By NATALIE SCOTT
Students at Poland Union Elementary School were treated to a PTO-sponsored assembly titled All About Character Jan. 18, which centered around teaching and encouraging respect, trustworthiness, responsibility, caring, fairness, and citizenship.
Jim Kleefeld, a magician and comedian, presented the assembly and used his skills to show that displaying character can have unexpected rewards.
Kleefeld began the assembly by explaining that empathy is being able to look at something from somebody else’s point of view. He did a magic trick that put two sides of a brick wall together. When he flipped the wall around, it magically had a window in it.
“You see, from your side, this could possibly only be a brick wall, but from my side, I see something very different,” said Kleefeld. “And how would you know that if you never tried to find out?”
Kleefeld also told the students that people may look one way on the outside, but feel completely different on the inside. To demonstrate this, he had different colored faces attached to bags that had colored tubes of “emotion” within them.
“You see, children, you may look happy on the outside, but be angry on the inside or you may look angry on the outside, but feel sad on the inside,” explained Kleefeld. “But you never know what is going on with someone on the inside. That is why you should always be nice to everyone.”
Kleefeld also told the students the story of King Midas and how all he ever cared for was gold. Midas wished for everything he touched to turn to solid gold and he was granted his wish. Midas was happy until he hugged his daughter in her sadness and she also turned to gold. It wasn’t until that moment that Midas realized there was something he loved more than gold, but it was too late to change what had happened.
Kleefeld’s lessons were funny and contained a variety of magic tricks in them, but the message they carried was clear: showing character takes you far and being selfish costs you dearly in the end.