ARE BLIND CHILDREN BETTER BEHAVED?

Though I hated Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind with a passion, being there did produce a few beneficial results. One was that we were taught to behave ourselves in public. Lessons of politeness, such as saying “please” and “thank you” or not running in the church, were drilled into us until it became second nature. This is why encountering the rudeness of sighted children seemed so shocking to us.From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is how we felt when we were exposed to unsupervised and undisciplined sighted children.

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On most Saturday afternoons, a school employee bussed us to the Dunbar Theatre to watch the matinee. Usually, they showed movies starring the Three Stooges but at other times adventure films were featured.

Since the adults did not trust us with money, our thirty cent allowances were handled by Miss Boyce. She also helped the totally blind boys purchase the treats they desired.

“I can’t believe how loud these sighted kids are. We’d really get it if we acted like that,” Wayne shouted to me over the din as we waited for the movie to begin.

“Yeah, how come they can get away with it and we can’t?” I wondered. “Miss Boyce would crucify us if we acted like them.”

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Deliverance from Jericho  contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it.

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UNJUST CONDEMNATION HURTS THE

I believe that nothing stings quite like being wrongly accused. This is especially difficult to handle when one is a child.

In the autumn of 1964, I thought I had followed every protocol of etiquette and yet I received a tongue-lashing from my supervisor for supposedly trying to steal a treat. From my Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) memoir, here is how it happened.

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Occasionally, my chastisement was unjust. Miss Boyce was divvying out jelly beans to us one evening in the Quiet Room. She granted everybody three each. Noticing a black one at the bottom of her bag, I asked, “May I please have that one?” She ignored me, busying herself with the other boys. I asked my question again with no results.

Miss Boyce sat the bag down in the middle of one table while she spoke to some of my dorm mates. I took the initiative and put a red jelly bean in before trying to dig out the black one.

“Get your hand out of there – you’ve already had three,” Miss Boyce scolded.

“I just wanted the black one,” I explained.

“You put that back right now. That’s stealing you know. You touch that bag once more and I’ll spank your bottom.”

Feeling wronged again, I stormed out of the dorm. I sat on the steps and sobbed. The evening air felt cold but I refused to go inside. I wanted to be alone with my sense of outrage.

Miss Boyce came outside a few minutes later and apologized for accusing me of pilfering. “One of the boys heard you ask me twice for the black jelly bean and he saw you put one back. Can you forgive me?” She sat on the edge of the brick planter and gazed imploringly at me. I could not remain angry after being asked so sweetly for forgiveness so I reluctantly said, “Okay.” After Miss Boyce hugged me, we went inside.

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Deliverance from Jericho ontains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click Here to read more about this book and to order it.

ANATOMY OF A CRIME

James 1:13-15 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here is how I, who thought I was a good Christian boy, talked myself into becoming a shoplifter.—————————————————————–Though I had learned lessons of prudence with my allowance, I began to resent having only fifty cents each week. The Chinese Store seemed to provide too many types of candy. I never had enough cash to buy as much or as many as I wanted. Since my parents were not sending me money, and because I believed I should be entitled to more treats, I began plotting how to steal them from the shop.

While looking around the store, I noticed that the owner stocked various tempting cake-decorating candies next to the baking goods. My favourite was the chocolate sprinkles. We enjoyed eating them, though the proprietor must have wondered why boys would want baking supplies. I noticed on one shopping trip that these tempting toppings were near the back and out of sight from the man at the cash register. I pocketed a package of silver-coloured beads and only paid for my chocolate bar. All the way back to the dorm, I kept thinking of my wicked deed. My conscience preoccupied me so much that I kept trying to cross the wrong streets.

“What’s wrong with you, Bruce? Do you have a girlfriend or something?” Neddie asked me.

As I did not want him to know what I had done, I said, “I’m just tired, that’s all.”

Once we returned to the dorm, I sat on my bed and ate my ill-gotten treat. “What I did wasn’t actually stealing,” I thought to myself. As the store owner had plenty of candy and other goodies, I reasoned that a few bags of sprinkles wouldn’t make a difference. Since I was not rich, it seemed only fair that I should enjoy a few luxuries now and then. I believed it was Jericho’s fault too since I ought to have received more than fifty cents a week. As I was far from home, I felt I deserved to be compensated with sweets.

I stole a few more packets during subsequent trips to the store. The sign on the door which read, “THESE PREMISES PROTECTED BY ELECTRIC EYE,” made me uneasy at first. I comforted myself with the thought that I was unlike those robbers who took all the money. I was merely getting what I felt was rightfully mine.

Each time I pocketed those sweet confections, it became a little easier. In fact, I began to feel a smug sense of pride for having outwitted the grownups. As I was not apprehended and punished, I began regularly stealing cake toppings.

I walked toward the store’s front door one evening when a packet slipped out of my pants pocket. Realizing that I could not leave it in plain view, I said, “Oops. I wonder how that got there.” The man stared at me without a word. Guilt washed over my soul as I realized he knew all the time what I was doing. “I better put this back,” I mumbled.

I hurriedly replaced the cake sprinkles and walked out of the store. The owner did not need to say a word. His hurt look was enough to permanently rebuke me. I never stole anything from his store again.

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My memoir contains many more vignettes of life in that institution which was closed in 1992 after 350 deaf students sued the school for sexual molestation. Click Here to find out more about this account of government social engineering.

YOU WEREN’T RAISED BY SUPERVISORS, WERE YOU?

I’m sure that few folks living today were raised partially or completely by supervisors. The only children brought up in such an unnatural way were orphans, missionary kids, native students of residential schools, and disabled children. The average citizen can’t imagine being sent 500 miles from home, as I was, to be educated in uncaring asylums for months at a stretch.The worst aspect about such institutions was that a variety of abuses were allowed to happen, often concealed from the public for decades. Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind, to which I was exiled, was closed in 1992 when 350 deaf students and alumni filed and eventually won a sexual abuse class action suit against the British Columbia government. We blind students didn’t suffer that sort of indignity, for the most part, but another type of abuse occurred.

From Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School), here’s one example of a heartless supervisor and her self-centred attitude toward her charges.

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Mrs. Parker returned to work driving a new metallic blue Mustang. As in the previous year, she commandeered me to wash it. “Can’t somebody else do that?” I objected. “I still have my cast on.”

“You still have one good arm. Get out there and wash my car and stop complaining.”

I reluctantly shuffled, bucket and rag in hand, to the parking lot. My right arm became very tired after a few minutes. I wished my left was out of the cast so I could alternate hands. I felt extremely tempted to dump the bucket of water over the roof of the car and hide behind the school for an hour. As that would only earn me more punishment, I continued scrubbing and muttering to myself. The only consolation that afternoon was that I worked alone and she was not scrutinizing my every move.

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Deliverance from Jericho

contains many more vignettes of what life was like in that government-run institution. These range from poignant experiences of homesickness to hilarious incidents of mischief. Click here to read more about this book and to order it. You may also e-mail me  directly for more information.

MY LITTLE NEUTRINO

I feel particularly grieved whenever I hear instances of animal abuse. God put us humans in charge of this planet but he never meant us to neglect or mistreat his creation.From When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), here’s one of many stories I told about my adoption of maltreated rabbits.

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After Sunday service one August afternoon, my friend Willy strolled up to me.

I’ve got this little rabbit,” he began. “He’s in a pen with the others, but they keep biting him. The poor guy just sits in one corner of the cage while the rest of the rabbits sit in the other. He’s too small to be a meat rabbit, so I was wondering if you wanted him.”

I felt sorry for that poor picked-on bunny and I accepted Willy’s offer. Sunday after Sunday, I waited for him to bring me the rabbit, but something always stood in his way. It wasn’t until the last day of September that my church friend brought the rabbit in a dilapidated carrier.

“I want the carrier back sometime soon,” Willy said.

That didn’t bother me at all. I had other carriers which were in much better condition.

When I got home, I took out the bunny and placed him in the white cage, which I then moved into the living room. As I watched him exploring his new surroundings, I pondered the interesting things Willy had told me.

Three church families had that poor rabbit in as many years and all lost interest in their pet. The children must have manhandled the little creature, causing him to be wary of them. No wonder he cringed and was jumpy whenever I reached out to stroke his fur. Of course, he was traumatized by the big bunnies that bit him and that could have accounted for his nervousness too.

The last family called him Peewee. I despised that name because it reminded me of that children’s TV show Peewee’s Playhouse.

Since the rabbit was tiny and his black fur made him hard to see in dim light, I called him Neutrino. In scientific terms, a neutrino is a sub-atomic particle that is nearly impossible to detect and can pass through most matter without disturbing it. I also loved the rock group Klaatu’s song The Little Neutrino.

According to an American Rabbit Breeders Association poster, my new lagomorph lad was a Netherland Dwarf. He was small with classic markings?a beige belly and chin, shortened ears with beige fur inside, beige rings around his eyes and brownish fur on the back of his neck. I was amazed at how large his brown eyes were compared to the rest of his head. They made him appear naive and innocent.

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When a Man Loves a Rabbit  contains many more stories of my life with house bunnies. These range from the tragic to the hilarious. Click here to read more about this book and to order it.

GOD IS SO A PERSON!

Throughout my life, a wide variety of Christians have admonished me not to be angry. Well-meaning fools continually counselled me to turn the other cheek and forgive those who insulted my beliefs. I now understand that we must ignore personal insults but we also must give an answer for what we believe and why we believe it to anybody who asks.

In my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir, I wrote about the time in 1980 when an article in the Edmonton Sun newspaper upset me so much that I wrote a rebuttal. It was tidied up by the editor, as I knew little of proper writing techniques back then, and published the next week. Here’s how not taking the advice of my fellow Christians actually paid off for me.

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While reading The Edmonton Sun newspaper one September night at work, an article roused my zeal for the Lord. In it, a man charged with setting forest fires in British Columbia begged God to save him from a guilty verdict. His lawyer claimed that the prosecution could not present the police interview room recording containing his prayer as an admission of guilt because God was not a person.

As soon as I arrived home from work that morning, I penned a letter to the editor stating that God is indeed a person. The paper published it the next week.

“I read your letter in the Sun,” Brother H said after the Wednesday meeting. “I’m proud of you for standing up for God like that.”

I beamed with pride. Though I apparently lacked faith to be healed, I at least defended our Lord. Receiving praise from Brother H also broadened my smile.

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In addition to freelance writing and my latest manuscript, I wrote two memoirs. When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) is the touching record of my house rabbits and the amazing things I learned about them when I let them roam free in my home. Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) tells the story of my exile to Vancouver, five hundred miles from my home for months at a stretch, beginning when I was seven years old. In it, I chronicled what it was like in an age where governments rounded up disabled children and segregated them from their peers. Check out these books by clicking here.

WAS ISLAM MENTIONED IN REVELATION?

During my time at a cult church, its self-proclaimed anointed teacher asserted that Islam was the “great red dragon” of the Bible’s final book. I knew nothing back then of apologetics, the art of defending Scripture with well-studied arguments based upon a nuanced understanding of each verse’s context.

I’m currently editing How I Was Razed, a memoir of my time spent with that errant congregation, my rejection of God because he failed to heal my eyes, and how I eventually discovered what biblical Christianity is. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter of my manuscript which demonstrates why that cult’s leader was a complete impostor.

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Brother H’s teaching on Revelation chapter twelve was one of his most blatant misinterpretations. Now that I have removed his theological glasses, I can see that all seventeen verses actually refer to the incarnation of Christ as well as the battle between God and the Devil. Satan is the dragon mentioned in verse three, not Islam as our false teacher claimed. This truth is consistent all through scripture. The woman represents the nation of Israel. The sun, moon, and twelve stars refer to Jacob and his family. See Genesis 37:5-10 for the dreams of Joseph. The child isn’t the group of new converts but Christ. Satan tried to kill him at his birth and he was taken up into heaven after his resurrection. The woman fleeing into the wilderness is obviously not the elect Christians, particularly not members of Thee Church being flown to the Nahanni Valley to live in the city of refuge. I believe it more than likely has to do with Christ being taken to Egypt after Herod had all the boys in Bethlehem under two years old killed.

Some Christians believe this portion of Revelation refers to Israel during the great tribulation before Christ returns. Whichever is correct, Revelation chapter twelve can’t mean what Brother H forced it to say.

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In addition to this book, I’ve also written When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). Please click here to check them out.