Meet Captain Silence!
Somewhere deep inside a secret hide-out, a man stares at his computer screen. This is not just any computer. It’s a super high powered macroscope. You how a microscope makes little things look big? Well, this macroscope makes big things look teeny-tiny. It allows Captain Silence to look for schools that need his help.
“And I just found one!” Captain Silence shouted. He quickly ran to his rocket-powered backpack, “BLAST OFF!” he screamed.
CRASH! SMASH! Ooof! Oy!
Captain Silence got up from the ground and wrote a note that read, “Remember to open the skylight in the ceiling!” Captain Silence opened skylight and shot off toward Public School 32 at hyper-speed! In seconds, Captain Silence stood before a very noisy school.
“I’m here!” he announced.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Here. I’m Ray the maintenance guy.”
“No, No,” Captain Silence, said. “I’m not here.”
“We’ll if you’re not here, where are you? Who are you?”
“No, I’m here. But I’m not Mr. Here. “I’m Captain Silence.”
“CAPTAIN VIOLENCE?” Ray responded. “I’m not sure....”
“I was silent. YOU were talking!” the Janitor said.
“Hmmm, you were right.” Captain Silence admitted. “But could you please take me to your boss!”
“Ok,” Ray said. “But what’s your name?”
“Here we go again,” Captain Silence thought. Then he said, loudly. “I’m Captain Silence!”
“Ok,” Johnny answered, “But you’ll have to talk louder. There’s a lot of noise in school!”
At the principal’s office, Captain Silence tried to introduce himself. But he couldn’t be heard! Cell phones were beeping! Pagers were paging. People were talking. Computers were computing. But nothing was getting done! All work had stopped while people tried communicate! Captain Silence went into his rocket powered backpack and pulled out an impossibly large tuba and blew it with all his might. BUUUUUOOOOOOOOOOOP!!!”
“BEWARE OF THE EVIL TWEEDLE!” he said ominously.
Suddenly, there was silence.
“The EVIL TWEEDLE!” the principal asked. “What grade is he in?
“He’s in every grade! And every meeting! And every conversation!” Captain Silence explained. “He’s a mysterious force that gets in our way. And there is only one way to defeat him!”
By now, quite a crowd surrounded Captain Silence. But he didn’t say a word! He just stood there, thinking! While he did, everyone did, too!
The principal thought about a friend’s ill daughter and hoped she would get better.
One teacher thought about his childhood, and wondered why he got into education.
A fifth grade student was worried about a test she had to take. She was trying to say calm.
Finally, Ray the maintenance guy asked, “Excuse me, Captain Smolensk, how do we defeat the Evil Tweedle?”
“I just did—with a Moment of Silence,” he answered.
Then he explained, “A Moment of Silence is the best way to have a good day. Try it every morning it before class.”
“What should I think about?” the fifth-grader wondered.
Captain Silence smiled. “Ask your parents or someone you trust. Or ask yourself: how can I made my room cleaner, my friends happier, my school better, my neighborhood safer? What are you grateful for? Your health? Your home? What are your dreams? And how are you going to make them come true? There a lot of things to think about. Moment of Silence, you’ll find that it will improve whatever you do!”
Suddenly, a huge screeched echoed through the halls. “AAEIIIIIOOOOUUUUUU! I’ll defeat you yet, Captain Silence!”
“Who or what was that?” the principal wanted to know.
“It sounds like the EVIL TWEEDLE.” Captain Silence answered. “You never see his face.”
“It’s easy to see why. If you had a name like that, would you show your face?!” Ray commented.
Will the EVIl TWEEDLE get revenge? Will the school and everyone in it follow Captain Silence’s advice? What about you? What are you going to think about tomorrow or whenever you need to get rid of the Evil Tweedle in your life? STAY TUNED!
Captain B. Still and the Toughest Class in Town.
In a school somewhere in the north section of the South Bronx, teachers hold an emergency meeting. “My kids are out of control,” Mr. Colletti complained. “I can’t get them to stop talking about Internet videos, or sports or movies or games, or who’s got the best headphones!”
“I’ve got the same problem,” Mrs. Ruiz agreed. “Even when they stop talking, they are too busy listening to their Android and iWhatevers to hear me!” “We have to stop it!” Mrs. Jackson said.
“Maybe we could make the kids pay a fine for talking,” Ms. Jackson suggested.
“Ha!” Mr. Colletti snorted. “They make more money in a couple weeks writing aps than I have five years after writing my Master’s thesis!”
“Don’t feel bad,” Mrs. Ruiz said comfortingly. “I’ll bet their aps are a lot more entertaining than your thesis!”
“Even I would have to admit you’re right,” agreed Mr. Colletti. “But this isn’t getting us any closer to a solution.”
“Come in,” Mr. Colletti said.
The teachers turned toward the door. A stranger stepped into the room. His white beard stood out against a dark suit. He carried a briefcase in one hand and several business cards on the other. “Your principal sent me here. He thought I may be able to help.”
“Not unless you’re selling group hypnosis! That’s the only thing I can think of to calm our kids down.”
“I’ve got something that’s even better” the man said, handing Mr. Colletti his card. It read: “Captain B. Still, Operations Director, A.M.O.S.”
“Excuse me, Captain, but what’s A.M.O.S.?”
“A Moment of Silence.”
“I would be thrilled with 30 seconds!” Mrs. Johnson commented.
“You’re not from an organized religious or political group are you?” Mrs. Ruiz asked suspiciously.
“No, if anything, I am one of the most unorganized people around,” Captain Still replied with a smile. “but I’m trying to get better!”
“How can you help make our kids get quiet?” Mr. Colletti asked.
“By giving them something to think about.” Captain Still replied.
“Like what?” Ms. Jackson wanted to know.
“Like anything they want to think about. They just have to spend 60 seconds. You’ll be amazed at what happens.”
“Believe me, I would like to believe you,” said Ms. Jackson.
“Then let me try one class for one week.” Captain Still suggests. “You’ve got nothing to lose!”
“Ok, I’m willing,” volunteered Mrs. Ruiz. “Come to my sixth grade, room 215 at 7:45 tomorrow morning, and one more thing…”
“What’s that?” Captain B. Still asked.
“Bring your ear plugs!” Mrs. Ruiz said.
The next day, Captain B. Still arrived at Mrs. Ruiz’ room. No surprise, he was the first one there. “Good morning, Captain.” Mrs. Ruiz welcomed him.
“Good morning, I’m happy to— ” Captain B. Still never had a chance to complete his sentence. 25 talking, yelling, screaming, gum-chewing, iPod-listening, Android texting 6th grade students tried to enter the room at the same. The pushing, tripping, shoving mob spilled into the room.
“Please take your seats,” Mrs. Ruiz began.
The chaos continued. “Please! Take your seats,” Mrs. Ruiz said louder.
The crowd milled around, talking to (and back to) each other. “TAKE YOUR SEATS!” Mrs. R. screamed. Several students (three to be exact) sat down. Mrs. Ruiz pulled out a referee’s whistle she borrowed from Coach Atkins.
Stunned, the students looked her. They hadn’t seen, or heard, this trick before. “Please sit down,” she said firmly. “Captain,” she turned to the stranger, “You have the floor.”
Quietly (How else would someone named, “B. Still” talk?) He began to explain the goal of A.M.O.S.
“How many of you have ever heard the expression “in the zone?” he began.
“You mean like, in the end zone?” a student queried. Kids began whispering their own opinions.
“Sort of,” Captain B. Still explained. “When an athlete is in the zone, he’s focused, centered on what he….”
Keshawn had been ignoring the conversation, leaning back in his chair, when it flipped back, sending him into the desk of his twin brother Deshawn. Immediately, the two began throwing punches and wrestling. Everyone stood to get a better look at the fight.
“Excuse me, Captain, I have to call security. Please come tomorrow.”
Captain B. Still, the man from A.M.O.S. withdrew from the room. As he left the building, he could hear a voice over the intercom calling, “Code Red, Room 215; Code Red, Room 215.”
“This is going to be tougher than I thought,” he said to himself. “I need to be better prepared!” The next day, the man from A.M.O.S. returned. Only this time, he came prepared—with 25 blank pieces of paper.
Mrs. Ruiz blew her shrill whistle and slowly the class to order. Captain B. Still smiled at the class. He saw that Keshawn and Deshawn were sitting on opposite sides of the room. “I have an exercise I’d like you to try.”
“Oh groan!” came a collective reply. “We’re tired of tests!”
“This isn’t a test,” the captain explained. “It’s an opportunity.” Captain B. Still went down the rows of desks and passing out blank pieces of paper. He got blank stares in return.
“There’s nothing on here! What are we supposed to do?” the kids questioned.
“You’re not supposed to do anything,” Captain B. Still replied. “You’re just supposed to think.”
“About what?” an anonymous voice questioned skeptically.
“That’s really up to you. For 60 seconds, I want you to think—it could be about what you want to achieve today. It could be about someone who needs your help. It could be anything, and you don’t even have to write it down. Just think.”
To be honest, the class sat quietly for five, ten, fifteen, almost twenty seconds. That’s when the first paper airplane came sailing toward the front of the room. Captain B. Still looked up. The plan came from Keshawn Johnson. But it was quickly followed by another from the back of the room. And another! Soon, the sky below the ceiling and above the desks was filled with paper airplanes, then paper softballs, and soaking paper hardballs.
TWEET! TWEET! Mrs. Ruiz began tweeting so hard her faced to red. Captain B. Still looked around as the class descended into chaos again. Finally, Mrs. Ruiz called Security. Code Red! Room 215. Code Red! Room 215.
Captain Still left the building. He was very disappointed. True, Mrs. Ruiz’ class was the toughest class around, but a Moment of Silence is the most powerful idea around—if only the kids could tap into it.
Suddenly, Captain B. Still had an idea. It was time to speak up about a Moment of Silence; only he wasn’t the one who should do the talking! He called Principal DeMarco and Mrs. Ruiz and told him of his plan. They immediately agreed. He would just need the help of his friends at PS 54. It took a couple of days and a promise that it wouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, but finally, Captain B. Still was ready.
He marched into class. Mrs. Ruiz tweeted her whistle, and Captain B. Still put his head down for a moment of silence of his own. Then he began, “Every day is like a blank piece of paper. What kind of day you had, what kinds of things are on that paper depends on you. But there is a way to make sure your day goes better by starting it with a moment of silence. And I’ve asked students who are in sixth grade, just like you, to share their thoughts. First, Kaela.
Kaela looked up at Captain B. Still, he smiled and she began, “It makes me feel good. It makes me feel proud of myself. It makes me feel like I am somebody.”
“Next, here’s Diego. What do you like about a Moment of Silence?” “It makes us think before we do stuff,” Diego replied. “It helps us with our tests and stay focused in class, and stay out of trouble.”
“Thank you,” Captain B. Still said. “Sun Yun, what about you?” Sun Yun whispered, “It helps us start the day peacefully!”
“Charles,” the captain said softly, “What do you think about?” Charles looked at the floor. “I’m quiet for my dad and mom. I miss my dad so much. I wish he comes back.”
“THAT’S IT!” Keshawn shouted angrily. “You’re trying to control us! You can’t make me do this!” he screamed.
“You’re right. I can’t make you do anything, but they can!” Captain B. Still said, pointing to the rest of the class. Keshawn looked around. The room was completely quiet. And it stayed that way for a full minute.
“I want to thank you for listening, I wish that you all have a good day!”
Mrs. Ruiz looked out over the class. Something had changed. Captain Still opened the door and the students from PS 54 went into the hall. “Thank you Captain,” she said gratefully. “You did it.”
“I did not do a thing,” he said honestly. “You’ve got a great class here! They are the ones who did it!”
You can’t make me.
No, but they can.
We help students, parents, teachers and everyone get the most they can out of life!”