January 01, 2003

Get Those Shovels Working!

My son is working now with elderly to keep them independent in their homes as long as possible, by arranging volunteer services for them. He has learned a couple of lessons in his work. Lesson One: if a person is not a nice person when they are young, they will not automatically transform into a nice person with age. He has run into more than a few disagreeable, cantankerous old people in his work. It's easy to discount as hopeless a new 'client' when the first encounter ends with a cussing and outright rejection, or there appears to be 'nobody home' and the response is one of seeming indifference.

Lesson Two I learned back when I worked with chronic pain patients. Many of these carried a nasty first impression. They were the most unlikable, unlovely and difficult personalities among those I have encountered in health care. Lesson two says that, no matter how ill-clad, unattractive, unpleasant and seemingly irredeemably worthless a person seems at first meeting, keep in mind that it is entirely possible that "there is a pony in there somewhere". Keep digging until you find it. Here's the tale...

Once upon a time there were young twin brothers; one an optimist and one a pessimist. The parents of the twin boys wanted a professional opinion as to the differences in their children. The psychologist that arrived gave each boy a shovel and told him there was a surprise waiting for each of them in the barn. He instructed them to find a stall that needed cleaning, and shovel out all the pony poop that was there, in search of their prize. Both boys said ok, and headed for the barn.

About 30 minutes later, the pessimist child returned, threw down his shovel, and moaned that there was nothing in that stall except horseapples, that he was finished shoveling, that they were all lying and he didn't believe there was any prize waiting for him.

Several hours passed before the optimist child returned. He gently rested his shovel by the door, ran into the kitchen to get a large glass of water and upon drinking it down quickly, grabbed his shovel and headed back towards the barn. The psychologist called after him and asked him to stop and explain where he was going. The optimist child hollered back at him, "I'm going back to the stall, 'cause with all that pony-poop piled up, there's got to be a pony under there somewhere!"

Would that our world leaders would look for the pony this year. Regardless of color, dress, language or religion, that pony is under the poop. Presidents, using the shovel is what we are paying you to do. Now get busy!

Posted by fred1st at January 1, 2003 07:20 AM | TrackBack

If I remember developmental psych stuff properly,
how we choose to behave in our late 30's and early 40's will, barring organic factors, determine our temperment if we get into or past our three score and ten. Blog on!

Posted by: Bene Diction at January 2, 2003 01:08 AM

I KNOW my pony's in there. Really. That's been my battle cry for the last few years.

Posted by: Da Goddess at January 4, 2003 01:20 AM

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