December 2011 Volume 8

The Origin of Doug’s Compassion

Dr. Hugh Vaughan
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Douglas Forrest was very forgiving which may have been misinterpreted by many. We all remember when we were sent to the office for an offense. When we got to the principal’s office, Dougs softened and gave us the appropriate punishment, followed by an attitude of encouragement and a soft caution appealing to our better side and conscience.

I think that this was due to Doug's own experience while at Munroe. He was the "blackest" boy at Munroe. I use the term "blackest" to remind us vividly of the racism of the colonial period. One Sunday afternoon while the boys should have been having a nap, Dougs was in group sailing boats on the school's water tank. Tragically, one member of the group fell in the tank and drowned.

The punishment for all was to have been expulsion. However, the son of a very highly placed official was among the delinquents and he could not be expelled. Not wanting to appear unfair to the others the decision was taken that none would be expelled.

So Dougs got a reprieve, He never forgot that painful episode and subsequently developed that forgiving attitude which many thought was a weakness. I don't remember how I came to know the story, but to me it seemed to explain that forgiving nature.

It is the Christian thing to do.

For Dougs, I think it was the Christian attitude that was being exhibited. The incident may have increased his awareness of the value of forgiveness, but I feel from what I knew of him it was more due to his practical Christian attitude rather than a point of weakness not “a chink in the Forrestian armour" or "feet of clay."

I came to know Dougs better when I served as Headboy, and the story revealed a whole new side to this giant whom we all came to love, respect and admire.

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