David Bruce: Be a Work of Art — Education

Education

• Lots of teachers love their jobs. Syndicated columnist Connie Schultz met a teacher who told her about a young boy who lagged far behind his peers in reading. The teacher worked with the boy for months, and finally the boy read out loud an entire page by himself. The teacher said, “I wish you could have seen his face. He put his book on his lap, raised both hands in the air, and shouted, ‘I can read! I can read!’”

• As a young girl, future Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attended the Kent School for Girls in Denver, Colorado, where she once won an 8th-grade contest by listing all 51 member states of the United Nations in alphabetical order. At every school she attended, she started a new club to study foreign policy — she admits that one advantage of starting a new club is that you can name yourself president.

• Four novices made a vow of silence, then they sat meditating around a candle. A gust of air blew out the candle, so the first novice said, “The candle has gone out.” The second novice said, “Be quiet. We’re not supposed to talk.” The third novice said, “Why are you talking?” And the fourth novice said, “I’m the only one who didn’t say anything.”

• After becoming First Lady in 1992, Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke before a group of talented high school students, then asked for questions. The boys waved their hands in the air, but the girls sat quietly with their hands by their sides. Ms. Clinton waited for a while, and then said, “I’m looking for a woman’s hand.”

• Gymnasts tend to be small. When Kurt Thomas was a hall monitor in school, he worked with another boy named Elvis Peacock, who became a star football player at Oklahoma. Mr. Thomas remembers, “If I asked a guy for his pass when Peacock wasn’t around, it was like I wasn’t even there.”

• Frank Carroll coached figure skater Linda Fratianne, whom he called “the perfect student, because she would listen and try to do exactly what she was told. If I asked her to jump off a roof, she would say, ‘This roof? Or that higher roof?’”

• In 1981, elite gymnastics coaches Bela and Marta Karolyi defected from Romania to the United States. Neither knew English, but they learned the language by watching Sesame Street.

Etiquette

 • The Barrymores — Lionel, Ethyl, and John — were very formal when they were around each other. This shocked one of their acquaintances, who asked, “My God, don’t you know each other?” By the way, the Barrymores’ father, Maurice, enjoyed drinking to excess, and he once stated, “Staggering is a sign of strength. Weak men are carried home.”

• There is a certain etiquette — and attention to safety — in pairs figure skating. For example, if the man is holding the woman high in the air and something happens so that she falls, proper etiquette requires that the man break her fall by allowing her to fall on top of him rather than directly onto the ice.

• Dame Edith Evans was once asked to play Lady Macbeth, but she declined, saying, “It’s absolutely out of the question. I could never impersonate a woman who had such a peculiar notion of hospitality.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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