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Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Learning Game: A Teacher's Inspirational Story

A continuation. Expect to see more of these little revues from the book.
Jonathan Smith mentions his disabled Uncle, his mentor and teaching example, who denied that pain and suffering were ennobling. Pain hurts, he said, you just want it to stop. Nearing his end at middle-age, his uncle answered his nephew's unasked question. How do you cope ? "You have to, you have no choice", he said.

One Christmas Day after dinner the family gathers in the uncle's room to play cards. The young Jonathan creams the adults who are well into their cups, sampling port and wine. Jonathan gleefully gathers up the spoils which Uncle Bert had egged him on to win. Uncle Bert, eyes twinkling, then passes around a ladies see-through stocking urging those present to contribute to the Haemophiliac Society. "It's very good of you, very good indeed" he'd say eyeing each coin on it's way down to the bottom of the stocking, then eyes flicking back to the remaining pile on the table. Jonathan reluctantly let go of all his treasure. Years afterwards, any time Jonathan felt low from exhaustion teaching, or off the mark writing or at general low points in life, he'd only have to think of his uncle for a little while and he'd be ready for the next long haul.

I have people like that in my life, my parents for one, who are rarely appreciated except at Christmas and birthdays these days. When I stop to think of the choices they had to make I am too astounded for words. Tonight I must finish this book.

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