As I looked back into Mom's history trying to pinpoint when, where, or how her heart was broken I was not surprised to find more specific details around childhood abuse. Today's guest is a dear friend and fellow writer who speaks wisdom and hope into the hearts and minds of our youth. Listen in as my friend, John Harrell, shares his story of tragedy to triumph as he uses his story to teach compassion. He is a fortunate survivor of childhood physical and emotional abuse.
John serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Rachel’s Challenge, the largest program in the world which focuses on kindness and compassion. Named after Rachel Joy Scott, the first child killed at Columbine High School, Rachel’s Challenge transforms the lives of 2 million people per year in 40 countries.
John manages a successful business, writes a daily inspirational blog, and is a public speaker. His audiences include corporations, trade associations, college students and incarcerated children - truly a “captive” audience. In 2018, Harrell published his first book, “Killing My Father Then Finding Him” which became a number-one bestseller on the first day of publication on Amazon.
Because of his upbringing, John is able to connect with struggling children, offering hope to kids in sometimes hopeless situations. Our futures are not limited by our circumstances. Everyone has the power to break the generational malady of abuse, and live a meaningful and full life. John lives in Austin, Texas, and is the proud father of two sons.
Finding the power to overcome tragedy can come from many different sources. The proverbial heart is an amazing motivator, to go in good and not so good directions in life. Either way, programming begins early in life. When I found myself needing to step into Mom's world to care for her more regularly I did not see it as an opportunity until much later. I stepped into my caregiving role with quite a bit of anger and resentment towards Mom. Until I had a better understanding of what life was like for her as a teenager, then later as a thriving philanthropist as an ESL teacher. It felt like I was meeting my mother for the first time.
I could describe my childhood growing up as a dysfunctional household but that would take the attention away from her ability to survive and thrive the best she knew how. If only she had a mentor, such as John Harrell, to speak directly to her heart, she could have understood she was not the only one. She could have understood how to truly live a full life rather than just survive one day to the next.
The number of caregivers is rising significantly with each passing year. Unfortunately, the children of abuse may become our future caregivers. Many of those adult children are now faced with caring for their parents. It may create a new environment of abuse or it may create an opportunity for transformation. Being open to transformation is being open-minded with an open heart. To heal the heart is to heal the mind.
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Intro: Vacation Time by Khris Paradise
Outro: Misty by Khris Paradise