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Issue 588 - "Tubman Toughness" (Harriet Tubman)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 12 Issue 588
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Harriet Tubman (1822 - 1913) is an extraordinary American hero. Tubman was born into and escaped from slavery. From 1849 to 1860 she went back and rescued over 70 slaves in about 13 expeditions.
When Tubman was eleven years old she suffered a severe injury when she was accidentally struck in the head by a two pound weight an overseer threw at another slave who was attempting to flee. Bleeding and unconscious, she was returned to her owner's house and laid on the seat of a loom, where she remained without medical care for two days.
After this incident, Tubman frequently experienced extremely painful headaches. She also began having seizures and would seemingly fall unconscious, although she claimed to be aware of her surroundings while appearing to be asleep.
When she awakened, she picked up the conversation she was having, or the speech was giving, right where she left off. She was in full command without missing a beat. Acting as though nothing happened, she just got to the next task at hand. Her followers not only weren’t bothered but rather inspired by her toughness and determination.
This condition (thought to have been temporal lobe epilepsy) remained a constant in her life. Tubman recounted to a friend how, in her seventies, she went to Massachusetts General Hospital and got brain surgery:
"When I was in Boston I walked out one day, I saw a great big building, I asked a man what it was, and he said it was a hospital. So I went right in, and I saw a young man there, and I said, "Sir, are you a doctor?" and he said he was; then I said "Sir, do you think you could cut my head open?"... Then I told him the whole story, and how my head was giving me a powerful sight of trouble lately, with achin' and buzzin', so I couldn't get no sleep at night. And he said "Lay right down on this here table," and I lay down."
Tubman refused an anesthetic when it was offered. She preferred a bullet to bite on, she told the doctor, like the Civil War soldiers she had held down during medical amputations during the war. During surgery she lay motionless as a log, mumbling prayers through teeth clenched on the bullet.
"I just lay down like a lamb before the slaughter, and he sawed open my skull, and raised it up, and now it feels more comfortable. "Did you suffer much?" Yes, sir, it hurt, of course; but I got up and put on my bonnet and started to walk home, but my legs kind of give out under me, and they sent for an ambulance and sent me home."
How’s your "Tubman Toughness?"

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



Move We Adjourn

When I'm weary of argument wordy
And tired of continuous debate,
When the speaker like some hurdy gurdy,
Which carries on early and late,
Keeps up a monotonous bellow
On lessons I don't want to learn,
'Tis then I give cheers for the fellow
Who rises and moves to adjourn.

There are motions to lay on the table,
There are motions for this and for that,
And I stick just as long as I'm able
And hark to the chatterer's chat,
I stand for the rising thanks motion
For the one who has done a good turn,
But my friend is the chap with the notion
To get up and move to adjourn.

There are some who like papers and speeches,
And open discussions of things,
The heights some new orator reaches,
The lesson and message he brings.
But each his own fancy must cling to,
What one chooses others may spurn,
So this simple tribute I sing to
The brother who moves to adjourn!

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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