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Article 6

Article 1 - Article  2 - Article  3 - Article  4 - Article  5 - Article  6 - Article  7 - Article  8 - Article  9 - Article 10

Article 11 - Article 12 - Article 13 - Article 14 - Article 15

 

Sweet Dreams Baby Jacob and Baby Anna Dolls by Ashton Drake

 

 

"As we grow up we learn to believe some things and not believe others. What  we believe determines how we act. If our parents ignore us when we are  children and we only experience bad things, we learn to believe the world is not a  good place and we get angry and we do things that cause problems and get us into  trouble. If we are well cared for and feel safe, we think the world is a good  place, do good things, and we are happier. The world we see is really a  mirror of what we believe about it. But, if we find somebody who is not happy and  not doing well, it is best if we help them. Then they will help someone else  who will help someone else. Then, the whole world becomes a better place."  -the Author


MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL...
by Baryy Wolfer

Two mothers who had just given birth stood outside a glass wall in the  hospital. Behind the glass, a nurse lifted their two brand new baby boys. 

One, Todd, went home to a wonderful house. Relatives were there and each held  him lovingly, caringly, with great joy. As Todd slowly grew, his parents  showed him great affection, nurtured him daily, paid close attention to his needs  for food and sleep. Although he was too young to express it, he always felt  safe, secure, and cared for. 

His parents watched his growing emotional needs. They saw that at times he  needed help and closeness and at other times to be on his own and discover  things by himself. They helped him develop his capacities to play in different  ways, alone and with other children and to find out how to have fun with other  kids. His relatives always noticed and complemented him on every new thing he  conquered. 

As he grew, his parents provide him with many different experiences, toys, and games that helped him learn. He became aware of what he could do and not yet  do. His parents read to him; they encouraged him to talk and tell them what  he thought; they asked him many questions that help him think. They treated him  with great respect, as his own special person. He learned how to control  himself, he felt confident to try new things, to take chances, to know that he  could not always do them at first, but could learn if he patiently kept at it. He  absorbed the feeling that his parents just naturally expected that he would  be a wonderful boy who could do whatever he set his mind to. He had the sense that his life was an adventure in which there was something always bigger than  him within which he lived and provided a sense of place and meaning. 

The other child, Rob, went home to a confused, tormented situation. No one  was there to greet him. His father was little interested in him. His mother did  not often hold him. She fed him when she felt like it. She reluctantly got up  in the middle of the night to change his diaper. His father just told him to  shut up when he cried. He was left alone a lot, with few toys and games. His  parents argued. His life was always unsettled and he never really had the sense  of being safe and secure. He was antsy and uncomfortable. No one helped him  learn to talk or cheered when he stood up or took his first steps. He was not  encouraged to tell his parents what he thought; his feelings were not really  important to them or anyone; no one read much to him; he was left in front of  their TV hour and after hour to learn from that. He was not valued as his own  person, but looked at as an object. Not much was expected of him, and he grew up  with the sense that he could not really control much, that his destiny was not  in his own hands but more a matter of fate. He encountered no warm sense that 
there was anything that gave his life meaning and purpose. 

When the boys started school, Todd was a wonderful student and fine athlete.  His friends were creative, engaged kids exploring their world and having fun.  On the other hand, Rob did not have much interest in learning or in playing  the ordinary games of baseball, soccer, or basketball. He was confused by it  all, did not see how it applied to him, and his friends were about the same. 

Todd learned to read early, and well. His parents took him to museums,  ballgames, held parties with friends. On the other hand, Rob was slow in school; his  parents did not take him anywhere or encourage him to do anything. 

While Todd and his friends were comfortable and safe in their worlds, Rob and  his friends were not. In many ways they were angry that the world they saw  out there and on TV was not the world they lived in. Inside, they felt cheated  and desolate. The attention they got at home was hurtful. And because they did  not do well at school, what attention they got there was the same. Although  they could not explain what was happening, they started to create a world of  their own, with its own meanings. 

Because they did not fit in, they felt powerless. People treated them as  misfits. Teachers were leery of them, storeowners looked down on them, people  tended to avoid them. This all made it worse and drove them deeper into their own  created worlds. 

To get what they wanted and what they believed they could not get from  society, they began to steal. At first they took little things, gum and candy, then  bigger things. This helped them feel more powerful and it provided a distorted  meaning to their lives. 

They began to skip school. The police became suspicious. They were suspended,  reinstated, and watched carefully. By now, they were labeled hoods, outcasts,  and at-risk youth. 

One year, Todd and Rob were in the same class. They hardly knew each other  and never talked. The teacher had a list of everyoneís birthday and, in the  morning, announced any that day. Everyone would then wish the birthday child a  great day. On their day, Todd and Rob became aware they had the same birthday. 

Todd approached Rob and said, "Hey, isnít it neat we have the same birthday?" 

Rob who felt quite inferior to Todd but acted tough to cover up his  insecurities answered, "Big flippiní deal." 

Todd persisted and said, "I was born in Deerwood Hospital". 

Rob, who just wanted out of the conversation, blurted back, "Yeah, me too. 
See ya." 

When Todd got home, he told his mother that there was someone in his class who was born on the same day in Deerwood Hospital. His mother thought a bit and 
remembered the woman she met at the glass wall that day. She was excited and 
said, "Why donít you invite him over?" 

Todd thought a minute and said, "I donít know mom, heís kinda different." 

"What do you mean?" 

"Well, he is just kind of a hood." 

"What does he do?í 

"He got suspended. The guys he hangs around with steal stuff." 

"Oh, that is too bad. Maybe he needs some help." 

"What do you mean?í 

"Kids who do that do not feel good about themselves." Toddís mother recalled  that the woman in the hospital looked drawn and worried and not that excited  about her new son. 

"Why donít they feel good about themselves?" 

Toddís mother thought a minute and said, "Many reasons. Sometimes their  parents do not really want them. Sometimes they are busy with too many other  concerns. Sometimes they do not know how to take care of a child. And then the child  does not grow up feeling good about himself." 

"He seems like a smart kid, but he does not do well in school and never plays  with us." 

"Maybe you can help him." 

"How?í 

"Just try to make friends with him. See what happens." 

"OK, mom. Iíll try, but he doesnít seem very friendly." 

The next day Todd approach Rob again and said, "Hey we have the same birthday, born in the same place, letís be friends." 

Rob looked at him like he was nuts. Nonetheless, there was something in Rob  that melted just a bit. This kid wanted to be friends? But all he could manage  to say was, "Bug off, buddy." 

"Come on, letís eat lunch together and talk about stuff." 

By now, Rob was confused. Why is this guy asking ME to be friends? What does he really want? "Forget it, man. Get off it." 

"Oh come on, Rob." 

Rob mostly wanted him to get lost. But there was a part of him that didnít. 
So, eventually he said, "OK, OK. If you want. Gees." 

At lunch, Robís buddies saw him sitting with Todd and wondered what in the  world was going on. What was he up to? Rob saw them staring at him and was quite  uncomfortable. 

Todd started to ask him what he liked to do. Rob looked a bit disgusted and  said, "Not much. Hang out." 

Todd told him about some of his after school activities and asked Rob if he  would like to go along. Rob thought there is no way, looked defiant, then  looked toward the floor, and sunk down in his seat. Finally, Todd asked him if he  was interested in joining his Little League team. Tryouts and practices were  going to start next week. Rob answered, "Hey man, I ainít even got a glove." 

"Iíll loan you one of mine. Iíve got two. Why donít you come over after  school and weíll practice a little. Come on." 

"I canít." 

"Why not?" 

"Gotta go to...." His voice trailed off so Todd could not hear him. Rob  really had nowhere to go. 

"How Ďbout tomorrow?" 

Rob kind of secretly wanted to do this. Something inside him was excited. 
But, he had been disappointed so many times. He told himself, "donít do this." 
Todd said, "Tomorrow then." 

Rob caved in, "OK. OK. Gees." 

"Great." 

After school the next day, Rob walked home with Todd. He saw Toddís house and  slumped. "What am I doing here?", he asked himself. 

They went in, Todd got his gloves, and they started tossing a ball around. 
Todd quickly realized Rob could hardly catch and throw. Todd was very patient  with him and told him to keep his eye on the ball to catch it and to look just  where he wanted to throw it. They got a bat and Todd pitched to him. Rob just  swung wildly. Again, Todd told him to keep his eye on the ball and swing the  bat level. Todd realized that Rob could not field a grounder. The ball would go  right through his legs. Todd taught him how to bend from the knees and get the glove down. After a bit, Rob was doing better. 

In succeeding days, their friendship grew a little. Todd found he sort of  liked Rob. Rob, while he was still leery, felt something good inside that he had  never felt before. He did not really think he could ever belong the way Todd  did, but something felt good. Todd started talking to him about what they  learned in school. Rob thought school was a total drag and didnít want to get into  that stuff. But gradually, because he found something good in his budding  friendship with Todd, he started to pay a little more attention to school. 

Rob friends wondered. They could not figure this out. Rob started to talk to  them about some of what he was discovering. His friends felt hopeless, that  they could ever fit in. They werenít even interested. All they had ever  encountered in their families and neighborhoods was pain and disappointment. But, when  Rob started to pay a little more attention in school, he started to realize  that, in return, his teachers and everyone else at the school acted better  toward him. He told this to his friends, encouraged them when they were skeptical,  and they started to pay a little more attention. When they went home, they  still had problems and were not supported in any newfound interests, but they  slowly realized that they could pay more attention in school and do a little  better anyway. They could start to see the barest glimmer of hope for their  future where before, they saw virtually none. 

Rob got to meet Toddís parents. At first, he did not know what to do and was  embarrassed. But, Toddís parents seemed to like him, in a way that even  surprised Todd. There was an attraction, some kind of bonding. Todd felt it was  because of his same birth date. His parents asked Rob questions, learned not to  ask certain things, but found ways to bolster him. Rob started looking at Toddís  house as a kind a refuge, a home away from home. He was still scared, but  something was working. Something felt good. Toddís parents welcomed him fully,  were drawn to him, and continued to encourage Todd to be his friend. 

Then, Todd started to bring Rob into his circle of friends. Some of them  rejected him. But Todd was seeing that he was having a good effect on Rob. They  were having fun. Rob was changing in many ways. And remarkably, Rob was also  having a good effect on his friends. 

When Todd talked about all this to his parents, his father said, "Son, when  you reach out in friendship to somebody, something good happens. When you see  somebody who can use a little help, if you help them, the world becomes a  better place. You know there are a great many unhappy people with many problems. We  tend to judge people and write them off if they arenít just like us. But that  just divides everybody, makes them mad, and causes problems. If we all care  about and help each other, nobody gets mad and we all become happier. What you  are doing with Rob is helping you both grow into better people. I am very  proud of you." 

One day, Todd learned about genetics in class. The teacher was quite  insistent that our genes determined everything about us. After class, Rob told Todd  that he thought he must have really bad genes. That was why he had so many  problems. Todd did not know what to say. 

At dinner, Todd told his parents what he had learned and asked if Rob had  more problems because his genes were not good. Toddís mother answered, "Genes for 
sure determine what we looked like, the color of our eyes, the color of our  hair, whether it is straight or curly, how tall we are, all of that. But, a  whole lot of the way we are and how happy we are is determined by how we grow up,  our experiences in our families, schools, and neighborhoods." 

His father added, "As we grow up we learn to believe some things and not  believe others. What we believe determines how we act. If our parents ignore us  when we are children and we only experience bad things, we learn to believe the  world is not a good place and we get angry and we do things that cause  problems and get us into trouble. If we are well cared for and feel safe, we think  the world is a good place, do good things, and we are happier. The world we see  is really a mirror of what we believe about it. But, if we find somebody who  is not happy and not doing well, it is best if we help them. Then they will  help someone else who will help someone else. Then, the whole world becomes a  better place." 

Todd told Rob what he had learned about genes and other effects on how we  were and that it is not all genes. Rob only half believed him. But, Todd and Rob  continued to hang out, Rob continued to do better, and he became increasingly  hopeful. Also, Robís friends did increasingly better. They were no longer  interested in stealing. They saw that, just maybe, if they tried hard they could  learn and build good lives for themselves. Rob talked to them about not being  brought down by their families. Rob was becoming a leader. 

Todd, seeing what was going on, began to realize how, because he tried to be  friends with Rob, who everybody thought was a hopeless hood, from that one  good thing a lot of peopleís lives were being affected. Toddís friends began to  see this too. Toddís mother saw it, and her eyes filled with tears. She told  her son over and over how terrific he was. Todd told Rob how terrific he was.  And Rob began to tell his friends how terrific they could be. 

One day, some older biology students were doing a class project that involved  determining peopleís blood types. They had learned that there were four blood  groups, something called an Rh factor, somebodyís blood type was inherited  from their parents, and there was a way to figure out what type somebodyís blood  type was. Under the supervision of the biology teacher, they asked for  volunteers. Todd and Rob volunteered and watched what the older students did. 

When Todd got home, he told his mother about the blood typing. Interested,  she asked what his was. When he told her, she looked a little strange. After  all, she knew her blood type and Toddís fatherís. She figured they probably got  it wrong. Then, Todd told her Robís blood type. 

In a moment, Toddís mother seemed to freeze. Then, she turned ashen. She  managed to mumble something to Todd, went to her bedroom, sat down, and was  dumbstruck by the implications. Somehow, she managed to hold herself together until 
Toddís father got home. In tears, she told him all she knew and what she  thought might be true. Toddís father sat down, bent over, and held his head in his  hands. "Oh, my God. Oh, my God." 

For days, they talked about what to do. Should they do anything? 

As they debated and debated, they realized what had been happening between  Todd and Rob. And they saw with a clarity they could never have imagined before  how incredibly important it is to nurture every child with total love, and  what a difference it makes. They also began to realize in a new way that, only  when parents learn to love everyone, every child as their own, would the world  be a better place. They realized that, no matter what they decided to do, or  not do in the situation they now found themselves, a parentís own child is  really a child of God, whatever in the end has made all of us. That had to be the  true Parent of us all, and human parents were really just important caretakers  of childrenís lives who had been entrusted to them. 

As a feeling that their love should also actually extend to all the children  on earth welled up in them, Toddís parents realized as well that, in his own  way, Todd had remarkably learned how every other child is his brother or  sister. 

Barry Wolfer 

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