Daily Archives: April 17, 2011
Realizing the Humanity in Us
I saw this very moving story posted to Facebook and just had to share it.
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: “When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?” The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued.
‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’
Then he told the following story: Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and 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 in to bat in the ninth inning..’ Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’
Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.
By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!
Shay, run to third!’
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team
‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.
Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
And now a little footnote to this story:
We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of things.’
So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise man once said “Every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them”. May your day, be a Shay Day.
In 1943, Abraham Maslow published his famous theory in psychology, now popularly known as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Please see the pyramid below.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
According to Maslow, human beings have different types of needs that can be categorized into five levels, from the lowest to the highest:
According to the theory, only when lower level needs are satisfied, does an individual desire for higher level needs.
Level 1: Physiological needs:
These are basic needs such as air, water, food etc, without which it is impossible to survive.
It also includes basic needs of clothing and shelter to protect the body from the elements. The need for sex is also quite a strong need.
Level 2: Safety needs:
When physical needs are satisfied, the person looks to fulfill his security needs.
Safety needs include personal security, financial security, health etc.
Level 3: Love and belonging needs:
After safety needs are satisfied, an individual looks for love and belonging. there is a basic need to love and to be loved, both sexually and non-sexually by others. Lack of love can lead to loneliness and depression. Sometimes the need for love even overcomes the physiological and security needs.
Level 4: Esteem needs:
This includes self-respect and self-esteem. Self esteem is the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. There is a need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity that gives the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued. These are split into two types of needs:
Lower self-esteem needs are the need for:
- Respect of others
Some higher self-esteem needs are the need for:
All the above levels of needs are called “Deficiency needs”, as a person is motivated to act by the lack of something that he values.
Level 5: Self-Actualization needs:
This is realizing a person’s full potential. Note that this is not meant in the spiritual perspective of gaining enlightentment, although it may come down to that for some people. Each person’s purpose is different, and also this can change as a person matures. Self-actualizing people are gratified in all their basic needs. Here the person is motivated for personal growth more than anything else. Here, there is no perceived lack, and hence Maslow calls this “Being-Needs”. The people who fall in this category are driven by purpose and are devoted to a a task “outside themselves”. They can be particularly talented at what they do.
There are many motivations behind the need for self-actualization’s. From a high level they can be categorized as any need for knowledge, beauty, and creativity. Some of these are the need for:
- Wholeness (unity)
- Perfection (balance and harmony)
- Completion (ending)
- Justice (fairness)
- Richness (complexity)
- Simplicity ( essence)
- Liveliness (spontaneity)
- Beauty (rightness of form)
- Goodness (benevolence)
- Uniqueness (individuality)
- Playfulness (ease)
- Truth (reality)
- Autonomy (self-sufficiency)
- Meaningfulness (values)
Do all people get to the level of self-actualization needs?
The important thing to note is that not all people that satisfy their basic needs automatically become driven by this self-actualization need. Many people who are wealthy are stuck at the lower levels trying to acquire more money, more power, more fame instead of the need to reach the full potential of their being. Other reasons people may not come into this level are:
- Poor childhood
- Lower economic conditions
- Inadequate education
- Anxieties and fears
What can we practically learn from this?
Each of us is acting from a different level of need. This is why it is not wise to judge others and prescribe to others a plan of action that works for us, as it may not be practical for the other person’s life.
- A person who is starving and struggling to have a roof over his head cannot appreciate spiritual knowledge. His stomach needs to be filled first.
- A person who never received much love from others throughout his life may crave to be loved so much that he or she may be willing to take an action that may be judged as immoral by some who are not operating out of that need.
- People who are driven by the self-actualization need may not be driven as much by the need to advance materially, which may not be understood by others who are not at the same level in the hierarchy of needs.
Understanding Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can thus help us appreciate what drives people to do what they are doing, and thus broaden our perspective, and be more accepting of others. It can also help evaluate ourselves and see where we are now with our needs, and where we want to go next.
see next also…
- The Human Psychology of Timeshare and Why They Call To Us ” News … (timeshare-info.co.uk)