You are reading the archives for October 2010.

The Donkey and the Farmer

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried
piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.
Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be
covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He
invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a
shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey
realized what was happening and cried
horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He
was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his
back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and
take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on
top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty
soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the
well and happily trotted off!!!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to
getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of
our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells
just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.
Remember the five simple rules to be happy: Free your heart from hatred –
Forgive,,,Free your mind from worries – Most never happen,,,Live simply
and appreciate what you have,,,Give more. Expect less,,,

The Cellphone Story

Several men were in a golf club locker room.

A cellphone rings.

“Yes I can talk,” says the man answering the call, “You’re shopping are you? That’s nice.”

The listening men smile to each other.

“You want to order those new carpets? Okay.. And they’ll include the curtains for an extra five thousand?.. Sure, why not?”

More smiles among the listeners.

“You want to book that week on Necker Island?.. 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.”

Smiles turn to expressions of mild envy.

“And you want to give the builder the go-ahead for the new conservatory? Seventy-five thousand if we say yes today? Sounds fair.. sure, that’s fine.”

The listeners exchange glances of amazement.

“Okay sugar, see you later.. Yes, love you too,” says the man, ending the call.

He looks at the other men and says, “Whose phone is this anyhow?..”

The Elderly Lady and the Hearing Aid

An old lady had a hearing-aid fitted, hidden underneath her hair.

A week later she returned to the doctor for her check-up.

“It’s wonderful – I can hear everything now,” she reported very happily to the doctor.

“And is your family pleased too?” asked the doctor.

“Oh I haven’t told them yet,” said the old lady, “And I’ve changed my will twice already..”

The Preacher and the Farmer

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.

“I’m not sure it’s worth proceeding with the service – might we do better to go back to our warm homes and a hot drink?..” asks the clergyman, inviting a mutually helpful reaction from his audience of one.

“Well, I’m just a simple farmer,” says the old crofter, “But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don’t leave it hungry.”

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.

“Was that okay?” asks the clergyman, as the two set off home.

“Well I’m just a simple farmer,” says the old crofter, “But when I go to feed my herd, and if only one beast turns up, I sure don’t force it to eat what I brought for the whole herd…”

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.

Another application is the fact that not all that is in our brain must come out of our mouth.


IF

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

The Serenity Prayer

The ‘Serenity Prayer’ is powerful statement of personal philosophy for our times.

Reinhold Niebuhr

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” (Written in 1934 by Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971, US theologian, writer and teacher.)

Paraphrased versions have been developed to appeal to a modern audience:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (Using “God,” at the beginning, and whether to refer to the quote as a prayer I’d say are optional depending on your audience – it’s the philosophy that’s important, not whether it’s attached to a particular religion..)

Come to the Edge – Poem

  ~ Come to the Edge ~Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them and they flew.

 Guillaume Apollinaire (French Poet)

The Blind Men and the Road

A blind 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.

“Excuse me,” said the tapper, “I’m blind – would you mind guiding me across the road?”

The first blind man took the arm of the second blind man, and they both crossed the road.

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 Soldiers and the Trench

The story goes that sometime, close to a battlefield over 200 years ago, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of exhausted battle-weary soldiers digging an obviously important defensive position. The section leader, making no effort to help, was shouting orders, threatening punishment if the work was not completed within the hour.

“Why are you are not helping?” asked the stranger on horseback.

“I am in charge. The men do as I tell them,” said the section leader, adding, “Help them yourself if you feel strongly about it.”

To the section leader’s surprise the stranger dismounted and helped the men until the job was finished.

Before leaving the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the puzzled section leader.

“You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men – and I will provide a more permanent solution,” said the stranger.

Up close, the section leader now recognized General Washington, and also the lesson he’d just been taught.

(This story is allegedly based on truth. The story’s message is more important than its historical accuracy.)

The Trench-Digger Story

This is adapted from (apparently) a true story.

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.

“How strange,” the old lady said, “Why dig a trench here – and in such difficult rocky ground?” and her husband agreed.

Just then the young man appeared – earlier than his usual time.

“You’re early,” said the old woman, making light of their obvious curiosity, “We wondered what you were doing – and we also wondered what was in the case.”

“I’m digging a trench,” said the man, who continued, realising a bigger explanation was appropriate, “I’m actually learning how to dig a good trench, because the job I’m being interviewed for later today says that experience is essential – so I’m getting the experience. And the case – it’s got my lunch in it.”

He got the job.