One of my favorite parts of being a father has been teaching each of my five kids to swim. If you’ve ever taught a kid to swim, you know there’s that one moment when they’re hanging onto the side of the pool and you’re telling them to jump to you the way they’ve done fifty times already—but this time . . . this time you’re a little too far to jump to. And you watch as they realize it and realize that they are going to have to remember all those other lessons you’ve been giving them about stroking and kicking and keeping afloat. And then you see something in their eyes that is unforgettable: a look of sheer courage, the resolve to do something they’ve never done before, something they’re not sure they can do, however much you encourage them and reassure them.
And then they do it. It’s a beautiful moment. It does your heart good.
I think about that moment this morning as I watch the TV in the Federal Building cafeteria and listen to parents from Newtown testifying before congress. If we had politicians with just a fraction of the courage of any three-year-old learning to swim, we would have gun control in this country that is both sensible and effective.