A Story I remember

It was Mrs. Wagoner, my third grade teacher that read us a story about a boy wanting to develop his muscles. The boy about twelve wanted to grow muscles. He went around his town asking people how to do this. He went to a house at the edge of town. There was a guy chopping wood. So the boy asked him, “mister do you know how to grow muscles, see mine are really small?”

The old guy said, “let me think about it, I’ll sit here while you chop some wood that’ll be the pay for me telling you how to grow muscles.” Well the boy chopped wood for an hour that day. He stopped and asked the guy “do you have any ideas yet?” The old guy said “no, but if you come back tomorrow this same time I’ll think about it some more while you chop wood.”

Well this same scene kept going every afternoon for two or three weeks. Finally the boy said, “look if you don’t know how to grow muscles I’ve got to find somebody that does.” The old guy called him over and told him to roll up his sleeve and bend his arm. There to the boy’s surprise was a muscle. He looked at his other arm and there was a muscle. The little boy was totally surprised.

Three things occurred to me as I wrote this, 1) I remember it, not all the details, but I remember it. 2) Teachers really impact their students life. 3) Maybe growing in relationship with God works similar to this story.

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14 thoughts on “A Story I remember

  1. Good one, Gary. This kind of story puts the sandal to the sand….gives legs to the lesson and muscle (excuse the expression ) to the moral of the story. The old adage, ‘practice makes perfect’ seems to apply here. As we pracitce the presence of God every day, like the little fellow, we come into the reality of GOD’S true presence in our lives. Maybe if we asked God, in our weakness how to grow a muscular prayer and spiritual life, He could tell us, come back tomorrow and pray & seek & see what I might tell you. And if we did that each & every day, going to the Lord in prayer seeking how to build a muscular prayer and spiritual life….one day we might look down and say, wow! What a muscular spirit I have….bold and strong and fearless. How could that have happened? WE PRACTICED!

  2. I like your three points in telling this story. I admire and encourage all teachers in their work and new school year. I also believe that growing in relationship with God works similar to this story as will almost anything one sets their heart to and their focus on and hands and feet to the task.

    I am impressed that you can remember the story and think it even greater that you took the time to share with others. It is very encouraging.

  3. That is a good story. It speaks to me that God can answer our prayers in a much different way than we could ever have imagined. He can hear our heart’s cry and prepare us through methods we wouldn’t necessarily think could cause the growth or provide the answer to our needs or a need of another.
    It reminded me of something Joel Osteen shared the other night at the Verizon Center. I’ll try to recall it how I understood it. He related about how that all the years he spent working in the television production part of his father’s ministry, listening to and editing sermons for his father’s televison programs, provided the training he would need one day when God called him to step into that preaching position that he never wanted or thought he could ever do. And while he was editing, he had no idea that he was being trained.
    What a good and wise God we serve.

  4. I heard Joel’s story as well. Did Joseph with the coat of many colors not have a story somewhat like unto Joel’s and ours?

    Don’t you think that ever story in our life shapes our destiny. I didn’t get the idea from Joel that he didn’t know that he was being trained for other duties in this ministry. Joel was not just editing his father’s sermons he was traveling a number of times a year with him to India to minister, among many other things. His father was teaching him and training him in many ways for this or a like position. His Father made that known to him often by giving him the opportunity ‘to speak’ on platform and according to Joel’s story, he knew the day he was ready and accepted his Father’s invitation. It seemed like a pretty natural move to me. I don’t think anyone knows their exact future. But, I believe that each and everything and that includes words spoken and thoughts thought in part are a preparation for what happens next in our lives.

    As you have started teaching your new high school class this year do you believe that each and every action, thought and word you have toward the students will have a part in shaping their destiny as well as yours? I think this story speaks to and encourages teachers that what you do today may help shape a child’s future and just maybe some school teachers somewhat like yourself. One day one of your very own students might just step up to the plate and stand right in the same position you now stand. Hooray for school teachers!

  5. Note: Could have made my thoughts short above by saying, the man in the story knew what he was training the little boy for and what the little boy wanted, he knew how to help him grow some muscle. Joel’s father knew what he was training Joel for.

  6. Yes, Sara, the story of Joseph is a story like it…and thanks for the reminder and analogy. And, yes, when you stop and think about every story does shape our destiny and I think how we respond to the story affects it very much also. Thanks for clarifying about Joel and giving the complete and accurate perspective on it.
    And yes, I do believe that as a high school teacher all I do plays a part in shaping the students’ and teacher’s destiny. I think you must have helped me decorate my room with frogs in order to remember to always ‘hop to it!’ and keep this thought before me. And the Welcome frog statuary shows three frogs demonstarting with their hands how important what we say, hear, speak and do is…hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil.

  7. Gary, this a great story. This little boy wanted muscles, so he listened to the older man and he was obedient to what the man asked him to do. He didn’t complain, he just did the work. If we want a closer relationship with the Lord we must listen to what he has to say by reading his word and being obedient to what the word tells us. If we do this we will be pleased with the outcome just as the little boy was pleased when he saw his outcome. I also agree with the three points you made. I do think teachers really impact childrens lives. My mother and father both taught school. When ever I go into town with them, they always have a young adult come to them and thank them. These young adults were their students when they were younger. It is amazing to me how much impact my mother and father had on so many people. I thank the Lord for my parents and I thank the Lord for all the teachers and all their hard work. They are a gift from God. Thank you Gary for sharing this story.

  8. Gary,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I am remembering a story, with one of my middle school teachers. If I can I will try to recall the account here. I had been to the lunchroom and came back with some change…(a dime). I explained that I had the change, and she asked me how much change I had. I said, “ten cent”. She must have asked me “20 times more”….how much? and again I said “ten cent”. I thought to myself, “what is wrong with her, is she hard of hearing?” When I did not get what she was trying to teach me, she finally said….”Tammy, you have “ONE CENT, but you have TEN CENTS!” What a hard lesson I learned, and have never forgotten to add the “S”, when it is more than one cent.

  9. Gary what a great story. This reminds me of a boy a few years ago who was in my fifth grade class. He wanted and still wants to be President of the United States. He took on every activity he could in the community to help him in this endeavor. After Katrina we were wrapping up a lot of gifts for needy people and he was in the midst of it all. He had formed the teams to do the work. He tried his hand at wrapping and I tried to show him how but he just couldn’t get the hang of it. I told him that on a team each had a talent so he might want to delegate to those who had the talent of wrapping as when he became President he would have to learn to delegate. He loved the results and so did the people the gifts went to.

    This also reminds me of a teacher I had in third grade – Mrs. Calvert. Everyday she would read us a few pages from Brer Rabbit. I looked forward with anticipation everyday to hear her read. She read with such expression that I was mesmerized by tale she spun as she read the book. At the time I was having a great deal of difficulty reading and barely passed. To this day I love to read expressively to and with my students.

  10. Oh How I love reading all your personal stories about your teachers and students, etc. I am so impressed that you all recall so well, the incidents that created the stories in the first place.
    One story, I do recall in the music classroom several years ago. I think it was a 2nd grade music class. We had started using inclusion in the special classes like Music, Art, PE and library. There was one little fellow in that particular class who could not contain himself, whatsoever. He was all over the place, being disruptive, bothering the other children, interrupting and generally being naughty. I believe I finally was so exasperated that I said something to the effect of….what are we to to do with you?” One little cute, chubby-cheeked boy calls out
    ” He just needs a good dose of Jesus!” That little guy was right.

  11. In thinking about my teachers, I don’t remember so much facts they taught me but one distinctive characteristic of each and one building block that they placed in my life structure. My artisitic first grade teacher opened up the world of artwork to me by reading The White Swan to us and then having us paint with chalk on wet paper what we saw from the story. My strict but loving second grade teacher taught obedience… and you couldn’t hide a thing from her. When asked how she knew?…she would reply ‘a little bird told me’. The kind third grade teacher taught manners and graciousness. My jolly fourth grade teacher imparted a love of earth sciences. From my passionate fifth grade teacher I learned to love to read aloud the most wonderful books..and so on and so one right through high school. Looking back, the block that each one gave to me helped shape my vocation and interests that I rely on today. Sara was right…their actions, thoughts and words shaped my destiny.

  12. In sharing about our teachers, I have the best memories of “Book Report” time. From the time I entered elementary school through high school the class would be asked to read a book and then a certain afternoon or morning each week would be “Book Report” time. Each student had the opportunity to stand before the class and share their story from The Story. Then we would decide then and there if we wanted to read the book. We would fight to get the books from the library. HUM! Then we would tell or retell the story our way!

    I must say I loved books then and I love books even more now and I believe “Book Report” time with the help of Mother, Father and a host of brothers and sisters that competed for reading and telling time helped to give me the love of reading and sharing.

  13. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,” Isaiah 46:9

    Remembering is a great exercise to keep my mind from forgetting!

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