Dominoes Episode Twelve

Charley was overjoyed by how well the interns were preparing stories of difference makers and then getting the essential aspects from them as they related to making a difference. The next story was assigned to Beaux.

Frank Shankwitz had a very difficult childhood. Abandoned by his mother when he was two years old, he lived with his grandparents and only saw his father on the weekends.  His mother returned when he was five and kidnapped him. They eventually ended up in Arizona. They lived in a camper with no plumbing or other facilities. Frank began working when he was ten years old. Frank was befriended by a Mexican man who became his surrogate father who cared for him. The only thing his adopted father asked was: “Frank, when you can, I want you to give it back.”

After serving in the Air Force and a job at Motorola, Frank got a job with the Arizona Highway Patrol. Frank was involved in an 85mph chase with a drunk driver when he was hit by another drunk driver. He was declared dead at the scene. An off-duty emergency room nurse brought him back to life after he had been dead for four minutes. He had a brain injury, skull fracture, and broken bones. He also had to undergo psychological counseling to be sure he was mentally capable of returning to duty. He was told: “You realize you died, and God spared you for a reason, and now it’s up to you to find that reason why you were spared.”

Frank found his reason in a seven-year-old boy named Chris who had terminal leukemia. Chris had a fascination for the highway patrol and was a huge fan of the TV show called CHIPS. Frank befriended Chris and helped him become an honorary patrol officer.  While Chris had only months to live, Frank helped him realize his fondest wish.

Frank reflected on his experience with Chris. He asked himself why other dying children couldn’t have an important wish come true. That became the origin of the Make a Wish Foundation. Frank created a network of believers to make the Foundation a reality.

Today, the Make a Wish Foundation is worldwide. It grants a child’s wish on average of every 28 minutes.

Frank’s story is a great example of how one person can make a difference. Frank was the catalyst for the Make a Wish Foundation. It was his vision that made it happen.

When Charley asked the interns for reflections on Frank’s story as they related to believers, they came up with the following:

“When a person has gone through a life changing experience, the story of that experience can be very effectively used to develop the support of believers.”

“Believers need an emotional connection to a cause.”

The simpler the cause, the easier it is to generate believers.”

Charley hoped that the interns were beginning to see the connections between story framing, scaffolding, and developing a believer’s network.

* * *

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”– African Proverb

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.