One afternoon Shaya (a child with disabilities) and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball.
Shaya asked, “Do you think they will let me play?”
Shaya’s father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya’s father understood that if his son were chosen to play, it would give him a sense of belonging. Shaya’s father approached one of the boys and asked if Shaya could play. He looked around at his teammates and then said, “We’re losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning.”
Shaya was given a glove and directed to center field. In the bottom of the ninth, Shaya’s team had two outs and bases loaded, with the potential winning run on base.
Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly Shaya was given the bat. He didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it.
As Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to throw the ball. The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed.
One of Shaya’s teammates came up and helped Shaya hold the bat. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. Shaya and his teammate swung the bat, and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked it up and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it high to right field far beyond the reach of the first baseman.
Everyone started yelling, “Shaya, run to first.” Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right-fielder had the ball.
Following the pitcher’s intentions, the right-fielder threw the ball high over the third baseman’s head. Everyone yelled, “Run to second.” As Shaya reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, “Run to third.” Shaya ran to third and then home. As he stepped on home plate, all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a “grand slam” and won the game for his team (modified from Dr. Dyers, Power of Intention).
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Focusing on cooperation, rather than competition and believing that every person is important, we may be more likely to help one another. You never know what impact your kindness will have.
Express kindness everywhere!