Wednesday, 31 August 2011

'I Wanna Tell You a Story.'

All those years ago, when I was a secondary school teacher, part of the job entailed taking regular year assemblies. (400-500 children, 11-18 years old in front of you for 15-20 minutes. ) Giving a 'speel' of a roughly moral/religious nature to a half awake, captive, not over interested audience at the beginning of a school day believe me is not for the faint hearted. (Very occasionally you had no warning it was your turn. Now they were really interesting!) If you can do that I reckon you can do almost anything.
You used all sorts of sources; you could read from a book but that never went down too well. I tended to 'specialise' in animal stories! I always was a bit daft, nay eccentric. I once told a story about my dog. I told my audience I took it for a walk every day, except when it rained. On those occasions my wife took it! It was a joke, honest. But I had pupils talk to me many, many years later who remembered this story! It taught me the power we had as teachers and how we need to be careful at times what we say to others.
I came across a story the other day that would have been a gift in my teaching days. Hope you like it. (from the delightful website of Will and Guy. Well worth a visit.)

Two Men in a Hospital Ward
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all of his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it, in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.


Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

The very best of Human nature. Thank you for this story Ken.

Valerie said...

The power of words. How wonderful. Thanks for posting this, Ken.

quilterliz said...

G'day Ken. That is a lovely story.. Take care. Liz...

Freda said...

This tells us such a lot about the human spirit.

Anonymous said...

I was touched by this...something in it resonated with me...and I was surprised by the ending...thanks for posting this.

Shammickite said...

WOW, marvellous story. Thanks for writing it all down. I'll remember it for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so sweet :)

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Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi everyone
It all suggests we don't need trauma, or at least not all of the time.

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