Where I Learned to Swim

by Oliver Carlos

Do you remember where you learned to swim? Can you recall how you were able to learn that skill? Who taught you? Did you experience near-drowning moments? Or did everything went out smoothly?

When I was a kid, I used to hang around a lot at my cousins’ place inside UPLB. My Aunt was a UPLB professor, and they had a housing unit inside the university. A few meters from their house was a swimming pool for residents. My cousins and I used to frequent that place especially during hot days. That’s where I learned how to swim, sort of, or rather, how to float.

The UPCO swimming pool. This is where I and my cousins Ernie and Eric had splash wars when we were kids. (photo by Jet Castillo)

We were just 10- to 12-year-old kids without a teacher, and the best we did there was wade, do splash wars, and learn to float. We imitated an octopus, and presto! That’s how we learned how to float. By the way, there’s a 7-foot-deep portion of the pool that we were afraid to go near to. We just confined ourselves in the shallow part of the pool.

Sometime later, when I was in college, that’s when I learned real swimming. In our PE class in UPLB, we had a 25-meter-long swimming pool with a 12-foot-deep portion. That’s where I learned to thread the deep waters for several minutes and swim the length of the pool doing the freestyle and backstroke. I can also do breaststroke across the width of the pool. The only stroke our teacher didn’t teach us was the butterfly. He said it’s for elite swimmers. But for us students, the most basic we should learn is threading. I really appreciate my swimming class. I was able to overcome my fear of deep waters and swim decently.

Many years later, I became a professor in another university that offers Hospitality programs (Hotel and Restaurant Management or HRM, and Tourism), and Maritime studies (Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation). I teach my students Philippine History and World Geography, which are subjects that all students in their fields must take. Another required subject they have is swimming. I’m not their teacher in that subject, but in our small talks, I always tell them to appreciate that class. I exhorted them to take their swimming class seriously, for one day, who knows, it will come in handy, and save their lives.

In the Book of Luke, Jesus taught his disciples a very basic thing, and is very much needed by them- PRAYER. His disciples knew its dire importance too because one of them asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. That disciple didn’t say, “teach us how to preach,” or “teach us how to heal and drive out demons.” What he requested is a lesson on how to pray.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1, NIV)

Prayer is as basic as breathing fresh air. If we don’t breathe, or if we forget to breathe, we’ll be in a very big trouble. Same thing with prayer. Try not to pray for a prolonged period of time, or even just for a day, you’ll be suffocated by the worries of this world.

Prayers need not to be very long, memorized, or fancy. Simple yet sincere prayers are what our Heavenly Father wants to hear from you. Whatever is in your heart, or whatever you want to say to God, just say it in the most natural way you can, just like having a conversation with another person. Believe that God is so near and is listening to you. Make this your habit and you’ll have better days ahead.

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Oliver Carlos wears many hats. He's a history professor, a life coach to young adults, an athlete, a sports media practicioner, and a loving family man.

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Blog is Life

Oliver Carlos wears many hats. He's a history professor, a life coach to young adults, an athlete, a sports media practicioner, and a loving family man.