, zoo staff need to that know if the lions fall in, they can keep their heads above water and get out of the pool. All these cubs passed, even though some of them took the round about way and a couple needed a boost.

I recently sent this video to my daughter. We are separated by several states and two time zones. Like most people these days, we have dozens of communication methods at our finger tips (quite literally). And often, frankly, we rely on cute animal videos to describe our feelings.

My daughter is going through a rough time at work. Nothing big. Nothing terrible. But she’s surrounded by chaos that isn’t her doing and is being asked to do things that are not in her wheel-house. She feels over her head. She finds herself in a situation where winning might not be an option.

Not much a mom can do in these situations. Except send a cute animal video. So I send the Baby Lion Swim Test, along with this message:

Think of this time as your swim test. This is (one of) the times — no matter how it goes — that will make you the professional — the expert — who knows things for real; how they go, how they don’t go, how to do them, where to find them, how to tell other people to do them, how to learn about them on your own.

Can you see the panic and anger in the baby lions’ eyes? Don’t you feel like hissing and baby lion roaring at the laughing people who seem to scooping you up (while wearing leather gloves) and dumping you in the water?

Notice what it takes to pass the test. The lion cubs don’t have to be elegant or calm or even keep from getting tossed in the water. They need to realize that they are in water and paddle like mad to find a way out.

Notice that there is someone standing by with a net if they aren’t ready. You are not in this alone, even if it feels like it. Notice that no one needed to use the net. You are doing better than you think, paddling like mad down in the water.

And someone will have a towel ready to dry you off.


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