Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Big and Strong

"Teacher Tom, look at my muscles." He was flexing his biceps in the classic muscle-making pose.

"I'm looking at your muscles."

He admired them himself for a moment, then said, "I made them."

I nodded.

Apparently, I'd not shown sufficient astonishment, so he added, "I did! I actually made them!" 

"You actually made them."

He flexed for a moment then let his arms fall limply to his side. "Want to know how I made them?"


"By exercising."

"I see. Exercising your muscles made them stronger."

"And bigger! So big. I want to see your muscles, Teacher Tom."

I flexed for him.

He looked disappointed. "My dad's are a lot bigger."

"I know your dad. His muscles are bigger."

"That's because he exercises. He picks up super heavy weights right up over his head." He demonstrated how that might look. "You should pick up heavy weights, Teacher Tom."

"Then I would get bigger, stronger muscles."

"Yes. When you use your muscles, they get bigger. That's called exercise."

"You know a lot about exercise."

He nodded knowingly, "I do it a lot. I go with my dad to his gym."

We were on the playground. I pointed out some kids playing a running game. "Those guys are are exercising their legs." I was sitting on a table at the top of the hill. He climbed up to sit beside me. I said, "You just exercised your arms when you pulled yourself onto the table." 

"That's not exercise, Teacher Tom. Exercise is when you go to the gym."

"I'm exercising right now."

"No you're not! You're just sitting there!"

"But I'm swinging my legs. That's a little bit of exercise."

"You're joking."

"Yes, I'm joking. I'm just sitting here. I really should get more exercise."

We sat in silence for a bit, then he said, "Did you know that there are muscles all over your body."

"I did know that."

"Did you know that your heart is even a muscle?"

"I do."

"My dad has a big, strong heart."

"I'll bet he does. I'll bet he can pick up super heavy weights with it, right over his head."

He laughed, "No, Teacher Tom. That's not how you exercise your heart muscle! It doesn't have arms to pick things up. My dad says you do it by hugging people. That's why he hugs me so much. So his heart will be big and strong."


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