When I was growing up, my parents used to tell a story about how I learned to swim, which basically involved my dad tossing me into my grandmother's pool and leaving the rest up to instinct.
Whether or not this actually happened is something I've never been able to quite puzzle out. But I've certainly been thinking about it a lot since seeing Keri Morrison—the mom who's currently making waves (sorry!) for sitting back and watching as her 6-month-old daughter Josie falls into a swimming pool—on "The Today Show."
The story goes like this: Morrison tragically lost her 2-year-old son three years ago when he fell off a dock while vacationing in Orlando and drowned. Hoping to never have to endure the same heartbreaking fate twice, Morrison is now using something called Infant Swimming Resource, or ISR, with Josie.
What's ISR? Technically, it's a survival technique that trains infants as young as 6 months how to "self-rescue" in a serious situation by holding their breath and floating on their own. But it basically boils down to putting your kid in the water, and then leaving them to fend for themselves. And that's the part that's got critics up in arms.
Watch Josie put the practice to the test here, as she falls head first into the water while reaching for a sandal, then turns on her back to float on her own:
You go, Josie!
People online are freaking out about the clip, of course, but I think it's actually pretty amazing. As does Morrison, who defended ISR on "Today." "You're seeing a 6-month-old sitting on the steps playing, which can be a real-life situation," she said. "Do I expect my daughter at that young of an age to be alone near the water? No, but the layers of protection can fail. Supervision failed. It failed with my son, and it can happen, and I just want my daughters to be as safe as possible."
To that end, Keri and her husband, Roarke, have set up a foundation in memory of their son called Live Like Jake, in order to provide scholarships for swim lessons to those who can't afford them, and to promote awareness of ISR.
"I wish I could go back in time and put my son in these lessons," Keri explained. "I'm pretty confident that he would be here, and as a parent, I felt like I failed my son, and I was just determined that was not going to happen with my daughters."
I, for one, don't blame her.