This past Wednesday morning, I was walking by our lower school office. I saw Bethany sitting with her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Fitle. Being a K-12 school and not a huge one at that, it's safe to say I know most of the kids by sight if not by name. I know Bethany by name; her mom is our elementary art teacher. There are four other siblings and I've taught two. In fact, I've written blogs about her two sisters. Kathryn, a senior, painted a ceiling tile in my classroom with her rendition of the Last Supper. Margaret, now a sixth grader, has been giving me a thumbs up or down on my clothes selection since kindergarten, or approximately the same age as Bethany. Apparently, Bethany wants to join the august company of blog inspirers. As I walked past three days ago, Bethany proclaimed,
"Coach Hawley, you're dressed like a girl."
Mrs. Fitle quickly came to my defense:
"No, he's not!"
Bethany countered with,
"Yes, he is. He's wearing pink!"
That part was true. At the insistence of Silvia., my personal Jos A. Bank wardrobe consultant, I had purchased a pink Traveler dress shirt and Minna, my senior teacher's aide who basically tells me what to wear every school day, had matched it with a purple tie/black pants/black shoes and socks/black belt. I tried to explain I was just doing what Minna told me but I doubt she comprehended. I saw Bethany's mom shortly afterwards and laughingly relayed our conversation. I can't remember if mom said anything: I do remember her slapping her forehead!
Shortly after being down by Bethany, I went to lunch in our cafeteria. I eat early with our elementary kids because there is no crowd/standing in line so I buy myself the equivalent of an extra 1/2 planning period. It also means more interaction with our younger students. As I stepped up to the serving line, I was jointly bear hugged by Oluwaseya and Lana, two of the sweetest children ever, concurrently. Simultaneously, they noticed my name tag which identifies me as STEVE HAWLEY, or by first name. Both the young ladies blurted out that they thought my first name was Coach- they had never heard of Steve Hawley! I guess I have a new identity! I wish I was funny enough in my own right to make this stuff up. I guess I'll have to just report what I hear!
If I were to ask my current students to tell me anything about Art Linkletter, I would be met by dozens of blank stares. But to older generations, his was a constant gentle voice. Born in Canada and abandoned at birth, Linkletter was adopted by a minister and his wife. He married his wife, Lois, and stayed married for more than seventy-four years. He made a name for himself on radio, moved into TV, and once had five shows on the air at the same time. A well-known humanitarian, Linkletter died in 2010 at the age of ninety-eight. He spoke at one of our WCS fundraisers and was terrific. But what I remember him primarily for is his book, Kids Say The Darnedest Things. (In deference to Mom who considered darn to be borderline profanity, I am going to change that part of the previous sentence to Kids Say The --------- Things.) Linkletter would simply talk with uncoached ordinary children and found the words coming from their mouths were often shocking, sometimes insightful, and invariably giggle inducing and he made a career of it. Just like the things the little ones at my school say to me. Like the stuff we can imagine little kids in Israel blurted out in front of Jesus which I'm sure the apostles, spiritually mature as they were, considered childish. Kids haven't changed much in the last two thousand years if my thought processes are accurate. I just wonder if Jesus ever wore a pink shirt. If He did, I'm sure some little girl called Him on it. I'll bet He would have laughed with her.
Here's a clip of Art interviewing kids:
Applicable quote of the day:
"The two best interview subjects are children under 10 and people over 70 for the same reason: they say the first thing that comes to their mind. The children don't know what they're saying and the old folks don't care."