In an elementary school, birthday treats abound. There is hardly a day that goes by when I don't have a little visitor enter my room, friend in tow, to present me with a cupcake, cookie, brownie, or other grand confectionery. My students always become very excited when they see a birthday visitor arrive. This is because, I don't eat my birthday treats. I don't throw away my birthday treats. I place them on my desk, in clear view of the students, and at the end of the day I give away the treat to a student. I tell them that I will look for a student who is doing their best throughout the day and award them the sweet treat. Secretly, I keep a checklist of students I give the treat to so I can make sure and give one to each of them before year's end.
Today, by 1:00, I had received not one, but two delicious treats: a chocolate cupcake with
white icing and sprinkles and a chocolate chip cookie. Yum.
When the students became too talkative (which they always do this time of the year) or when they couldn't walk quietly down the hallways (again, no can do this time of the year), I reminded them that I had some yummy treats just waiting on my desk. It bought me at least several minutes of silence. A welcome respite on these final days of school. I'll take it.
With the stress of these final days, I was tempted several times to pop that cupcake or cookie into my mouth. But I knew if I did that, I would need to explain to my little darlings what had happened to the treat, as they know exactly what treat is sitting on my desk. Earlier in the year they asked me why I didn't eat the treats myself. They couldn't get their head around the fact that I could resist eating a sugary treat, that had no doubt been manhandled by numerous tiny hands.
So the two treats sat there until the final minutes of the day.
"Who is going to get the treats?" a couple of them shouted as they jostled for position in the line by the door.
"Well, obviously no one who is shouting or jostling around by the door," I replied. They giggled.
"What's jostling?" asked a little one standing quietly in the back of the line.
"It's exactly what you are not doing. So you get to pick one of the treats!" I instructed him.
He raced to the desk looking back and forth between the cupcake and the cookie. What to do? What to do?
Before he could make up his mind, I turned to a sweet little darling standing by her desk. "Would you like the other treat today?" I asked her.
In a split second she was over at the desk with the still undecided boy. They talked back and forth for a few seconds and then each hand grabbed a treat. They made their way to the doorway, each holding their prize carefully. One day, a "treat winner" had unfortunately dropped his right in the doorway at the end of the day. Lesson learned.
"How can you not eat this?" asked the smiling girl, holding her cupcake up towards me.
"Well, just think about it. If I ate every single birthday treat that came to my class, plus the birthday treats all of you bring in for your birthday, I would be as big as a house!" I said. And I stretched my hands out wide from my sides. I puffed my checks out.
And as the bell rang, they walked towards the doors laughing.
And I, pulled from my desk drawer an Almond Joy bar. After all, I have all summer to exercise.