Dominoes Episode Thirteen

Following a great experience with the interns in their understanding of how to develop a believer’s network, Charley wanted to move on to the concept of Value Shaping Events in making a difference. He asked Austin to tell the story of Dr. James O’Connell.

Dr. O’Connell began medical school when he was 30. When he graduated, he did a residency at Mass General. He was “talked into” doing a year of service at a nurse’s clinic in Boston. The clinic was established and run by nurses. They wanted no involvement with doctors.

When Dr. O’Connell arrived, he was not well received, and when he approached the patients the nurse told him to put away his stethoscope. What he was asked to do was to soak the feet of the patients in buckets of water. Obviously he was not pleased.

Many of those whose feet were soaked he had seen in the emergency room at Mass General. They had refused medical treatment and left against medical advice. This man in particular was one he remembered. His feet were huge from swelling and two buckets were needed.

After some period of time elapsed, the man asked Dr. O’Connell: “Aren’t you a doctor?” Dr. O’Connell admitted he was, but quickly moved on to the task of caring for the patient’s feet. As he treated the feet, Dr. O’Connell began to talk with the patient. It was after some time that the patient asked for medication that would address his sleeping problems. Medicine he refused to take when he came to Mass General. The gentleness of care that provided to his feet made the patient open and accepting of Dr. O’Connell. This would never have happened in the corporate medicine environment that he was practicing in at Mass General.

Again Charley asked the interns to think about the story from the perspective of a value shaping event. He shared highlights from their reflections:

“It seems like value shaping events are like metaphors that are symbols for the actions we want to propose.”

“Value shaping events are memorable. I doubt if I’ll ever forget this story and how soaking feet is an example of caring.”

“Value shaping events are life transforming in that they put in perspective the purpose for our lives.”

“Value shaping events are anchors that keep us from going off course.”

As Charley read these, he couldn’t have been more pleased. He was really looking forward to meeting the interns in person.

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“Values are fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ‘em all over everything you do.” – Elvis Presley

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Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.