Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | February 3, 2011


There are some species of sharks that have to keep swimming… must constantly stay in motion, moving forward, or the ocean will swallow them up and they’ll drown. They even keep moving while “asleep”, though their “sleep” is defined differently than ours. It is really just a state of rest, but they never really sleep. I find this fascinating.

A few years ago, my family was going through a particularly tough time. My son, Jake, who is now 12 was just about 6 years old. Some days he just wanted to stay in bed, sad, and not face the world. I couldn’t blame him; I felt largely the same way.

How do you explain to a 6-year-old that they can’t let it all get to them, to be tough, to fight back against the sadness and keep moving forward? Enter the story of the shark.  To a 6-year-old boy, sharks are tough, sharks are cool.

I told my son about these sharks that have to keep moving – even bought him a very cool kids book all about sharks. I got him a super cool shark tooth necklace. But more important than the chachkies, I explained to him that we need to keep moving forward. On our saddest days, when the weight of it all feels like a million tons of pressure (like it is deep in the ocean), that’s when we have to keep moving forward. Just get up. Get out a bed, and keep swimming. Be a shark.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Maybe even trite. But to us, it became a family motto. Some days he’d remind me to be a shark; some days I’d remind him. But together we kept swimming…

And today we are swimming strong, having come out far on the other side of those sad, sad days. But every once in a while, we have a tough day and we are reminded to be a shark and keep swimming. Jake wears a dog tag with a shark etched on it, and the words “Keep Swimming”. It hangs on a chain with a cross, because for us, our faith is what gives us the strength to swim on, when an ocean of confusion or challenges swirls about us.

No matter what life throws at me, I’m still swimming. These blog posts are my strokes, moving me forward one word at a time. Maybe they’ll help someone else keep swimming too.



  1. Wonderful story. I too have those days and will also follow that motto! Looking forward to your posts!

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