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Spying the Future

Parshat Shelach Lecha (Numbers 13:1-15:41)

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/torah_portion/article/spying_the_future_20040611

In "Happiness Is a Choice" (Fawcett, 1991), Barry Neil Kaufman, founder of the Option Institute, tells an amazing story about a young patient named Katie, whose parents brought her to him in a last-ditch effort to give her a "decent future." She had severe disabilities and came to the institute with a medical file several inches thick, after years of testing and treatment. Instead of discussing the history or showing the file to his staff, Kaufman asked them to work with Katie for a day and make their own assessment and recommendations, based on her spirit and preferences, as well as traditional diagnostic tools. At the end of the day, one staff member named Annie described to the parents how she had held a favorite puppet of Katie's at arm's length, and playfully encouraged the child to come and get it.

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