Sanity, Kids, and Terrorists
Sanity, Kids, and Terrorists
One day I received a letter from a brilliant mother. The address read: Glenn Doman, Fort Sanity, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.
I guess The Institutes does look a little like a fort, being situated behind our 900-foot-long, high stone wall.
But beyond the great compliment in that address and the Post Office’s brilliance in figuring out who it was intended for, there is one vital fact concerning sanity – that if we are ever going to have a sane world, the children offer us the best chance for the achievement of that sanity.
It reminds me of a story, a true story. Years ago, a child in Belfast, North Ireland was on our program. As it happened, his family was Protestant. But they lived on one of the streets in Belfast that divides Catholic families from Protestant families. Needless to say there was much bad feeling – sometimes reaching deadly dimensions – between Catholics and Protestants.
It is a testimony to the virtually universal love of children that while Bobby was Protestant and lived on one side of the street, virtually all of the twenty or thirty people who helped with giving Bobby his time-consuming program were Catholics – from the other side of the street.
Then tragedy struck. Bobby’s family was able, by a good dose of sacrifice, to raise the modest amount of money charged by The Institutes for Bobby’s annual week-long visit to Philadelphia – a trip that was vital to Bobby’s hope for getting well. But they could no longer beg, borrow, or steal the amount of money necessary to pay either the airlines for the trip from Belfast to Philadelphia or the hotel bills to stay in Philadelphia.
Bobby’s family was devastated.
The Catholic helpers were not.
Although the Catholic community was far from wealthy, they managed to raise the thousand pounds which Bobby’s parent needed to pay the airlines and the hotels.
Mrs. Doyle, heart singing and hope restored, went to the bank to deposit the precious thousand pounds.
While she was waiting in line at the teller’s window, the door opened and in came masked men with submachine guns. They quickly and efficiently robbed the bank as well as the people in line, including Mrs. Doyle.
The Doyles were distraught. How could they possible go back to their Catholic helpers who had sacrificed so much to raise the precious thousand pounds and tell them that the I.R.A. had stolen the money?
After hours of agonized discussion, it was clear that there was no other alternative. The money was gone, and the dear Catholics who had raised it must be told.
Tearfully, Mrs. Doyle told them the dreadful story.
“Never mind, dearie, we’ll find you another thousand,” announced the determined Catholics of Northern Ireland to the shattered Protestant mother. And sure enough, they did. Once again, Bobby’s mother took her windfall fortune to the bank to deposit it. Once again, she stood in line with a good deal of apprehension.
This time, much to her relief, she succeeded in depositing the precious money which would take them back to Philadelphia – where Bobby’s progress could be carefully measured, a new program designed for the new boy that Bobby had become, and his mother and father taught how to carry out the new program.
With her heart once again singing, Mrs. Doyle returned to her home on the Protestant side of the street to resume Bobby’s program with the help of all of her Catholic benefactors.
That night, about ten o’clock, when Bobby’s program was finished for the day and all the helpers had gone home to their own beds for a well-earned rest, the Doyles discussed their good fortune.
Suddenly there was a knock on the front door. The Doyles stiffened.
You open doors cautiously at night in this part of Belfast, where the Catholic and Protestant communities eye each other uneasily at best, and often with hate.
A bit fearful, Mr. Doyle opened the door a crack to find himself facing three men with machine guns who forced their way into the house and quickly closed the door behind them.
The Doyles instantly threw up their hands and froze in position.
The leader of the group spoke quickly and quietly: “We read about it in the newspaper. We, huh! Made a mistake. Here’s your money back.”
The I.R.A. backed out the door as quickly as they had come. The door closed and silence filled the room while the Doyles stared at each other in disbelief.
Now they had two thousand pounds.
Whoever in the world had heard of terrorists bringing the money back?
I suppose, as I said at the beginning of the story, that if we are ever going to have a sane world, the children offer us the best chance for the achievement of that sanity.