Publication date: 2020-03-01
A story is told, possibly fictitious but nevertheless true, of a psychology experiment investigating attitudes of pessimism and optimism in children. One child was shown a room full of toys. That child was told that he had the afternoon to play in the room with whatever he liked. After an hour, the child was sitting in the room despondent. The psychologist asked him what was making him so unhappy. He responded that although there were a great many toys, he couldn’t decide which one to play with first. A second child was taken to an empty barn filled with horse manure. This child walked into the barn and smiled. She picked up a nearby shovel and began digging into the manure and tossing it about with joyful exuberance. After an hour, the psychologist saw that the child was still happily exploring every inch of the space with a huge, excited smile on her face. When asked why she was so happy, she replied, “With this much poop around, there must be a pony here somewhere!” This story is a perfect illustration of our capacity as human beings to fail to see the abundance that surrounds us. The more we nourish our ability to hope for ponies because we know that where there is pony poop there must be a pony somewhere, the more likely we are to be happy people. One of the best ways to do this is to develop an intentional practice of looking for signs of God’s presence and goodness in the ordinary events of daily life. Through stories filled with humour and warmth, the Way Skinners book is an attempt to do just that.Michael Way Skinner, Christine Way Skinner
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