Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Watching television while eating dinner is hazardous to your health.  For starters most TV fare is enough to make you lose your appetite. Plus, it's insulting to the person who prepared your meal. This said, many of us violate such warnings from time to time.

We Two were watching something or other on the tube when an ad came on showing a child with one arm. This was followed by one youngster after another with serious physical handicaps. Some were missing a leg or part of an arm. Some of the children were on crutches, or artificial limbs. Jarring. Why would they show these poor kids with all of their disabilities, especially during dinner hour? Who wants to see such imperfections in a culture consistently hammering “perfection” in all things? Instinctively viewers would want to turn away.

Which is precisely why such sad realities have to be shown. So that we can't deny them.

This is a hard lesson for most of us to learn; but learn it we must. I began my own education starting with The Shriners. Like many another I know the Shriners from afar – watching them zipping around in miniature cars during parades - Fourth of July, Memorial Day and so on. There they are, middle aged and senior guys having fun. They pose no real danger to anyone and bring joy to the watching crowds, especially kids. But these eye-catching bursts of entertainment are just icing on a far more substantial cake. The story of the Shriners and the Shriners Hospital for Children is extraordinary.

Truly, their work is fascinating – unique research, outstanding medical care, and much more, addressing spinal cord injuries, burn care, cleft lip and palate among other challenges. The Shriners Hospital for Children carries out this mission “without regard to race, color, creed, sex or sect, disability, national origin or ability of a patient or family to pay.” And they bring love along. The vision of the Shriners is to “become the best at transforming children's lives by providing exceptional healthcare through innovative research, in a patient and family centered environment.”  Pretty darn impressive.

Equally impressive are the positive attitudes and smiling faces of youngsters under the care of Shriners hospitals. I urge you to go on line (loveshriners.org) to read more about the Shriners and the Shriners Hospital for Children.

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