(ABC News) — Once seen visibly shaking as he stood atop a swimming pool’s diving board in a video that went viral early last year, one young boy in Arkansas is no longer afraid to jump into the deep end.
“I was 3 and I wanted to jump off the diving board and it was a little tall for me and I got scared,” said Ron Anthony “R.J.” Hampton Jr. of Little Rock, Arkansas.
The now-5-year-old boy had been taking swimming lessons all day when he saw some older kids jumping off the diving board and wanted to try it himself, his father, Ron Hampton, told ABC News.
But when young R.J. approached the edge of the diving board, he got scared and began to tremble. In the background, Hampton could be heard encouraging his son to jump into the arms of a woman who goes by the name Ms. Margaret — a family friend who also taught Hampton to swim when he was his son’s age, he said. Meanwhile, R.J.’s grandfather stood by his side next to the diving board for support.
“Go to Miss Margaret. Say, ‘Here I come Miss Margaret,’” Hampton could be heard saying in the video as R.J. drops down to sit on the diving board.
The video never showed R.J. jumping into the water. But after taking him to the pool throughout the summer, R.J. “eventually conquered his fear” and jumped, Hampton said.
“I was very, very proud of him … I’m of the mindset that you let your children face their fear, and once they get to the other side of fear, there’s an infinite amount of success or possibilities on the other said,” he added.
Hampton said that if you support children and let them have the “leeway to meet their fear and eventually overcome it, they can do wonders just like R.J. here.”
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