I told the boys I was thinking about putting them in week long swimming lessons while I was on holidays so they would have to go twice a day but it would only be a week long. This started a two-boy chorus of whining, groaning and complaining.
Boy 2: I am not taking swimming lessons. I hate them.
Me: You have to take them. It is an important lifelong skill and I am not allowing you to quit until you are done all the badges.
Boy 1: Well that isn't really quitting then, if we are all done. That's like saying "You can quit school when you are done university." That isn't quitting, that's finishing.
Me: Good point. Let me rephrase: You are both finishing swimming and school.
Throughout this exchange Boy 2 is making a noise that sounds like a Formula One race, "Reeeeeeeeeee, Reeeeeeeee. " I think it is meant to convey frustration but it could also be designed to drive me completely bats. Under this extraordinary sensory pressure I come up with this:
"If we are ever in a flood like in Calgary, you will be glad you can swim. It could save your life. Or, (I am warming up, now) if you are ever stranded in the ocean, you don't want to be the slowest swimmer or you will be the one eaten by sharks. The best swimmers, are the safest, right?"
Boy 2: No, the people in the boats are the safest.
Me: You are correct, and boats cost money so you have to finish school and get a good job so you can buy a boat!
To recap, I think I won the argument that we weren't having about finishing school AND distracted them from refusing to take swimming lessons. On a parenting scale of 1 - 10, I rate myself a solid 7 this round. If they start having shark nightmares I might have to scale that back a bit.