Re: [MOL] Thursday Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul [01864] Medicine On Line


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Re: [MOL] Thursday Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul



Dear Marty, I really enjoyed the story of Mr.. Washington.  It is so true.  When people are labeled, they tend to follow the label whether good or bad.  I prefer the good.  When I first started having symptoms of my colon cancer, I was told it was from stress.  I suffer from chronic depression from a chemical imbalance, I was working in a trauma center in the 80's and was hospitalized twice for stress related depression.  I am sharing this only to let everyone know, that I was not taken seriously when my symptoms started and because I was brain washed into believing that all my symptoms were somatic, I believed them also.  I did have some testing, a flex-sig and an air contrast BE which were negative.  A year later, I ended up in the emergency room with a bowel obstruction.. Today, I don't let anyone label me.
Gail Estes    Ps thanks for listening.

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Auslander <fitecancer@earthlink.net>
To: Medical On Line Forum <mol-cancer@lists.meds.com>; Carol Sloan <Belovd@aol.com>; Lillian <firefly@islc.net>; Carla/Ken Naehring <blessu@worldnet.att.net>; Nancy Postema <NLPOST@aol.com>; John Lehner <lehnerj1@ix.netcom.com>; John Lehner <lehnerj1@juno.com>; Bonnie Cohn <Edcohn@aol.com>; Eric and Mary Gurien <e-mgurien@webtv.net>
Date: Thursday, October 22, 1998 6:54 AM
Subject: [MOL] Thursday Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul


Mr. Washington
   
       One day in 11th grade, I went into a classroom to wait for a 
  friend of mine. When I went into the room, the teacher, Mr. 
  Washington, suddenly appeared and asked me to go to the board to 
  write something, to work something out. I told him that I 
  couldn’t do it. And he said, “Why not?”
       I said, “Because I’m not one of your students.”
       He said, “It doesn’t matter. Go to the board anyhow.”
       I said, “I can’t do that.”
       He said, “Why not?”
       And I paused because I was somewhat embarrassed. I said, 
  “Because I’m Educable Mentally Retarded.”
       He came from behind his desk and he looked at me and he 
  said, “Don’t ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does 
  not have to become your reality.”
       It was a very liberating moment for me. On one hand, I was 
  humiliated because the other students laughed at me. They knew 
  that I was in Special Education. But on the other hand, I was 
  liberated because he began to bring to my attention that I did 
  not have to live within the context of what another person’s view 
  of me was.
       And so Mr. Washington became my mentor. Prior to this 
  experience, I had failed twice in school. I was identified as 
  Educable Mentally Retarded in the fifth grade, was put back from 
  the fifth grade into the fourth grade, and failed again, when I 
  was in the eighth grade. So this person made a dramatic 
  difference in my life.
       I always say that he operates in the consciousness of 
  Goethe, who said, “Look at a man the way that he is, he only 
  becomes worse. But look at him as if he were what he could be, 
  and then he becomes what he should be.” Like Calvin Lloyd, Mr. 
  Washington believed that “Nobody rises to low expectations.” This 
  man always gave students the feeling that he had high 
  expectations for them and we strove, all of the students strove, 
  to live up to what those expectations were.
       One day, when I was still a junior, I heard him giving a 
  speech to some graduating seniors. He said to them, “You have 
  greatness within you. You have something special. If just one of 
  you can get a glimpse of a larger vision of yourself, of who you 
  really are, of what it is you bring to the planet, of your 
  specialness, then in a historical context, the world will never 
  be the same again. You can make your parents proud. You can make 
  your school proud. You can make your community proud. You can 
  touch millions of people’s lives.” He was talking to the seniors, 
  but it seemed like that speech was for me.
       I remember when they gave him a standing ovation. 
  Afterwards, I caught up to him in the parking lot and I said, 
  “Mr. Washington, do you remember me? I was in the auditorium when 
  you were talking to the seniors.”
       He said, “What were you doing there? You are a junior.”
       I said, “I know. But that speech you were giving, I heard 
  your voice coming through the auditorium doors. That speech was 
  for me, Sir. You said they had greatness within them. I was in 
  that auditorium. Is there greatness within me, Sir?”
       He said, “Yes, Mr. Brown.”
       “But what about the fact that I failed English and math and 
  history, and I’m going to have to go to summer school. What about 
  that, Sir? I’m slower than most kids. I’m not as smart as my 
  brother or my sister who’s going to the University of Miami.”
       “It doesn’t matter. It just means that you have to work 
  harder. Your grades don’t determine who you are or what you can 
  produce in your life.”
       “I want to buy my mother a home.”
       “It’s possible, Mr. Brown. You can do that.” And he turned 
  to walk away again.
       “Mr. Washington?”
       “What do you want now?”
       “Uh, I’m the one, Sir. You remember me, remember my name. 
  One day you’re gonna hear it. I’m gonna make you proud. I’m the 
  one, Sir.”
       School was a real struggle for me. I was passed from one 
  grade to another because I was not a bad kid. I was a nice kid; I 
  was a fun kid. I made people laugh. I was polite. I was 
  respectful. So teachers would pass me on, which was not helpful 
  to me. But Mr. Washington made demands on me. He made me 
  accountable. But he enabled me to believe that I could handle it, 
  that I could do it.
       He became my instructor my senior year, even though I was 
  Special Education. Normally, Special Ed students don’t take 
  Speech and Drama, but they made special provisions for me to be 
  with him. The principal realized the kind of bonding that had 
  taken place and the impact that he’d made on me because I had 
  begun to do well academically. For the first time in my life I 
  made the honor roll. I wanted to travel on a trip with the drama 
  department and you had to be on the honor roll in order to make 
  the trip out of town. That was a miracle for me!
       Mr. Washington restructured my own picture of who I am. He 
  gave me a larger vision of myself, beyond my mental conditioning 
  and my circumstances.
       Years later, I produced five specials that appeared on 
  public television. I had some friends call him when my program, 
  “You Deserve,” was on the educational television channel in 
  Miami. I was sitting by the phone waiting when he called me in 
  Detroit. He said, “May I speak to Mr. Brown, please?”
       “Who’s calling?”
       “You know who’s calling.”
       “Oh, Mr. Washington, it’s you.”
       “You were the one, weren’t you?”
       “Yes, Sir, I was.”
                            

HOpe you all enjoy this message. Many of you will go on to be mentors as
a result of this condition. We seem to benefit by our "handicaps" or
major physical concerns and then many of you will go on to teach others,
as I do, the myths about the disease to affirm to ourselves that we are
and can do better than we perceive, and then what we inspire to others
benefit them in a way that they will go on to be better than what they
can imagine and so in doing, others, many others benefit by what you
learn, and what you contribute. So, to all the mentors in the world,
continue, we need you.

God Bless
marty auslander
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