Blind Courage: A Novella (Refining Fires Book 2)

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Warning: This story contains language and a potentially 'offensive stereotype' of visually impaired person that certain audiences may find objectionable. At the same time, the main message is uplifting and in major part offers an empowered and optimistic view of visual impairment. Nevertheless, be careful how you use this story. Alter the language appropriately where warranted, and if in doubt do not use the story at all. A blind visually impaired man had been waiting a while at a busy road for someone to offer to guide him across, when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

Apparently this is a true story. The first blind man was the jazz pianist George Shearing. He is quoted in Bartlett's Anecdotes as saying after the event, "What could I do? I took him across and it was the biggest thrill of my life. There are times when we think we cannot do something and so do not stretch or take a risk.

Being forced to stretch and take a risk can often help us to reduce our dependencies on others, or our own personal safety mechanisms , and to discover new excitement and capabilities. The poem Come to the Edge is another wonderful perspective on risk and stretching. The doctor prescribes him a course of tablets and says, "If you're not cured in a couple of weeks would you get me a widescreen television?

This is not a lesson of ideal behaviour, it's a humorous illustration of options - whether to try to change something, to accept it or to actively support it. Such decisions normally have two main reference points - the difficulty of the change, and the ethical implications of the situation. An old hill farming crofter trudges several miles through freezing snow to his local and very remote chapel for Sunday service.

No-one else is there, aside from the clergyman.

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So the clergyman, feeling somewhat ashamed, delivers his service - all the bells and whistles, hymns and readings, lasting a good couple of hours - finishing proudly with the fresh observation that no matter how small the need, our duty remains. And he thanks the old farmer for the lesson he has learned. From which we see the extra lesson, that while our duty remains regardless of the level of need, we have the additional responsibility to ensure that we adapt our delivery of whatever is our stock in trade according to the requirements of our audience.

Adapted from a suggestion from P Hallinger, and based apparently on a story told by Roland Barth, whom I assume to be the US educationalist.


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Thanks BC. Based on a letter published in the newspaper several years ago, written by the doctor. I suspect variations of this story have been told many times elsewhere too. And they'll include the curtains for an extra five thousand?.. Sure, why not? They're holding the price at twenty-two thousand?.. Sounds a bargain.. You want a fortnight?.. If that's what you want honey, okay by me.

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Seventy-five thousand if we say yes today? Sounds fair.. An elderly couple retired to the countryside - to a small isolated cottage overlooking some rugged and rocky heathland. One early morning the woman saw from her window a young man dressed in working clothes walking on the heath, about a hundred yards away. He was carrying a spade and a small case, and he disappeared from view behind a copse of trees.

The woman thought no more about it but around the same time the next day she saw the man again, carrying his spade and a small case, and again he disappeared behind the copse. The woman mentioned this to her husband, who said he was probably a farmer or gamekeeper setting traps, or performing some other country practice that would be perfectly normal, and so not to worry. However after several more sightings of the young man with the spade over the next two weeks the woman persuaded her husband to take a stroll - early, before the man tended to arrive - to the copse of trees to investigate what he was doing.

There they found a surprisingly long and deep trench, rough and uneven at one end, becoming much neater and tidier towards the other end. And the case - it's got my lunch in it. On hearing one of his students use the expression, "I don't know nothing about it The teacher explained, "In the English language a double negative makes the statement positive, so your assertion that you 'don't know nothing about it' is actually an admission that you do know something about it.

Encouraged by the interest in this revelation among certain class members, the teacher went on to demonstrate more of his knowledge of world languages: "Of course not all languages operate according to the same grammatical rules, for example, in Russian, a double negative remains negative, although perhaps surprisingly, there is not a single language anywhere in the world in which a double positive makes a negative..

This is adapted from a story sent to me by M Morris.

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Apparently the original story was based on a true incident at a Modern Language Association meeting in New York in the mid's, reported in the NY Times. The quick-witted response in the original story, actually "Yeah, yeah.. Thanks M Morris, Apr Given the title on the subject of buckets.. The story illustrates lateral thinking, narrow-mindedness, the risks of making assumptions, and judging people and situations:. Should I check when there's a bed free for you? The staff at an old people's home were puzzled when one of the residents began gargling with TCP.

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They asked her why but all she would say was that something had happened at the post-office. This is what actually occurred.


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She bought a stamp, and since there was a long queue behind her she stepped aside. She put her change in her purse, licked the stamp and put it on her letter. Despite pressing and thumping and licking it again, the stamp failed to stick. The old lady put on her spectacles, fiddled for a few seconds to peel off the backing paper - and then licked the stamp again. They are self-sticking. They save time.

They are already sticky. Thanks Stephen Rafe for the original tale from which the above was adapted. Stephen also provided another example of confused customer service communications, in which the customer was convinced for a while that the customer service person was somehow carrying on his work from inside prison, because the bad line was due to him speaking from his cell-phone..

By December more than 17, British troops were officially diagnosed as suffering from nervous or mental disability we'd say shell-shock or post-traumatic stress disorder these days , despite which the British military authorities continued to charge and convict sufferers with 'cowardice' and 'desertion', and to sentence to death by firing squad many of those found 'guilty'. On 16 August the British government announced that it would pardon British soldiers who were shot by firing squad for 'cowardice' and 'desertion' during the First World War of The decision was ratified by Parliament on 7 November , and represented a remarkable u-turn by this and previous governments who had always firmly refuted any evidence and justification for pardoning the victims.

This reversal followed and was largely due to decades of persistent lobbying and campaigning by organisations and individuals, many being families and descendents of the victims. It is not easy to imagine their suffering, especially of the widows and parents long since gone, for whom this decision came a lifetime too late. The story emphasises two things: first, that people in authority have a responsibility to behave with integrity. Second, that where people in authority fail to act with integrity, the persistence and determination of ordinary people will eventually force them to do so.

Here is more background about the Shot At Dawn campaign, and the history of this particularly shameful example of British institutional behaviour. It provides lessons to us all about doing the right thing, and calling to account those who do not. See the related discussion ideas for developing awareness and understanding of the issues and how they relate to us all. Some people will not agree with this interpretation. This makes it such an interesting subject for debate, especially in transferring the issues and principles to modern challenges in organisations, and the world beyond.

This is a true story. Some years ago a client engaged a consultant to help with a small postal mailing to the purchasing departments of blue chip corporations. The consultant sourced the list which was provided on MSExcel and drafted the letter. Thereafter the client was keen to take control of the project, ie.