By John Pierce

On a recent hot, humid day — and we’ve had weeks of them this summer — my daughter Abigail was chilling in the pool.

Approaching, I called out: “BUDDY CHECK! BUDDY CHECK!”

She gave me that familiar “my father has lost his mind” look.

So I asked: “Have you ever heard of a buddy check?”

Her blank stare answered my question. So I persisted.

“Have you ever been swimming with a large group — like at a camp — where the lifeguard required everyone to have a buddy?”

Again, no.

I explained the once-familiar pool safety procedure in which swimmers paired up and were to keep an eye on one another. Also required was being able to find one’s buddy and raise his or her hand within 10 seconds after the lifeguard’s whistle and call of “BUDDY CHECK!”

Like rabbit ears and rotary phones, apparently buddy checks are a thing of the past. I guess that’s OK now since swimming instructions are more prevalent. And now there is no need to show up in equal numbers or feel left out because no one wants to be your buddy.

But looking out for one another is still a good idea — in and out of the pool. We are our brothers and sisters’ keepers.

Self-focus, self-absorption and self-service are constant temptations that are even celebrated in some circles. Yet finding personal success and satisfaction at the expense of others is not meaningful living.

The word “buddy” may not sound biblical — but the calls to encourage one another and to bear each others burdens are plentiful and relevant.

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