Author: Terry Forde

Watchword Protection

Children at play improvising “let’s pretend” situations are fond of creating secret clubs for which the rules of admittance are rigorously discussed and argued over, and then finally distilled down to a single symbol that allows admittance into the secret circle: “What’s the password?” These childhood games are based on the old practice of a predetermined response to the challenge of a guard or sentry with a “watchword,” a signal that one is a friend and not an enemy. It demonstrated that you were part of the group, and eventually came to mean the very principles or values of the...

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Did You Ever Fly A Kite?

Here’s the thing about kites: you can’t fly them without the wind.  But here’s the other thing about kites: when the wind comes up you’d better be ready. I mention this right at the beginning because while we talk for a minute about kites I don’t want to lose sight of the wind—and vice versa. First the kite.  There is nothing quite like holding a kite that you have made yourself. And it only takes a couple of good sticks, paper cut to the right size (the “diamond” is still a classic), a bit of glue (the white stuff),...

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The Lifer Advantage

If you have the opportunity to spend any time at all with a group of AHC employees, it is almost certain that you will encounter someone who has achieved—or is well on their way to—the status of a “lifer.”  I’m using that term to describe a person whose commitment to what they do has withstood the test of time and who brings a unique level of understanding and insight to their task. I find that these people bring a unique set of values to our mission as well. We are blessed in so many ways by those individuals who...

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Three Kinds of Empathy

Did you ever wonder why dogs cock their head to the left or right when you speak to them?  Maybe it is because they are trying to hear more clearly? Or is it because they look so cute when they do that, and it will get them a reward or treat? Or maybe it’s because their muzzles are so big. That’s the thinking of canine expert Stanley Coren, who has been researching sensory perception and canine behavior for decades, and has written extensively about how dogs and humans communicate with each other. “Hold your fist up to your nose,”...

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The Empathetic Ear

One of the things I cherish most about my childhood is the number of stories and storytellers that filled my world. I heard stories from my parents and family members about where our family came from and the experiences we shared that made us who we were. I heard stories at church about people whose adventures are told in the Bible.  I heard stories from my teachers at school about the heroes of our history and the discoveries of scientists and inventors and explorers.  I was also pretty young when I began to learn the stories of sports figures...

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