Thursday, March 09, 2006

may your day be a shay day

A friend forwarded me the following story:


Subject: 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 to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fund raising 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 if Shay could play, not expecting much. 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 put on a team shirt with a broad smile and his Father had 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 'cause 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 the other team 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 be able to 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, but 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 head of the first baseman, 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 ran that far but 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 second base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and 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 towardhome.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay" Shay reached third base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned 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
those watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, 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 and 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, NOW 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 think twice about sharing. 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 on your address list that 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 that opportunity to brighten the day of those with us the least able, 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,sunny today tomorrow & always!"


The problem that I have with the email is not really with the actual story- it is with the tone of the email. Whomever originated the story has decided how he or she wants you to think and to feel and personally- I feel manipulated. I also think that it is reprehensible to think that people who are born with disabilities or special needs are born only so that we "normal" people can feel good about ourselves for having gone out of our way a bit to "help" them have a moment of happiness in an otherwise crappy existence. How egotistical is that? While I realize that this story may or may not be true, the overall message is one of extreme hubris and a real "holier-than-thou" approach to pro-life. The footnote was the kicker. As if the entire story was not manipulative enough, the sender actually tries to guilt the reader into "doing the right thing" by forwarding this to others. I have nothing against clean entertainment but this is not my idea of uplifting. Maybe I am interpreting this entirely wrong- you tell me. I just felt that this story was extremely degrading and insulting to the millions of human beings on this planet who are different from those of us who don't have to struggle daily to live "normally." I also feel that this is an attempt to separate the "decent" people from the vulgar heathens. Personally, I identify with the heathens.

17 comments:

betmo said...

i got this response from a friend:

"I didn't see it that way at all. I took it as a "feel good story," then
deleted
it. I don't like those "chain mail" things where people try to play on
your
conscience and get you to forward it on. I just read, feel what I feel
about
the story and delete. If I want to share, fine...if not, I won't. No
harm
done."

mom2lez said...

I want to say that you are so negative to be able to put such a negative twist on such a nice story but when I read your entire comment, I TOTALLY agreed with you. Totally manipulative, and deeply offensive. Unfortunately I think we are an intelligent minority to see it for what it is because while I never forwarded this email, I received it about 6 times.

Anonymous said...

Well I myself have a physically and mentally challenged child and I think that you have completely missed the point of the story whether it be true or not. Most of us go through life in a very self-centered manner and don't even realize it. Who really knows why some people are put on this earth to live so different but the fact is, they do help us to see what we take for granted. Things that come so easy to most my son has had to fight for since the very day he was born. He has had several major surgeries and continues therapies on a weekly basis. So I think that point of the story was to stop and thnk about what you take for granted, appreciate it and to make a little time to help give a small piece of what we take for granted to those who could never have that little peice without our help. I believe this story is real because it shows a sense of understanding for what people like myself go through. Please try not to be so negative. Also just for the record, people like my son Aiden are very happy in general and they have a great excitement and interest for their life despite how different it may be. So don't feel bad for them, that is the insulting thing. Just accept them and love them. That is the best thing you can do for any fellow being, different or not.

betmo said...

as i stated in my original post- it isn't the story i have any issue with. criticism isn't mean- the bottom portion of the email is what i took issue with:

'AND, NOW 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 think twice about sharing. 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 on your address list that 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 that opportunity to brighten the day of those with us the least able, 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.'

it is clearly a manipulation to spread the email and we see this every day whether it be an email about folks with life challenges or attempting to guilt people into a false patriotism through stories about the troops in iraq not getting starbucks coffee or whatnot. most of these emails have been debunked- and most are simply manipulative. that doesn't negate the fact that you have an amazing son- it just means that someone was using folks like your son as a tool to manipulate emotions. and that's not only mean- it's sociopathic.

Anonymous said...

It is my feeling that you have missed the point. It's not to be analyzed but accepted. Grace is given all the time, it's our choice to accept it. What holds us back from accepting it? Fear plain and simple. This story and the circumstances by which it came to you have given you a new choice. Why are you so insulted and feel manipulated by dots on a computer screen? What are you lacking or need to address in your life to be comfortable with just getting a good feeling from a story true or not. What fears and truths must you face in your life? When your ready, we are here to help you is all we offer. Blessed day and hopes you take this opportunity as it's been given to you or a chance at grace.

betmo said...

i really don't know how else to say that i did not misunderstand the point of this post. it is a post that is meant to deliberately pull at your heartstrings. in and of itself, not a bad thing. my big problem is the manipulation behind the email. this isn't the only email like this- it happens to be the one i picked.

i don't accept things blindly. it is what has caused this once great country to decline overall with our reputation throughout the world- and most recently financially. i am not lacking anything in my life- i have a lovely home with a loving family and i have enough food to eat and clean water to drink. i do not need 'grace' or 'god' in my life in order to be a complete human being. so, i decline, respectfully, your offer of help.
what i would encourage anyone and everyone to do is to question everything. seek the truth and don't just accept things blindly. words and actions have been shown to be easily manipulated so please, seek the truth.

Anonymous said...

OK I accept your choice. My concern was "your" feeling of manipulation. My point is that if you criticize something, you open yourself up to criticism. Accept your choices and continue to be a "complete" human being. You have obviously felt strong on this subject enough to post and open this to discussion. As an outside point of view you do seem a bit defensive for a complete human being. I only share what works for me. GOD works for me and do not worry that you feel you do not need GOD to be complete. I accept GOD's grace and share as it is intended. The choice is always yours. Blessed day to you and yours.

betmo said...

i find it ironic that folks who believe in god always feel that folks like me are defensive when told we don't need your god to be complete. perhaps i am on the defensive because what i have seen over the last 8 years is an erosion of civil liberties and the attempt to convert all of america to christianity through manipulations, lies and outright theft. often, the folks who are in charge leading the charge- are christian leaders- dobson, hagee, parsley, falwell, etc. you can call my cynical for sure and i do admit to being defensive of the separation of church and state- absolutely. and i realize it comes off as harsh- but we are living in harsh times. this country was founded on individual freedoms- not group freedoms- civil liberties were built into the constitution for a reason- and separation of church and state and freedom to worship by non christians was guaranteed.

so, yes, this email and many like it are manipulations and as good as the message may or may not be- it gets lost in the ham handed attempt to tell people how they SHOULD feel. and that was the point of the original post almost 3 years ago now.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! It is refreshing to see you are atleast above the majority by thinking. I to feel very strongly about seperation between chuch and state and never once was that written or even implied in my response. I have no intentions in these writings to "CONVERT YOU YOU HEATHEN!!!" LOL I do not feel that way. i am all for freedom of individule choice. But if you accept that concept, then what must follow is personal responsibility for that choice, right or wrong. You talk about your rights to freedoms yet are feeling manipulated by others freedoms. Freedom is good as long as it doesn't bother you? Yes question everthing!!! But don't just bitch and moan, make change. An answer is easy. 2+2=5. 5 is an answer. 4 is a solution. Lead,follow or get out of the way. Make an impact, however small to this collective contiousness we call life and society. Stop feeling manipulated because the only one manipulating you is you. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME. A message, not a manipulation.

P.S. Anonomous only cause I didn't spend the time to create a screen name. I am Adrian

Anne said...

I found your page by chance - and yes, everytime I see those threats in the final lines of an email, I suspect it is a hoax... hence my google

However, what I generally do when faced with such emails is: If I like the story, I first edit it and remove the obligation of the recipient to send it on and then forward to my friends who I think might appreciate it.

However, if I think it is just a manipulative claptrap story (and yes there are many going around) I just delete it and save my friends the trouble.

Simple

Anonymous said...

Notice the snopes has 2 versions of the hoax email.

I like the way Hoaxer of this version felt like they should remove all the ethnic references out of the story and make it white and Christian. Also this version felt like it needed to KILL OFF the handicapped child!!

Also, i like how the moral of the story is that we should pity the handicapped and not let them reach any achievements on their own. As if reaching 100% actualization as a handicapped person is way too pathetic, but they only accomplish things if it is something "normal" people wish to accomplish--even if it is a cruel pity hoax.

Finally, there is this wonderful lie: "but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces."

As if HR departments don't let you talk about decent things in the workplace. It HAS to be about sex or sexual harassment or you can get written up. Pluhlease.

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

I saw your recent post today; then the reference to your 'first post', and had to take a peek.

While I don't know if the story you received in the e-mail was real, I do know REAL events in my own life, that exhibited this 'extension of good-will', to children I've worked with (most of them are autistic).

I also remember my youngest son (Kevin) being only 3, and wanting to play baseball when the other kids were 5, 12, and 13. I was also playing with them, and of course I stepped closer to the home-plate to lightly toss the ball to Kevin - he was the youngest.

Granted, none of the other 3 made any concessions because he was the youngest, but had he been handicapped, I wonder what they might have done - anything different????

If the story is contrived, then of course it's been done to show the understanding and compassion an opposing team had for this child - deciding that winning a single ball-game was much less important, than giving a young boy a chance to feel the joy of bringing the winning run in for the team.

I guess one has to ask: Is it worth throwing the game in favor of giving out that joyful memory, or is it important to play your best, and accept the fact that the father might have avoided placing his son on the team; putting him into this 'achieve or fail' situation.

Lots of thoughts can run through a person's head, but right now as I listen to Louie Armstrong sing, "What a Wonderful World", I'm realizing that there are always poems; songs - movies made, and news stories that reveal the kindness of humans.

Strangely, the next song on my play-list has started, and it's called 'Chariots of Fire'....ironic timing I think - all about the achievement of a man; a man running......

Again, the music is simple and glorious; heart-warming and emotional.

I love the good stories; as you said, the obscene jokes and material we too often receive, are tempered by the kind remarks and stories that are shared with one another.

I'll go for kind..........

fjb said...

So this is where it all began, eh.:)

I don't know how many times I've received this email in it's various forms over the years, but anything that has a threat or promise of "good" things coming to you if you forward it is treated with the utmost skepticism in my inbox, and deleted. My response to being manipulated, threatened or harangued is usually swift and permanent, and that goes for those damn "angel" chain mails, too.:)

I don't need to be reminded by others to be a decent human being, I just have to remember to remind myself whenever I feel the urge to reach out and throttle someone.:)

Jacinta said...

Why worry so much about the ending? Does it take away from the point of the story? Does it bother us to realize that many of us have been given so many blessings that we should remember to be kind to those who have less? Such simple acts of kindness can go a long long way for others. When you forward it just delete the ending and move on. The footnote is merely a challenge to stand up and be a better person today then you were yesterday. Feeling manipulated? Only if you can't handle the challenge. Seriously.

Louis said...

Snopes does not make a judgement about this one way or another but actually credits it to a story by
Rabbi Paysach Krohn in a work called Echoes of the Maggid. He claims that it is a true story told him by a close friend who is Shay's father.

Louis said...

By the way I also don't like these angel emails but think that the original story is true. I only passed on the original story with no request to pass it on.

Unknown said...

What a great story!

I hope it manipulates everyone to put others first. When you change the way you look at something, what you are looking at changes. That was by Wayne Dyer. The story is about putting others first. Not an easy thing to do.