Architects of a New Dawn

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Two Choices - What Would You Do? From Jerry Jampolsky

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, 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, who was mentally and physically disabled 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 I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my 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. I 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. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart..

The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eight 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 I 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 me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


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.

Would you have made the same choice?

May your day be a Shay Day.


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Amara, "tsunami of gratitude" says it well... I don't know how many times I've told the story, yet I get choked up every time. ...just thinking about those amazing kids and their collective support of one of their own.
stunning and beautiful. I am humbled and inspired..thank you.
Like energy....any kindness, no matter how small or insignificant or awkward or unsophisticated it may be, no matter how unrewarded or unacknowledged it goes, is never truly lost.....or unappreciated. Your soul KNOWS you bestowed that act of kindness.....and in the grand scheme of the universe...that is its own Shay reward.
a beautiful story from a beautiful soul. inspiring and helps one to to be more caring.. what counts is not that you hit the ball but that you tried to hit it... :)
this is a great story with a little love every one wins!!! Love is the key for the world love is hope!! Aprilji
love this story... happy shay day!
That was a terrific story and should be made into a video. Let's see now. This all started with a simple request. The recipient of the request could say yes or no but what he did was sort of a counter offer. He agreed but conditionally.
The conditions seemed reasonable to Dad the questioner and so the miracle began.
We hear all the time about parents fighting over games that their children are in and her we see the exact opposite.
To see what we have in common is a better road to travel than to dwell on what divides us.
Thank you for this wonderful story. I am working now with Pocono Equestrian that uses Horse Therapy with special needs children. We see miracles happen all the time. All of us were born to finish the job that God, Allah, Great Spirit started.
This is exactly what is needed in EVERY INTERACTION. If everyone of us bent over backwards to make the other win we would have a world turned inside out and UpsideRight! The Native American's who inherited this land had a word for it - it's called "Potlatch." The ancient practice of giving away as much as you can in order to "win" but rather, to "honor" was the way of our ancestors (at least for North Amerika). . . . let's think about this or rather let's "feel around this." S(he) who gives away the most, has the most to gain. This can be in any act of kindness as demonstrated in this story of Shay. It was a give away - so that something greater is offered. Winning is something that we all have to look at now as we all, on Planet Earth find ourselves losing........losing our land, our home, our air, our water and our Soul. It is all dissolving now in a slow but steady drip method of silent loss that is gripping our lives. What will it take for us to turn this around? Will it be a loss so great that everyone, everywhere decides simultaneously that they want to make a shift? When will that occur? Will it be too late? Will it come when all else has been tried and we find ourselves dying to understand this simple truth? Or will figure it out in time and let the "least of us" win by ensuring their victory? That is the question. Where are you each and every moment you have a chance to make the "little person" win? Can you put another before you and find that soft spot inside your heart that feels good when another goes first and you are the one willing to make way for their victory? Will WE collectively figure this TRUTH before it's too late? How much Time is there for us to regain the WISDOM OF OUR FORE-MOTHERS & FATHERS........the indigenous elders of Turtle Island - the Wisdom Keepers known as the Native Americans? How much time do we have left to realize this precious TRUTH?
It seems as if an unspoken agreement had passed between them to put their egos aside to make it Shay's Day. This is quite something.

What had those kids tapped into or what had affected the moment so that they would put aside the traditional aspirations of winning the game? Instead, they chose another and infinitely better outcome. They won a Bigger Game.
Thank you Jerry for sharing the inspiring and educating story about our son Shay.

For almost two decades I supported children/teens/adults with cognitive and physical disabilities! This experience showed me the simplicity of love for everyone no matter what their ability or race.

On my page I have clips from a video I created called "What Is Normal?".

Mary Jo
This is an unforgettable story. it touches one's heart. But Shay was lucky enough of being shown the spirit of love and humanity by the people around him. And this has happened to anyone in a different level, time, places or situation... the only thing that differ is that not at all had been given a chance for the spirit of love and humanity specially in the world of politics and corruption.
narciso favores escala said:
This is an unforgettable story. it touches one's heart. But Shay was lucky enough of being shown the spirit of love and humanity by the people around him. And this has happened to anyone in a different level, time, places or situation... the only thing that differ is that not at all had been given a chance for the spirit of love and humanity specially in the world of politics and corruption.

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