The Democratization of Strength in Strongville, IA
Garrison Keillor’s legendary boyhood home of Lake Wobegon, MN is the town in which “All the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” In contrast, Strongville, IA is the town in which all the women are strong, all the men are strong, all the children are strong, and all its citizens strive to grow stronger week after week, month after month, all year long.
More specifically, Strongville is built around the premise that the desire to become stronger (in all kinds of ways) is the natural wellspring of life that must be actively cultivated if its opposites – deterioration, degeneration, and atrophy are to be avoided.
In Strongville it’s a matter of honor. It’s a moral obligation, a moral imperative to cultivate one’s own inborn seeds of strength. It’s the source of one’s own self-respect as well as one’s respect among fellow citizens. Failure to do so is seen as undermining oneself, and in the process undermining one’s family, neighborhood, and ultimately the entire town. Thus, what’s true for individual citizens is also true for the town itself. Strong, resilient, resourceful, independent citizens are the ingredients that collectively make up a strong, resilient, resourceful, and independent township.*
Life Shaping Habits Start Young
Since all its citizens have physical bodies, Strongville’s founding fathers decided that the process of growing stronger should begin with each citizen’s physical body. The other thing their founding fathers recognized was the fact that life shaping habits usually begin at a young age. That being the case, they also decided that all Strongville children should be systematically introduced and exposed to the idea of being able to physically pull their own weight (do pull ups) starting in kindergarten.**
They use height adjustable pull up bars in conjunction with a technique called leg assisted pull ups (jumping and pulling at the same time) that together give all Strongville students a place to start, and a way to proceed predictably, in small increments, in front of their friends, towards the end goal of being able to physically pull their own weight.
Naturally Immunized Against Obesity, and...
In over a decade’s worth of experience Strongville schools learned that approximately 75% of all students master the ability to physically pull their own weight within one school year. Some take two or even three years. But by the time they walk across the graduation stage, 100% of Strongville High’s students are fully capable of physically pulling their own weight.
This means that Strongville High’s graduates have naturally immunized themselves against obesity for life as long as they eat and exercise in ways that allow them to maintain the ability to do at least one conventional pull up. You see, as all Strongville citizens know, people who can perform at least one conventional, unassisted pull up can’t carry 30% body fat. That is to say, the odds of anyone who can do at least one conventional pull up being obese are remote.
Beyond the Physical
However the physical body is only the beginning of this story. Once students have a solid handle on how to grow physically stronger week after week, month after month, all year long, they apply the same hands-on experiences to subjects like reading, writing, and arithmetic and they grow systematically stronger in these areas as well.
In other words, the experience of growing stronger physically on a regular basis, over time, provides a concrete, tangible foundation upon which to build many new academic skills along with skills in music, art, the political, economic, and social sciences as well.
Seeds of Strength Sewn Far and Wide
When Strongville students finally graduate from high school, head off to college, and eventually pursue employment in various far off places, these walking, talking seeds of strength are sewn and multiplied across the world in places like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Dallas, New Orleans, Paris, London, Shanghai, and Vienna. Thus the little town and the citizens of Strongville, IA are not only destined to show people around the world how to naturally immunize themselves against obesity for life, but they’ll also demonstrate how almost anyone can become strong at everything and weak at nothing by starting with the physical body and building, brick after brick, on a rock solid foundation.
*What’s true for townships is equally true for private sector companies/corporations, public sector counties, states, and nations as well.