David Bruce: The Funniest People in Neighborhoods — Education, Fathers

Education

• In one of her classes, Marcia Worth-Baker decided to involve her students in an activity in which they put the ancient Greek god Zeus, god of lightning, on trial. However, the student playing Pandora, the prosecutor, got a lot of laughs when she announced that Zeus’ crimes included cutting in line and reading other people’s e-mail.

• As a kid, Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight understood the value of reading. In his hometown of Orrville, Ohio, the library posted a list of the 10 kids in town who had read the most books that week. Each week, young Bobby’s name was on that list — along with the names of nine girls.

• At the end of her second day in school, a first-grade student asked her teacher, “What did I do in school today?” Surprised, the teacher asked why the student had asked that. The student replied, “Well, I’m going home now, and when I get home, my mother will ask me that.”

• Some people are born teachers. Las Vegas elementary-schoolteacher Ainslie Cole started teaching when she was a little girl — she taught her very first math lesson to a room filled with very special students: her stuffed animals.

• At a very young age, comedian Bill Hicks liked Elvis Presley. When Bill was in first grade, he lip-synched “All Shook Up” at school — on the teacher’s desk — for show and tell.

• Christian Johannsen was an exacting teacher of ballet. When he wished to give high praise to a student, he would tell him or her, “Now you may do that in public.”

Fathers

• Actor Will Smith learned a lot from his father while growing up in Philadelphia, PA. When Will was still in school, his father ordered him and his brother, Harry, to replace — brick by brick — a wall in their yard. Will couldn’t believe it because the wall was about 16 feet high and about 50 feet wide. He says, “I remember standing there thinking, ‘There is no way I will live to see this completed.’ He wanted us to build the Great Wall of Philly! I remember hoping that my father would get committed, because if he were in an insane asylum, then we wouldn’t have to finish the thing.” The wall took six months to rebuild, including mixing the concrete by hand. Of course, Will and Harry — and their father — were proud of their work when it was done. Today Will says, “Dad told me and my brother, ‘Now don’t you all ever tell me you can’t do something.’ I look back on that a lot of times in my life when I think I won’t be able to do something, and I tell myself, ‘One brick at a time.’”

• When children’s mystery writer Joan Lowery Nixon was a child, she studied arithmetic, but often ran into difficult problems. Her father was an accountant, and he would explain the process of solving the problems, and she would then do her homework. However, occasionally one or two problems were very difficult, and her father would not tell her how to solve them. Instead, he would tell her, “Think about them when you go to bed. Tell your mind to work on them. It will do this while you’re asleep. In the morning, when you wake up, you’ll be able to solve the problems.” Later, Ms. Lowery read books about the subconscious, and she told her father, “You were way ahead of your time.” Her father laughed and replied, “It wasn’t my idea. My second-grade teacher taught the process to me.”

• Both Lillian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Bunker Gilbreth were efficiency experts; indeed, Mr. Gilbreth invented the field and applied it to his personal life and the life of his family. Mr. Gilbreth even attempted to save time by shaving with two razors. (He had already cut — perhaps an unfortunate choice of words — 17 seconds from his shaving time by lathering his face with two brushes.) Unfortunately, Mr. Gilbreth cut himself with one of the razors and had to waste two minutes bandaging himself up. According to his children, “It wasn’t the slashed throat that really bothered him. It was the two minutes.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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