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~~~~~~~ WITandWISDOM™ - May 31, 1999
The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement. - Charles Schwab
Source: Bits & Pieces, Copyright (c) Economic Press, Inc., www.epinc.com/
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
WORTH THE RISK?
A number of years ago (1983-1987), I had the opportunity to play the character of Ronald McDonald in Arizona and Southern California for McDonald's Corp. On "Ronald Day", once per month, we visited as many of the community hospitals as possible, bringing a little happiness into a place where no one ever looks forward to going.
The visits make a difference for children and adults who were experiencing some "down time". The warmth and gratification I would receive stayed with me for weeks. Everybody loved the project. There were two restrictions placed on me during a visit. First, I could not go anywhere without McDonald's personnel (my handlers) as well as hospital personnel. That way, if I were to walk into a room and frighten a child, there was someone there to address the issue immediately.
And second, I could not physically touch anyone within the hospital. They did not want me transferring germs from one patient to another. I understood why they had this "don't touch" rule, but I didn't like it. Breaking either of these rules, I was told, meant I could lose my job. Toward the end of my fourth year of "Ronald Days," as I was heading down a hallway on my way home, I heard a little voice. "Ronald, Ronald."
I stopped. The soft little voice was coming through a half-opened door. I pushed the door open and saw a young boy, about five years old, lying in his dad's arms, hooked up to more medical equipment than I had ever seen. Mom was on the other side, along with Grandma, Grandpa and a nurse tending to the equipment. I knew by the feeling in the room that the situation was grave.
I asked the little boy his name ---he told me it was Billy--- and I did a few simple magic tricks for him. As I stepped back to say goodbye, I asked Billy if there was anything else I could do for him. "Ronald, would you hold me?" Such a simple request. But what ran through my mind was that if I touched him, I could lose my job. So I told Billy I could not do that right now, but I suggested that he and I color a picture. Upon completing a wonderful piece of art that we were both very proud of, Billy again asked me to hold him.
By this time my heart was screaming "yes!" But my mind was screaming louder. "No! You are going to lose your job!" This second time that Billy asked me, I had to ponder why I could not grant the simple request of a little boy who probably would not be going home. "Hold me." It was such a simple request, and yet...I searched for any reasonable response that would allow me to leave. I could not find one. I realize that in this situation, losing my job may not be the disaster I feared. Was losing my job the worst thing in the world? Did I have enough self-belief that if I did lose my job, I would be able to pick up and start again? The answer was a "Yes!" So what was the risk?
Just that if I lost my job, it probably would not be long before I would lose my car, then my home...and to be honest with you, I really liked those things. But I realized that at the end of my life, the car would have no value and neither would the house. The only things that had steadfast value were experiences.
I reminded myself that the real reason I was there was to bring a little happiness to an unhappy environment, I realized that I really faced no risk at all...I sent Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa out of the room, and my two McDonald's escorts out to the van. The nurse tending the medical equipment stayed, but Billy asked her to stand and face the corner. Then I picked up this little wonder of a human being. He was so frail and so scared. We laughed and cried for 45 minutes, and talked about the things that worried him. Billy was afraid that his little brother might get lost coming home from kindergarten next year, without Billy to show him the way. He worried that his dog wouldn't get another bone because Billy had hidden the bones in the house before going back to the hospital, and now he couldn't remember where he put them.
These are problems to a little boy who knows he is not going home. On my way out of the room, with tear streaked makeup running down my neck, I gave Mom and Dad my real name and phone number (another automatic dismissal for Ronald McDonald, but I figured that I was gone and had nothing to lose), and said if there was anything the McDonald's Corporation or I could do, to give me a call and consider it done. Less than 48 hours later, I received a phone call from Billy's mom. She informed me that Billy had passed away.
She and her husband simply wanted to thank me for making a difference in their little boy's life. Billy's mom told me that shortly after I left the room, Billy looked at her and said, "Momma, I don't care anymore if I see Santa this year....because I was held by Ronald McDonald."
Sometimes we must do what is right for the moment, regardless of the perceived risk. Only experiences have value, and the one biggest reason people limit their experiences is because of the risk involved. For the record, McDonald's did find out about, but given the circumstances, permitted me to retain my job. I continued as Ronald for another year before leaving the corporation to share the story of Billy, and how important it is to take risks. - by Jeff McMullen
(John R. Echols III)
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
THINGS CHILDREN SAY:
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother," she asked "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, "Thou shall not kill."
(E-zine: KITTY'S DAILY MEWS http://www.katscratch.com)
The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer; she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, he's a doctor.'" A small voice, Johnny's, at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher . . . she's dead."
(E-zine: JOKE_A_WEEK http://www.onelist.com/viewarchive.cgi?listname=Joke_a_Week)
My wife is a teacher and one day a 2nd grader said he wished he was God. She asked him why. He said, "If I was God, I would be able to go into the girl's bathroom!"
Jim Rogers, PrayerWorks http://www.users.uswest.net/~jimrogers/
Pastor Filler was finishing his children's story this morning on the topic, "On your mark, Get ready, GO!" relating it to life as a race and pointing out that they, the children, were in the preparation stage. At the conclusion he asked, "When is our race over?"
One young child replied, "When the fat lady sings!"
- from March 7, 1999 Ather Church - First Christian - Massillon!
(Susie Buckey via E-zine: MONDAY FODDER Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
My kid was inmate of the month at the County Jail
Seen on the back of a biker's vest:
If you can read this, my wife fell off.
Remember folks: Stop lights timed for 35 mph are also timed for 70 mph.
Boldly going nowhere
(E-zine: JOKEBANK http://www2.dmci.net/users/comedy_connection/index.html)
Sandy knows the drill: "If you have to drill a hole in a plaster ceiling, place a paper plate over the drill bit before inserting it into the drill. The plaster will fall onto the plate instead of all over your face and floor." A plastic lid will work, too.
Edward's VCR is OK for Y2K: "Do not throw away your non-Y2K compatible VCR in 2000. Set it on 1972 instead, because the days will be the same." Editor's note: Not all VCRs will let you do this, but if yours does - go for it! Many people are planning to use this "roll back" trick as a quick fix for all sorts of things.
Here's a promising return: If you send a get-well card to someone at a hospital, put that person's return address (not yours) on the envelope. This way, if the card gets to the hospital after the person has already been discharged, it will be "returned" to his or her home.
The Learn Letter, Copyright 1999, Panmedia Corporation. All rights reserved. (