THE ANSWER IS IN YOUR HANDS

Once there was a wise old man and a smart little boy.  The boy  was driven by a single desire – to expose the wise old man as a fool.  The smart boy had a plan.  He had captured a small and very fragile bird in the forest.  With the bird cupped in his hands, the boy’s scheme was to approach the old man and ask him, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?”  to which the wise old man would reply, “You have a bird, my son.”

Then the boy would ask, “Old man, is the bird alive or is it dead?”  If the old man replied that the bird was dead, the smart boy would open his hands and allow the bird to fly off back into the forest.  But if the old man replied that the bird was alive, the smart boy would crush the bird inside his cupped hands, and crush it, and crush it, until at last the bird dies.  Then the boy would open his hands and say, “See, old man, the bird is dead!”

And so as the story goes, the smart boy went to the old man and he said, as planned, “Old man, what do I have in my hands?”

The old man replied, “You have  a bird, my son.”

“Old man”, the boy than said, his voice dripping with disdain, “is the bird alive or is it dead?”

Whereupon the old man looked at the boy with his kindly old eyes and replied, “the answer is in your hands, my son.”

Source |  Gerry Spence, How to Argue and Win Every Time
St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996) page 142

CONSIDER THIS

TWO HANDS

I am a fist,
A sign of fear
A sign of anger
A sign of greed
A sign of tension

I can pound a desk
I can hoard money
I can try to scare you
I can punch you
In the mouth.

I am a fist.
What do you think of me?

I am an open hand,
A sign of calm,
A sign of ease,
A sign of peace,
A sign of relaxation.

I can dial a phone,
I can shake a hand,
I can change the diapers,
I can play cards,
I can break the bread,
I can pass the wine,
I can heal the hurt,
I can write the poem.

I am an open hand.
What do you think of me?

Andrew Costello CSSR, “The Two Hands” in Listenings (Chicago: Thomas More, 1980) page 107.

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