Learning the word “Reflection”

When only six, our son , Dan, was in school

and heard read there “The Ugly Duckling” tale.

The teacher asked, when putting the book down,

“How did the duckling learn he was a swan?”

Dan waved his hand and shouted his answer,

“He saw his erection in the water!”

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL. Sept. 22, 2012

The Ugly Duckling

This entry was posted in Humor, Poetry, story, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by Gordon C. Stewart. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gordon C. Stewart

I've always liked quiet. And, like most people, I've experienced the world's madness. "Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness" (Wipf and Stock Publishers, Jan. 2017) distills 47 years of experiencing stillness and madness as a campus minister and Presbyterian pastor (IL, WI, NY, OH, and MN), poverty criminal law firm executive director, and social commentator. Our dog Barclay reminds me to calm down and be much more still than I would be without him.

4 thoughts on “Learning the word “Reflection”

    • Faith, Yikes twice. I thought twice about posting this piece, but didn’t pause long because it’s a real story about real life and it’s just the kind of mistake a child can make. Humor is one of the categories on the blog and it struck my funny bone. I started the blog with very serious stuff and will continue to do so, yet, at the same time, being serious, solemn, and guarded (especially in the case of a pastor) easily slips into pomposity and righteousness. A little humor, I think, loosens us up. Nadja, David’s mother, would tell the same story with the no sense of offending other women. It’s just very human. In this case, the humor came from a boy. My thoughts. Getting ready for Phil’s big rfetirementy party this weekend.


  1. I had an argument with my daughter the other day as to whether her 7th grade science unit is really about the “refraction of light” (which is what it is called) or the “reflection of light” (which is what all their experiments seem to be about). But I can see there are be some reasons other than scientific accuracy for keeping the word “reflection” out of the discussion with 7th grade boys.


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