Former student, Ben Mead, making this retired teacher very proud!
One of the most gratifying things for me, as a retired teacher, is bumping into my former students and getting caught up on their lives now as adults.
Rarely does a week go by without hearing the words, “hi Mr. Joseph, do you remember me?”
Appearances have changed and I can never recall who they are just on sight.
It is flattering for me when they can remember the things in my class that they found interesting and fun.
One of the most important things about teaching young people is to make the subject matter fun. In fact everything in life is far more enjoyable if it is fun.
Recently I received a marathon application from Benjamin Mead. It was a name that rang familiar from many, many years ago. My curiosity got the best of me and I contacted Ben to see if he was a former student.
“Yes Mr. Joseph, I had you at Keaau Middle School in the 7th grade and you were one of my favorite teachers,” Mead said.
During our phone conversation Ben started telling me about all the things in class that he enjoyed and still remembered fondly, till today.
I didn’t realize it right away, but I was speaking to Dr. Benjamin Mead, a dentist who is working for the Bay Clinic in Keaau.
“Bay Clinic is a public health clinic that serves a broad range of patients on both ends of the economic spectrum,” Mead said. “I was raised in Keaau and being able to return and help in the community has been very rewarding for me.”
A former student that is a professional, wanting to live and contribute to their home town community, nothing could be more satisfying to a teacher.
Mead first got interested in sports when his parents brought him and his brother, Luke, to swim classes when they were five years old.
“I distinctly remember sprinting with everything I had and coming to the realization that if I was going to swim faster I was going to need to improve my technique,” he said. “The quest to improve and adapt myself has been a source of entertainment and fulfillment ever since.”
Mead was on the swim team at Waiakea High School and was a judoka at Hilo Hongwanji Judo Club. He even played on a water polo team.
“My favorite sports are surfing and diving as I’m most at home in the water,” Mead said.
Being a dentist Mead puts in 11 hour days, from 7 am to 6 pm four days a week and finds it difficult to muster the energy to work out during that portion of the week.
“My job can be stressful at times, but a positive outlook and an outlet for my energy allows me to stay relaxed,” Mead said. “Coming back to the Big Island was a good choice for me as it’s the only place that puts me at ease and it has the best waves.”
Despite his busy schedule Dr. Mead has put his sights on running his first marathon (26.2 miles) in March 2012.
“I haven’t done very many runs so far and I still need to learn how to train for the marathon distance,” he said. “I have done a few shorter events from a 5K to the try-go-athon in Keaukaha and both were really fun.”
Doc Mead has decided to challenge himself by setting a high exercise related goal of completing his first marathon. He knows to be successful he will have to find the time to put in the distance mileage to manage a marathon without too much difficulty.
“I still find it difficult to get exercise into my daily routine,” he said. “Short runs I can wing it without much training, so I decided to go for the really big one, the Hilo Marathon in March.”
Mead recently asked me for marathon training advice, which I am always eager to share.
To be successful at anything you have to practice, practice, practice, and in Doc Mead’s case that means getting out and putting in the mileage on his days off.
“I figured that if I chose to run a marathon I’d have to train regularly and that may start me on the path to running for personal fitness,” he said.
The most difficult part of any exercise program is finding the time and then actually sticking to that work out cycle.
Doc Mead is on the right track of setting his goal high and committing himself to a regular fitness regime.
His willingness to want to improve his overall fitness level places him on the right track to success, now he needs to find the time and work it into his busy schedule.
One thing for sure is that we have a community minded dentist working in his home town of Keaau and having the desire to improve the oral care of his patients.
Having former students like Ben Mead cross paths makes being a public school teacher for 32 years all that much more rewarding.
And someday should you happen to see a happy, healthy retiree with clean teeth running through the back roads of Keaau, remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”
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