The Swimming Lesson

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THE SWIMMING LESSON

How do you teach a child how to swim? Shallow water and with some one who is kind and patient is how I learned. I was not in school yet when my father gave me my first lesson. One afternoon, he decided I should accompany him to Bear Creek for a bit of fishing. When we arrived at the creek, dad parked the truck on one bank and then said, “We should fish from the other bank bank”Being too small to understand what was going on, I did not see anything unusual in that and was not expecting what came next. Dad said, “since the creek was not very deep we would just wade across.”Always eager to play in the cold water I agreed and followed as he walked into the creek. After just a few steps the water was up to my waist and I was starting to get nervous. Then another step or two brought the water up to my chest and I stopped and held my arms up for dad to carry me. Used to having him heed my request to be picked up any time I raised my arms, I was surprised when he took a step back and told me to “just let my feet float to the top and swim to me.” Since he was only an arms length away, I laughed and did as he asked. Then surprisingly he took another step backward and told me to paddle with my hands, kick with my feet and just keep swimming. He took another step backward, then another and another and before I realized what was happening I had crossed the creek. Excited, I yelled, “i can swim! I want to do it again!” And we did. I must have crossed that creek 10 or 12 times that afternoon. Dad was walking alongside, showing me how to dog paddle, then how to do an overhand stroke, float on my back and even hold my breath. That afternoon I was sure I had accomplished something great. I had to have a lot more lessons before I was allowed to swim in any water that was over my head. Learning how to swim made me love that cold water in the creek even more. Now being much older every time I have cooled off in the lake, river or pool, I have been...
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