Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Buns of Steel

Amidst the thousand interactions a teacher has with students, always a few choice stories rise to the surface. I can’t say I have one for each of the few thousand kids I’ve taught these past four decades, but I have a lot.
To kick off the occasion of the school’s 50th year, our annual parent meeting featured a panel discussion with three alums. One I hadn’t seen in quite a while and immediately asked her, “Do you remember Buns of Steel?” Without missing a beat, she replied, “Not only do I remember it, I just re-read my entry about it in my school journal. Here it is!” She opened the page of the journal in her hand and indeed, there it was.
She might have been in third grade at the time and our Holiday Show play was titled “King Hop.” It’s a simple story from a German children’s book that tells of a King who did his kingly duties with dignity. But every night, when no one was looking, he jumped up and down on his bed like a gleeful child.
One day, some nosy ministers peeked through the keyhole and caught him. They held a meeting and unanimously agreed to ban all further jumping on the bed. The King reluctantly signed the new law and from that day on, grew sicker and sicker. They brought in all sorts of doctor to try to cure him. One put him on a strict diet of tofu and alfalfa sprouts, but he only got worse. One tried to make him laugh, to no avail. And one, our petite 3rd grader now alum, announced, “He just needs exercise! And I have just the thing!” With that, she whipped out a Buns of Steel exercise video and proceeded to dance energetically. It brought down the house.
I always wonder if the kids (turned adults) remember the same little stories that I do. And I’m discovering that 9 times out of 10, they do. Those silly little things that somehow loom large in our memory. This story could have ended with her career choice to head the Jane Fonda Workout Corporation, but instead she works for Google and is doing humanitarian projects with Google employees in Ghana and India. No matter. She remembered that funny little moment and so did I and it was enough to share our delight together.

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