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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This is an incredible story. I've shed a few morning tears for the brightness of humanity. May everyone have a Shay Day.
I'm going to bake cookies at Kids Unlimited today and I'm going to keep my mind and my heart open. I toast my cup of coffee, here's to having a Shay Day!
Love, Erin
Wonderful story... happy tears.
I have never read anything this inspiring. On Sunday I was on my knees crying, because I had a moment of reality. I don't cry much. I am a bit of a hard person to deal with at times. My moment of reality was that I have never had the connection to family that most people that I've known have had. I won't go into too much detail, but I was adopted and I've had 8 different parents, all together. So I came out a bit sharp around the edges. But that was why I was weeping so much this past Sunday, because I had never felt that connection and I knew it until I was 24. I met my wife and her family. They treat me like I'm their son. My daughter, who is half dominican, and only mine by marriage won't ever have to deal with that. I made a big decision to not have her call me by that whole step father routine, because I want her to have that close tie to her father, me. but thank you for sharing this story with me. It reminded me that I can cry even during happy times, too. I shed a tear for Shay. Happy Shay Day every day.
Every Soul is grand, incredible, and a part of the wholeness of life. We are all perfect, Shay too; I hope we all can remember that next time we look on another with pity - especially if it is our own Self we see/judge that way.
In the words of a favorite song "once in a while you can get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right." Thank you for the inspirational story, through Shays story, the Light is Dawning.

May Shay be blessed wherever his consciousness is now, and may we all be blessed as well.
That was absolutely amazing...I haven't cried in a while but i'm definitely shedding some happy tears.
Hi everybody and to all the members of AOAND i can really relate to Shay because i have learning Disability my self i went throug everything that shay went through and it was really though at 1st even my parents was shock when they found on that i have learning disability and thers nothing they can do but to accept me for me. it was hard for me to accept it at 1st i cried because sometimes i feel im a burdin to my family instead of me taking care of them they have to take care of me so i know hard it is to have a learning disbility. I dont know maybe i dont concentrate and i loose concentration or i dont pay attention im 31 and cant even drive so yeap its a challenge for me. Dispite of everything thats been happening to be i became more positive and i said to my self i can do this if anybody can do it i can do it too i just have to focus someday i wana be able to drive without anybody driving me and i wana learn to be independent i cant alwas depend on my parents. I'm like shay i cannot understand somethings that some kids do and thats life. the Speech that shays dad made was amazing as i read it on this site i started tearing up and cried a little because I know how his dad feels to his son shay. Shay reminds me of me.

All i can say to those people and parents who have a child or a family member that have a learning disabilty love them no matter what because their speacial they need a care of a family parents and a love ones who can care and love them for who they are.

To Shays dad you did a great job telling a ausome story about your son and his story about the baseball and then winnning of the team his a hero because of them and his a hero to you and your a hero to him. your a hero because you loved your son for what he is no matter what disabilty you still loved him and i admire ya for that

take care evrybody

god bless all

much luv to all you guys
mike AOAND member
Thank you, and congratulations to the players that day and their parents, particularly their parents who raised children capable of compassion so early on, a behavior so many people unfortunately never know, or only find out about much later in life. It takes a big heart to be that way and too often that is confused with weakness, or jealously labeled as weak or wrong.

I hope Shay is remembered there, and everywhere, always.
Thank's for sharing such a poignant story. I can't comment on something that said it all!!! Much love.
When we leave this earth, it will be those sparks of love and humanity that are our legacy. They live on in our hearts and minds, putting a smile on a face and reminding us what is important in life. May all our days be Shay days.
Not to take anything away from this wonderfully inspiring story, but I'm reminded of my cousin's daughter who got cancer at 13. Following her recovery, she was set to return to school, but was apprehensive about going to school with a bald head. She bravely went to school anyway and when she arrived, saw that every student in the school had shaved their heads.
I'd heard the Shay story before, and it still brought tears to my eyes to read it again ~ but yours, Jeanne, because I actually know you, thanks to AOAND ~ yours flooded my soul with a tsunami of gratitude for what's possible when we live only Love. Thank you! And I am so glad your young cousin is well now. 13, yes: sacred number of transformation ~ and how!

Jeanne said:
Not to take anything away from this wonderfully inspiring story, but I'm reminded of my cousin's daughter who got cancer at 13. Following her recovery, she was set to return to school, but was apprehensive about going to school with a bald head. She bravely went to school anyway and when she arrived, saw that every student in the school had shaved their heads.

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