being yourself, dreams coming true, friends, goals, Jane Butler, Jane Paffenbarger Butler, joy, teacher, Vincent Van Gogh
I just came from the elementary school where several of my piano students were participating in a ‘wax museum’. There was so much running around and laughing, so much excitement and fun. Kids dress up as famous figures from history, culture and society and stand at their desks as guests file by. On the desktop is a button to press to activate the character who then recites his facts and figures while wearing a rather precise costume. My favorites were Snowflake Bentley, the first person to look at snow under a microscope (he died from exposure!), the artist Grandma Moses, the crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, President Herbert Hoover, and Vincent van Gogh. The kids clearly took pride in telling the stories of their characters. Some students knew everything about the part they played and looked right at me as their told their story. Others were so shy but you sensed they took comfort in reading their note cards, knowing it would be over soon. Such a rich experience for kids, to get to show off their learning, or stretch to do something a little tricky. Pretending to be someone else, and someone notable is a great exercise for kids.
That is where I ran into my own kids’ former elementary school teachers and suddenly, besides seeing my present students in their classrooms as Florence Nightingale, Squanto and Johnny Appleseed, it was old home week for me. Five of us stood around, while the students entertained skads of visitors, and talked about my kids and what they are doing now. It was fun to hear their teachers remember how my kids were when they were little. And one, a friend now really, always says she wishes she could somehow be a kid growing up in my home! Oh, the grass is always greener! But it is a compliment I connect directly to actual dreams of my own coming true. It has been a personal goal of mine to be a decent parent so to have a teacher say she wishes I were her mother is pretty good news for me!
I loved the wax museum.