Today I am going to talk about two odd teachers I had. No, they had nothing to do with formal schooling but they taught me stuff that changed my life. The first is my dad.
Each time I hear, whatchamacallit singing “dance with my father again”, I feel like running home and getting my father to dance with me. Okay, I’ve never had the chance to dance with him but it always happens in my head. Maybe someday I will summon up courage to ask him to dance with me 😐
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My father taught me to walk in a straight line. Okay, don’t laugh because it totally is unfunny. When family and friends tease you to no end about how you walk like a ‘chicken scraping the earth for food’- read: scattered walking – at a point you stop smiling 😦
Each time my parents got everyone a new pair of shoes, mine was the first to go bad. It was a major problem that deserved a solution, if for no other reason but for my dear father’s pocket. So, he taught me how to walk…like a lady. And it was simple really: My dad drew a straight line on the floor and made me place one foot in front of the other on the line.
You don’t want to know how hilarious this was at first. I looked at the line and said to myself, “piece of cake” and then I tried and failed and failed again. I do not accept failure (Not as if father would have allowed me accept failure either) and I kept trying until I got it right. Then I practised on anything straight, even the edge of the gutter, the chances of falling in made it more pertinent that I get it right. I practised on the rail tracks, everywhere. I practised until I could walk imaginary straight lines. I’m still walking.
Recently, someone commented that no matter how tired I was, it was difficult for me to lose the walk. He called it the ‘cat walk’. In my mind, it’s the walk that father taught me and he made it so easy that I could practice it anywhere.
Thanks Dad (If you ever get to read this) *Okay, mental note to add thanking him to the bucketlist right after asking for that dance.
My second teacher was Tony.
Tony must have been some years my senior. I had a huge crush on him growing up. So when he took an interest in me (totally not sexual), it was like a dream come true (until I found out it wasn’t sexual , that is). Tony was quick to identify a problem I had. I didn’t know how to smile. In fact, back in secondary school, I was nicknamed “Thatcher” because I was always wearing a scowl.
Tony was the first person that told me about the relationship between facial muscles and smiling and he followed it up by ensuring that any time he was with me I wore a smile. In fact, he went as far as saying that anywhere I was going, I should always wear a smile. At first, I rebelled. (I mean, why should I be smiling and walking on the road, when I’m not mad) Then a few people pointed out, after meeting me and having a good laugh that they would never have believed I was such great company because my face seemed to send the wrong message.
I immediately started working on smiling. Tony was a great help. He taught me how to have happy thoughts in my head, hum happy songs as I walk as this would reflect on my face and that each time I felt my muscles slacking down, I was to lift them up. It was a hard battle but again I won and it was great fun winning.
People tell me today that I laugh a lot. I can only laugh in response…I wasn’t born laughing. I learnt how to laugh and I had a fantastic teacher who refused to give up on me.
Recently, I read a book that talks about the importance of a support group if you wanted to break a habit. It also mentioned the importance of replacing a bad habit with a good one. In each of these cases I had both of these elements and that is probably why I was able to succeed. They didn’t only offer support, but they were there with practical help on how I could succeed.
I have not always won my battles though. Let us talk tomorrow about a battle I am still fighting…who knows maybe you can be my support group 🙂
The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.- Luke 6:40 NIV