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Justin’s seat bounced up and down as the yellow school bus rumbled to a stop at the community center. Justin and Jessie were with their classmates, and they were all excited about their first swimming lesson.
“All right, class,” their teacher, Mrs. Bentley, said above the noisy giggles and chatter. “Before we can do any swimming, I must tell you the rules.”
“Aww,” the kids moaned.
“None of that now. Rules are important, especially around a swimming pool. If you follow the rules, you will stay safe, so listen carefully.” Mrs. Bentley explained five rules then led the kids inside.
It didn’t take long for Justin to get ready. He carefully pushed the big door open and stepped into the huge pool area. In one corner, there was a shallow wading pool with little kids splashing around in it. Their voices echoed off the walls and high ceiling. Then he saw two enormous pools—and one even had a slide!
“Hi, Justin!” said Jessie. “Isn’t this great? I’m so excited!”
“Yeah, me too! But I wish we could try out that slide over there.”
“You heard the rule; we need to wait until we’ve had more practice in the water before we use the slide.”
“I know, but I wish we didn’t have so many rules to follow,” Justin replied gloomily.
“Beat you to the pool!” shouted Michael, one of their classmates, as he sped past Justin and Jessie.
“But we’re not supposed to run!” Jessie called after him. Suddenly, Michael slipped on the wet tile floor, flailed his arms trying to keep his balance, and landed hard on his side.
“Oh no!” exclaimed Justin. “That looked like it hurt.”
Mrs. Bentley hurried over to help the teary-eyed Michael, who was clutching his elbow.
“Now we know why we have the no-running rule,” said Jessie.
“Poor Michael.” Justin shook his head sadly as Mrs. Bentley seated Michael on a nearby bench to watch the rest of the class.
“I’m going to walk carefully. I don’t want to end up like Michael,” said Jessie as she stepped gingerly toward the pool.
Mrs. Bentley called the students to gather around her and a young man and woman in red swimsuits. “This is Ryan and Becky, your swim teachers,” she said. “You must listen very carefully and do exactly as they say.”
“More rules,” Justin sighed.
“Okay, kids,” said Ryan as he climbed into the water and stood looking at all the students. “We’re going to learn how to enter the pool safely. Everyone sit down on the edge and—”
Justin was so eager to get in and swim that he didn’t wait to hear the rest. He quickly sat down then slid into the water—shloop—all the way under!
Justin sputtered and coughed as he bobbed back up to the top. He thrashed his arms trying to grab the edge of the pool. Then he felt a pair of strong hands pulling him up and turning him around until he was face to face with Ryan.
“Are you okay?” he asked Justin.
Justin couldn’t talk. He coughed and nodded at the swim teacher. His nose and throat burned! Ryan lifted him back onto the edge of the pool as Justin wiped the water out of his eyes.
“You didn’t wait for me to finish telling you all the instructions,” explained Ryan with a frown. “I want everyone to sit and just put their feet in first. Then we’ll learn how to get in the right way so you don’t go under.”
Justin wished he were invisible; he felt so stupid for not listening. His nose and eyes still felt weird from the pool water, and he wasn’t too sure he wanted to get back in the pool.
But as he listened to the teachers and followed their directions, Justin and the other kids learned how to sit down, turn around, and hold on to the edge before sliding slowly into the water. That way, they could keep their heads out of the water. Next, they practiced holding their breath and putting their faces underwater the right way. They even had a contest to see who could blow the most bubbles underwater!
After swim class was over, all the students dried off and changed clothes. Then they headed back to the bus. Jessie sat down by Justin for the ride back to school.
“Wow, Justin! I thought you were going to drown when you went under the water today,” said Jessie. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Me too. I was scared!” Justin replied. “I didn’t know it was that deep.”
“Why’d you jump in so fast?” asked Jessie.
“I was just excited to finally swim in a big pool. I didn’t want to listen to any more rules.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. But my mom and dad say rules are there so we don’t get hurt,” explained Jessie.
“Like Michael who fell because he didn’t follow the no-running rule,” Justin pointed out.
“Right. I guess it’s the same when someone’s giving instructions,” Jessie replied.
“I’ve learned my lesson!” exclaimed Justin. “I’m going to listen to all the instructions next time. I don’t want another nose full of water—yuck!”
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.