People to be encouraged by

Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 05:21 am
Team Hoyt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Hoyt

Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 09:03 am
Steven Curtis Chapman...

Adopted three little girls from China... The youngest was killed in a tragic accident that has brought incredible sadness to the family...yet they press on and find ways to continue to encourage others in the midst of their sorrow.

Chapman and his wife are recognized advocates for adoption. Together, they founded Shaohannah's Hope, a charity organization which offers grants to qualifying families to help defray the cost of adopting, at home and abroad.

Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 10:17 am


I was just thinking of people who are strong in the face of adversity - people who beam sunshine even though they are in the midst of storms - that is Izzie - such an encouragement!
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 02:38 pm
I second Izzie. And you as well, Mismi. You both are able to see the rainbow past the doom and gloom, and in the process lift all our spirits.
Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 02:46 pm
I third Izzie.

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Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 02:54 pm

Well, technically he's part human, part Messiah ... but close enough, huh? He is about to save the world.

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Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 03:21 pm
This guy has always been an inspiration to me...

Reply Tue 2 Dec, 2008 03:37 pm
Thank you Foxfyre - you are too kind. But Iz is a shoe in to be sure!

And Kicky - I love Oscar - grouchy people are so interesting. Wink
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Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 11:48 am
Naming those who provide encouraging examples is too broad. After all, Saddam was encouraged by Hitler and Stalin even though both were human monsters. Those with a bent toward terrorism might list Bakanin, or the infamous father of assassins as examples to be revered and followed. Most of the postings here so far have cited those who have in some manner served as a benevolent example. Even amongst those already listed are some whose actions or lives were dedicated to violence.

Geronimo is one example. Geronimo may be a shining example of the brave resistance fighter struggling against unbeatable odds, but that overlooks the facts that Geronimo was also a hateful man who actively led and encouraged the slaughter of "innocent" men, women and children. Geronimo is for many a romantic figure, but those who followed him lived miserable lives as fugitives, and most died accomplishing nothing. In fact, the raids and murders on both sides of the border provided the justification for shipping all Arizona Apache off into captivity in Florida.

As I understand it, this thread was intended to counter another here at A2K that focuses on listing "bad" examples of humanity. Since "good" and "bad" are often subjective, one wonders if there might not be a few saints listed over on that other thread?

More fascinating is the group of posters who have selected the little known, the mostly unheralded person(s) whose lives are dedicated to courage, or charity and the relief of suffering. I have to admit tearing up when reading of the selfless courage quietly exhibited by people under great stress in times of difficulty when "just giving up" must be an attractive alternative. Yet enduring great suffering when there is no hope isn't exactly rational, and when "giving up" makes a great deal of sense. Each person makes choices depending upon their own value system. Both the choice of abortion, or carrying a fetus known to be physically flawed and conceived in forcible violence, can be legitimately cited as "encouraging" examples.

Then there is the question of whether a single admirable (whatever that is) act is the equivalent of a life filled with admirable thought/words/behavior. When the most "wicked" of men performs an act universally acclaimed as benevolent and socially wonderful, how does that compare to the charity of an unknown pauper who divides his/her meager sustainance with others every day of their lives? Christ's teaching was, we are told, one of peace and charity, but some of the world's most shameful events are directly attributable to his religion. On which list should Constantine the Great appear for his role in making Christianity the dominant religion of Europe? Asoka was a brutal warrior who conquered and unified the Indian sub-continent who later converted to Buddhism and whose long reign there is often cited as a 'Golden Age' of peace and prosperity. Which list does he belong on?

The list of those famous and obscure, historical or living is another interesting way of categorizing the "examples" of others. The thoughts/words and acts of the famous are well known, but often represent legend as much as fact. On the other hand the obscure have vanished from history. Was St. Francis any better a man than Rene Reynard the village half-wit who never worked a day, lived in rags and talked to himself and the pigs in his father's sty? One becomes legend and the other is totally forgotten. We often fall into the error of assigning more value (both positive and negative) to those whose lives are congruent with our own. Some assert that Pres. Bush is the worst President in American History, yet that appellation has been assigned by contemporaries to almost every President who ever served the nation.

All that being said ... probably more than most will even bother to read ... here are a few picks of my own. They are individuals whose lives I personally admire and would like to emulate in my own thoughts, words and actions:

The Buddha
Roshi Suzuki, my Zen Master
George Washington
George C. Marshall
Herman Kahn

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Reply Thu 4 Dec, 2008 01:41 pm

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Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 11:28 am
Here is the story of an obscure man unknown beyond a small circle of friends. For this, we will call him Scott.

Scott, as a young man had a brilliant future ahead of him. He was moderately good-looking, smart, and friendly. "A Catch" who was snagged by a desirable young woman who married him while they were both in their early 20s. Scott dropped out of college, but had such fine analytical skills that he had no trouble finding a good job. Scott became interested in the problems associated with using computers to identify "messy" fingerprints, and applied himself to learning what was then an emerging technology. That led to a job offer with a major Southern California Police Department that was pioneering AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System).

The unit, headed by a grizzled old sergeant, consisted of Scott and Abe. Abe was a recent immigrant who had been a National Policeman charged with identification problems. The ID Unit was partially funded by the Federal government or it probably wouldn't have existed. The rank and file of the Police Department regarded the two ID techs as outsiders who were meddling in a serious field they knew nothing about. "Computers? Naw, to catch the bad guys, you need to be out in the field." Abe and Scott were pretty much excluded from police society, and their civilian friends slowly drifted away.

Both Abe and Scott turned out to be tough men, even if they did spend their lives alone conquering the problems of using computers effectively in identifying criminals. They began to produce solid results, and conviction rates began to climb based on the work of the ID Unit. Scott endured because he loved the challenges, and saw the social benefits to his work. After a few years the Unit had proven itself, but the Federal money ran out. The Department froze the Unit's budget, but kept Scott and Abe on the payroll though they were no longer encouraged to extend the boundaries of their work. This was a stressful job, and other similar units manned by civilians failed, but this is only background to Scott's story.

The job and social isolation Scott's put stress on his marriage. "Why don't we have more friends? You could be making much more money if you only went to work for ...." Then they learned they were going to have a baby. For awhile things got better, though the pregnancy was difficult. Not long after the birth of their daughter it was learned that the infant had a relatively rare condition popularly called "Angel Syndrome".

As I understand it, these children tend to be beautiful, but unable to mature beyond what would be normal for a five year old. They live long lives, but never outgrow infancy. Scott's wife tried to cope, and Scott's elderly parents moved close to provide additional support. It wasn't enough.

Scott's wife needed "a break", so he borrowed some money and she went back east to visit her relatives. She never returned. They got a divorce. She took nothing from the marriage, and insisted that she would have nothing to do with the baby. That was twenty some odd years ago.

Scott continued working, and the Police Department tried to accommodate his hectic schedule, but it was the end of his upward career. Scott needed the job and the medical benefits, so he was pretty much frozen in place. Caring for his daughter became his second full-time occupation. His parents were an invaluable support network, but Scott's life consisted only of job and daughter care. He stopped going out to lunch because a sandwich was cheaper. He no longer had the time to occasionally relaxe by having an after-work beer with Abe and the Sergeant. His wife was gone, and his friends tried to set him up with dates, but he had neither the time nor the money. One of the police women found Scott attractive, but his dedication to raising his daughter Killed her interest before the relationship could blossom.

The Unit Sergeant died, and I retired. Abe shifted away from AFIS once the major problems were resolved and the Department began to lose interest in the system. Scott soldiered on almost alone. He continued to "catch" criminals who would otherwise have slipped through the system, but he got precious little recognition for his efforts. His parent's health continued to fail, and their ability to handle the baby as she grew older and more difficult put more stress on Scott's shoulders. He rose to that challenge by further constraining his life. Work and Daughter. Several times a year we try to lure Scott into coming out to New Mexico for a break in his brutal routine. He's never come because traveling with his daughter isn't an option. The daughter can not be left alone, nor is there anyone who can watch over her for a week.

Scott's parents died, and finding day care for the daughter became a nightmare. She can not stand any departure from routine, and her response is an endless scream until the routine is re-established. She finally was potty trained as a teenager, but it took years for her to accept being left with "strangers". Usually, children with this syndrome are institutionalized early, but Scott couldn't bear the confusion, fear and sense of abandonment that his daughter would have if he abandoned her to the State. That was never an option in Scott's mind. She was his daughter, and though he would have preferred a normal child, he loves her completely and without reservation.

Scott recently retired. He was wornout, and his daughter is an "adult". His pension is very modest. Scott sold his parent's house years ago, but managed to save enough to move to a less expensive community in a small town. Admirers of his constancy and quiet heroism have helped him make the move. I've just received Scott's annual Christmas Letter. It is, as usual, upbeat. However, we read that Scott's been hospitalized ... almost certainly due to health problems stemming from the stresses he's lived with for decades. I know his central worry is what will become of his daughter after he dies, and that must nag at him constantly as his own health deteriorates.

Mostly our heroes only are called upon to act with courage for a short period. They throw themselves on a hand grenade to save the lives of their comrades, or they hold the Pass at Thermopylae to the death. They see danger and difficulty, and respond ... often without thinking as their emotions and training take over. Some behave heroically ... while the eye of the camera and attention is focused on them. Scott is one of those others, the ones who never become famous or even moderately well-known. His efforts have been herculean not for a few days, or months, but for year after grinding year. He has not only not benefited materially from his devotion to duty, but has paid a terrible price for it. He has forgone the smallest of pleasures that most people take for granted, and never whined or complained about his luck of the draw. Scott has character, and an inner strength that is most unusual in my experience.

Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 01:14 pm
thank you for that, Asherman.

Your friend sounds like one hell of a guy...
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Bi-Polar Bear
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 01:23 pm

Rick Allen...Def Leppard's one armed drummer...
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 03:03 pm
@Bi-Polar Bear,
I had forgotten about him, Bear, but yes, he is awesome.

I don't know his name but here's another guy that should be an inspiration to anybody with or without a disability:
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Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2008 09:19 pm
Thanks, Ash.

Bethany Hamilton ...

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Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 08:01 am
Lefty Williams.... Met him last night at a dive bar in Athens. He was born with one regulation issue arm and one that stops a few inches below his elbow. He straps this odd accoutrement onto his stub, and affixes a pic to it...then, he proceeds to play the motherfuckin hell out of his smokin, soulful blues guitar. His voice just transports you... You see a lot of gigs....hear a lot of singing. When I heard him, I turned around from my conversation...and went to a barstool close by and sat, staring, enjoying...mezmerized.

I'm always amazed bt people who start off "at a deficit" so to speak....and climb so far above regular issue types.

Listened to a funny story about him meeting Susan Tedeshi. He was just "talking to the really hammered girl at a bar" about music...., then she goes to the stage and plays the hell out of a guitar...he tells a guy sitting there..."Damn, that chick is good!" and the guy says, ..."Dude, you didn't know that's Susan Tedeshi?..." It was probably fun for her to be "a chick" to somebody.
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