Something to make you think

@soccermom (3200)
United States
April 14, 2007 12:59pm CST
My sister sent me this email...and I felt I had to share it. I know it is long, but please read it and share your thoughts. Two Choices What would you do?....you make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice? At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child." Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning." Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay" Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team. "That day", said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world". Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day! AND NO W A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces. If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them. You now have two choices: 1. Delete 2. Forward May your day, be a Shay Day.
8 people like this
20 responses
@mamasan34 (6521)
• United States
14 Apr 07
Thanks so much for sharing that. it is very moving, in fact I had tears in my eyes. That is a true testament to the kindness in human beings. Most children in my experience when I was in school were just mean as snakes. We had this little boy in a special needs class. His head was larger than his body was developing and he was mentally disabled. He was confined to a wheelchair and I remember to this day how cruel the boys were in my class. We would walk through the cafeteria and he was so sweet. I remember his name was Bobby. I tried to be nice to him because I had promised that I would not be like those boys. I got teased in the process, but who cares? Even at age 7 I thought to myself how rude and cruel these boys were, that just shows that their parents weren't very kind either, they had to learn that behavior from somewhere. In high school we had a girl who was a little slower, but was able to attend some of our regular classes. The girls in my gym class would make fun of her and that made this girl very mean. I tried to be nice to her and she always thought I was trying to set her up for something bad, even though I wasn't. It hurt my feelings, but I couldn't blame her for how she felt. Most kids did do that to her. They would pretend to be her friend and make her the butt of their jokes. It is awful. So, this story revives my feelings about how kind some people really can be and there is hope!
2 people like this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
14 Apr 07
We had a boy in 8th grade that was pretty well liked, until he got into a car accident. He returned top school in a wheelchair and severly brain damaged and nobody wanted anything to do with him. Kids are very cruel, and you're right, I think it reflects upon their upbringing.
@SpitFire179 (2536)
• Canada
14 Apr 07
I've never read this before, and i thought i got them all. My little sister has Downs syndrome, and i got my fair share of dealing with this crap, to read this, it literally makes me blubber like a baby. Yes that's right, my face is streaked with tears, and my eyes are probly a little swollen, but this is something that i would read time and time again, because my biggest worry is always that she won't be accepted. And rarely she is, just picked on. I think I'm going to send this to my mom. I always saw my sister as more fortunate as we are, she has the ability to love and be loved unconditionally by the people who take a second to get to know her, she teaches people there's another dimension to love, and life. She may not have been the smartest or the fastest or anything like that, but if you look at her, she's soo smart, and concentrated, inelegant, funny, and always ALWAYS shows you how much you mean to her. They rarely get scared, or unhappy, regardless of what's going on around them, and they forget easily those that are unimportant. But what's even more special about that, I was gone for a year, didn't talk to her more than twice, during that time, and when she saw me, after that year, she jumped on me and screamed, she wouldn't let me go for almost 15 hours, i knew she hadn't forgotten me, and i knew she didn't hold a grudge.
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
14 Apr 07
Spitfire, I was a restaurant manager a few years ago and hired a girl (well, woman actually) who has Downs Syndrome to work in the dining room, handing out breadsticks and dessert samples. She was one of the best employees I ever had, and her mother was an absolute angel. I run into her every now and then, and 6 years later she remembers me, gives me hugs and still laughs about things that happened at work. I feel as though I was blessed to have her in my life, she taught me more lessons in the 2 years I worked with her than some people could in a whole lifetime.
• Canada
15 Apr 07
My sister, i call her my baby, she was always my baby, my mother may have had her, but she was my girl, through and through, the rest were too, but she was the most. Their amazing, touching, everything wonderful under the sun, downs kids, downs people, and every time i think of her, it warms my heart, without having her touch my life the way she did, i might not be as strong of a person as i am today. And i might not be as gentle as i am either. I'll never forget the encounters i've had with other downs kids either, they just show you a new side of everything, it's so wonderful.
1 person likes this
• China
14 Apr 07
What a moving story! Thanks a lot for sharing it with us. In our daily life, we may encounter some people with kinds of ability, most of us treat them with sympathy, mentally.However, what they really need may be that we treat them just as other people, with the same praise and encouragement, but most importantly,we should accept them naturally.
1 person likes this
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
14 Apr 07
Well said! When I first tstarted waiting tables I always felt awkward waiting on someone with a disability, I think it's human nature just to not know how to act. But then I got over it, people with disabilities want and deserve to be treated like everyone else. And when you treat them just like you would any other "normal" person the awkwardness just goes away.
• Philippines
15 Apr 07
Wow I so happy to read this I almost want to cry. this story is so moving, this is the email worth to forward to all your friends. I really love the last part of which a society is judge by how they treat the most unfortunate one. I think most society today don't have this principle which makes this world starting to rot.
1 person likes this
@psudera (90)
• India
15 Apr 07
dat was gud indeed. im surely gonna be forwarding it through mail. thanks.
1 person likes this
@maddysmommy (16233)
• United States
15 Apr 07
Got a little teary eyed there for a moment. Very moving story! I would definitely pass this on to all my friends and family! Thanks for sharing!
1 person likes this
@kishusia (1069)
• India
15 Apr 07
In a similar situation, I will like to be the pitcher. I am going to forward it. I am going to put it on my blog. I want everybody to read this story. Thanks for your post.
1 person likes this
@thess0312 (442)
• United States
15 Apr 07
Wow! This story was very touching. I would pass this along through email.
1 person likes this
@jamie622 (508)
• India
15 Apr 07
I am privileged to read the story . I have started crying and cannot write further !
@mansha (6301)
• India
15 Apr 07
As I read the story, a tear rolled down of my eyes. I could have said in the response that I cried but no I wiped the tear away and thought why did that made me cry. Was it the gesture of the boys, the humanity or shay's struggle. I was surprised by the answer I got, the hummane gesture made me cry. I asked myself further, why? we are human and someone else is being human so why should I cry and be so touched by a normal behavior. No but wait, I cried precisely because I did not think that it is a normal reacton. I and perhaps all of us believe that baseall playing teenage kids or any kids play to win and are rude to the point of being beastys. For the players only winning and loosing matters and nothing else. Thats what the normal perception is. So do we have a biased perception,my tears came because a yth was broke inside me. I realised that day not only shay but all the boys playing thier were heroes and winners. That thought made me cry and after that rest of the stuff was blurred while I read it. thanks for this story today you helped break a myth that I had and may be each of us have. A myth that we are no longer human and suddenly I realised we can be human just by making a choice.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
15 Apr 07
Darn it every time I read this I cry and now ya made me cry again. It is sad ahppy sentamental all in one I was so happy they let the little boy play and that he made a home run .With everyone cheering him on both sides now if the world could just be more like these kids that let Shay play we would have a wonderful world!
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Apr 07
So touching and so wonderful. That is what we need in life: solidarity Nobody shall be excluded because of his differences. That is the only way to show that we are still humane and concerned by others. I'll never forget this story And I wish the best for these parents.
1 person likes this
@GuateMom (1411)
• Canada
14 Apr 07
wow, what a great story. Usually you only hear about kids teasing each other. I used to work with several Down´s Syndrome children and one of them in particular was very aware of his condition. He wanted desperately to be normal and talked constantly about wanting to join the other children in their games and get a job. I remember the day he realized that he was never going to be allowed to drive a car. He cried and asked me, "Why am I so different?" So it is really special that those children let the other boy play, it really means so much to children to be accepted, disabled or not.
1 person likes this
@Stiletto (4584)
14 Apr 07
That's a lovely story - thanks for sharing it with us. I used to work with children and adults with learning difficulties so I'm aware of some of the challenges they face but I think the acceptance and understanding of others can make a huge difference to their lives.
1 person likes this
@cuterose (1698)
• India
14 Apr 07
thanks for sharing this lovely story. it was a touching story. i would definitely help shay to win the match. i'm a very sentimental person and have care for the physically challenged people. so, if i were in that match, i would have definitely made shay to win the match.
1 person likes this
@fpd1955 (2075)
• United States
14 Apr 07
I received this email sometime last year. I forwarded it to all the people in my address book. Several of them wrote me back and thanked me for the inspiring story. Too often we discredit our youth for being selfish, uncaring and just plain mean to other children, especially those with disabilities. Whether this story is based on truth or fiction, I do believe that there are children in this world that do behave in the same way. They do understand what this would mean to a boy as grievously handicapped as Shay. They understand that the game is meant to be fun, not all about winning. It is not until they get older, through the influence of adults, that they learn that winning is one of the most important things. It stops being fun, especially if you lose. It is a very touching story and shows that human nature in our children, if left alone to make the right choices, usually do. They understand kindness and are more apt to tolerate those different from theirselves.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Apr 07
Thank you so much for sharing this story. It definately touched my heart. I am the parent of a disabled child, physically and mentally and I hope that when the time comes that my little boy will be fortunate enough to come across ppl. like this. The world is a cruel place.We all have some sort of disability it just can't always be seen by the eye. I say to these ppl that the one you are ridiculing today just might be one of your children tomorrow. Then what ridiculing thing would you have to say? My choice would naturally be to forward this to my own mailbox.
@shadow9 (238)
• Romania
14 Apr 07
awesome story ... probably wasn't from my country:P this place is mostly horible ... but it's a nice story, il pass it along
1 person likes this
15 Apr 07
What a moving story. I needed a tissue. I work with children who have special needs and we are fortunate to have Shay Days every day. When the other children accept them into their play and naturally seem aware of what they can and cannot do, they bring an awareness that we all play a special part in each and everyones lifes. It is sad that the way children are treated reflects our society, as in the UK we are at the bottom of all the developed countries in caring for our children. Now that inclusion in schools has given all children the respect they deserve, hopefully the next generation will have many Shay Days when they have grown into considerate and thoughtful adults. I will definately pass this on.
• India
15 Apr 07
well i didnt read it...