Success in Life Beyond Disabilities
Hello anwelcome to Healing From Within I am your host Sheryl Glick Reiki Master Teacher medium and author of my newest book in the trilogy A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Global Awakening which shares a metaphysical view of life as we approach the many changes in 2020 and beyond realizing a major shift from a third dimensional physical materialist world view to higher values of empathy compassion love and serving others as we come to see it is not an economic political or societal problem we are facing but a spiritual disconnect from our soul’s inner wisdom. I am delighted to welcome Paul Smith a former guest on the show to discuss his new book Four Days With Kenny Tedford who during these changing challenging times in the world will offer hope and love as he was born with brain damage leaving him with the intellectual ability of a 4th grader deaf in both ears and legally blind in one eye and difficulty speaking until the age of ten but what he did have was the pure soul and heart of a spiritual being of love and good will.
Listeners who would like to hear Paul Smith and I discuss his book Lead With A Story an interesting group of stories that open up major possibilities to explore life with greater awareness of our unique abilities to create our best life through positivity and kindness for our families and children go to the radio page of Sheryl’s website www.sherylglick.com to June 2016
As listeners of Healing From Within have come to expect over the years, Sheryl’s talented authors also aware citizens of the Universe, share intimate experiences and insights as they explore life in both its physical and metaphysical aspects, learning how to merge both for creating our best Self and manifesting happy prosperous purposeful healthy lives, In today’s show Paul Smith explores the life of a soul mocked for being retarded as he was called then in school and in the neighborhood, whose life could easily have become a tragic tale of victimhood due to his disabilities and challenges, but, through the unique way Kenny views the world he is able to teach us about courage faith family persistence pride hard work kindness respect and humility focusing and sharing his gift of the love of life with so many.
Paul tells us how he met Kenny Tedford and why he wanted to write a book about him. At a show, a three- day storytelling festival, Paul saw a large man about sixty-ish with very thick glasses who sat down in a chair next to Paul. A young man was with him and took a chair facing the older man with his back to the stage. As soon as the show started the young man began to lift his hands in front of his chest and make cryptic motions that identified him as a sign language interpreter and Paul surmised the older man was deaf. At the next break, Paul introduced himself and noticed he was a very affable fellow. At lunch break Paul was walking with a tray of food and he asked Paul to join him. His interpreter was not there but for an hour Paul listened to Kenny Tedford tell his story. Underneath the telltale tone of his voice, his vocabulary and sentence structure were both charmingly juvenile. His deafness was not the only challenge he was dealing with. He was partially paralyzed on his left side, had limited cognitive ability and was deaf, all a part of brain damage suffered at birth. And also Kenny had endured a string of near-fatal illnesses. Yet, he was a delightful individual and his temperament and outlook on life and humanity very positive. The way in which Kenny told his stories was one of feeling and quite unique.
Paul tell us of his own life and how he discovered the passion of storytelling as a leadership tool in corporate life before becoming a full time speaker and trainer Paul’s first book Lead with a Story was published 2 months after meeting Kenny. It went into several printings and after a while Paul got invited to speak at his first corporate event. He tells us how his decision to quit his cushy corporate job and make a living as a professional speaker and trainer and make a difference came to be. Paul tells us of writing a letter to his father asking for advice and his father tells him of the time in school when the teacher asked the class if anyone had any special talents like dancing or magic tricks. And Paul’s dad announced he could sing and he wanted to be a singer like Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennet. He got up there and belted out his favorite song, “I Don’t Want to Set the World.” Apparently, he nailed it and received applause and knew what he was destined to do in life. But unfortunately, that was the first and last time he sang in front of an audience. He admits life got in the way and he never followed his dream and passion. Then he wrote to Paul ” I’d love to see you pursue your dream. But that doesn’t mean in your lifetime, son, that means in mine. Love Dad
One of the stories that Kenny told Paul for he was so adept at telling his stories but not writing them was the following.
Kenny tells the story of his mother in Memphis on September 17 1953 when his momma fell down a flight of stairs in front of the house. Her name was Bessie Faye Tedford. Some people say it was raining and that’s why she slipped while other people say it was because she was drunk. Either way she was 7 months pregnant with Kenny but when it became clear that the umbilical cord got wrapped around his neck and he couldn’t get enough oxygen to his brain Kenny was delivered two months early. They called him a blue baby and they had to revive Kenny during the delivery twice. Kenny had brain damage and the doctors weren’t sure he would make it. The doctor told his father he would be retarded and they should just put him away and focus on the other six children. But Kenny’s Dad was a very loving man and would never have allowed that to happen. His dad knew Kenny was going to have a hard life but he wanted to help him make the best of it.
Sheryl says, “Now that is unconditional love and a great abiding respect for life and perhaps an acceptance of the Divine and that all is as it is supposed to be and we all have everything we need to accomplish our soul destiny and have a good life.”
Paul asked Kenny when was the first time he knew he was different? Kenny was living in Dallas by then. His father lost his job with the Tennessee Highway Patrol just a few months after Kenny was born. He ended up getting a job on the railroad. Anyway, by the time he was four or five, Kenny remembers being sick a lot. One time he had double pneumonia. They thought he wasn’t going to make it, but then Kenny woke up and asked for ice cream and everyone knew he would make it. And then there were seizures. Kenny says that after the last seizure he never had more and that puzzled the doctors because most people who have seizures have them their whole life. Kenny says, “These are just little things he often forgets to tell people but these are all the things that make me who I am. But they don’t control me.”
Coincidentally Paul suffered from strabismus or wandering eye and one typical treatment to strengthen the muscles was to hang a tennis ball above the bed and swing it back and forth and look at the ball without turning your head. And what he remembers from that experience is that he got to be with his mother or father for 15 minutes and had their complete attention.
Kenny tells us a story of when he had climbed up a tree and his mother was frantic for his safety and what his father did showed Paul why Kenny had the greatest chance to live life with pride, dignity and a sense of peace. The story goes like this: Kenny got all the way to the top It was unbelievable He could see everything. And then I looked down and saw Daddy. He had a big smile on his face and was giving me the thumbs up. But Mommy was frantic and pounding on Daddy’s back I guess she was frightened. Well then Daddy made that motion with his finger meaning “Come here.” I looked at Daddy and he said, “Jump.” Kenny said Noooah! But Daddy said, “Jump” again. Then he just said, “Trust me.” And it was the way he looked at me . His eyes just said, “I’m gonna take care of you.”
Sheryl says she believes the love and care Kenny received from his father who loved him from the moment he was born was the force that carried Kenny beyond all his disabilities to shine love into the world and hope. Trust is often lost by children and is an issue they grapple with all their lives that causes them to fear their own choices and self-worth, but Kenny trusted his father with all his heart and that made him love life as well.
Another time Daddy and Mommy took me to the beach and Kenny was learning to swim and thought he would drown and Daddy said “Would I ever let you drown?” So Paul discovers that it takes courage to put your children in positions of struggle. There’s always some small amount of risk. Without struggle however there is no learning. But mostly Paul thought about his time as a manager and leader and had failed to let one of my team struggle and often finished the project myself. How much more capable, experienced and resourceful would they have become if I’d been a more courageous leader? I decided I liked Kenny’s courageous father very much.
Kenny told me When I grow up I want to be a man like my father. So I said to my momma please stop fussing over me and put me down and I ran to Daddy and he said, “That’s my boy!” And he hugged me. And I knew that I was loved. My momma loved me in her way. And Daddy loved me in his. That was the most important thing Kenny learned the day he thought he drowned.
Words are very powerful and can heal or wound as well as create our reality. Kenny tells us about the bully and name calling he experienced and how his father approached this situation.
And Paul writes, But, there’s an unintended consequence that comes with making some words taboo, especially as they relate to yourself. And that is that they give those words power over you. You learn to fear these words. Those words hurt you because you’ve been told they’re hurtful. So hurtful, in fact that you’re forbidden to use them yourself. But what if you embraced words that accurately described you and took them at face value.
What if you didn’t imbue them with so much power by avoiding or denying them? I’ll admit retarded is so stigmatized today but it wasn’t that way in the 1950’s. It would be like saying “cognitively impaired” or “differently-abled” today. Instead of denying what was biologically true about himself Kenny chose to embrace it and as he said, “make the best of it.”
Sheryl remarks that always a sensitive intuitive kid in the gifted class she never thought of herself as different, but twenty five years ago after having many mystical coincidental and spiritual events she was guided to develop her ability to communicate with Spirit as a medium and help people access that higher part of themselves. While a great gift not everyone embraced the newly dedicated Sheryl to her work and service to others. However, she embraced that unique gift and promised to use it to the best of her ability to help others know that “Consciousness survives death,” and life is the journey of the soul, no matter what challenge, we have everything we need to fulfil our soul destiny and life plan.
Kenny was so attached to his loving parents dealing with the death of his mother and father was not easy. The doctors told them his father had a sudden massive heart attack. It was one week before Christmas. December 17, 1961 He was 37 years old. And Kenny realized then how sad it must be for people who never share how much they love someone. It’s just a simple three words, I Love You. And you never know when someone is gone forever. Then Kenny thought about how lucky he was the night before. Because those were the last words Kenny ever spoke to his father and the last words he ever spoke to me. Kenny got to say goodbye.
Some years later his momma died on Friday May 18, 1962. She was 43 years old. Some people said she had a brain tumor. Years later they told him it was an aneurism that killed her.
Kenny had the same frightening dream he had after his father died. He saw the same dirty old man with a knife and in his dream he ran to the door and the man grabbed him by the hair and the knife came up in the air. But Kenny remembered thinking that somehow it was his fault his mother had died. He had felt the same way when his father died. Kenny had always assumed that his mother was ashamed of him as kids would tell him, your parents don’t love you, they don’t want you. But Kenny had a moment with his mother where she said…I wish I had been a better mom, but there is one thing I’m gonna tell you. You’re the most precious thing in my life…and I’m proud that you’re my son. No matter what anyone tells you. You don’t believe them.
Kenny says, ”Sometimes when I want to quit life, I think of that moment. When I’m feeling unworthy. When I think “I can’t do this,” I think of that moment. And I know that I was loved. That I am loved. That I am worthy. And that I can do this. That one moment of honesty and love got me through a lot.
What might Paul like readers to take away after writing this story about Kenny Tedford? Well it might be that when you share stories of your life both the good and the bad if you are honest people recognize that quality of sincerity and trust. Kenny tells the story of going for a job interview in Nashville and meeting Sandy who he thought was a witch and when he got the job was a bit frightened to deal with her. Sandy later told him that nobody said the things he did in the interview. Most people just told us about their credentials. But she said, you told us stories. And that’s what we wanted to hear. That made Kenny like her a lot more and Sandy and they became the best of friends.
Paul wrote, Those words stuck in my ear. “It’s easy to not like people you don’t know. But once you get to know them, even a little, it’s pretty hard not to like them.”
We thank Paul Smith, author of Four Days With Kenny Tedford who has captured a great truth of life: There is no one who can prevent us from having a productive life other than our own fear of not succeeding. We hold our personal power within our heart and when we love and are loved,0 we can accomplish many miracles.
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within we have observed through the stories Kenny Tedford a man partially blind and deaf living with learning disabilities through the love of his marvelous father and mother WHO WERE ALSO affected with their own challenges embraced him and help him to know that all things are possible with faith love and a belief that you can and will do what you choose. When we listen to people, rather than judge them by the standards of the world, we find the gift of a sweet loving soul in a man who could have become bitter, angry or sad but instead lives his life fully and is an inspiration to those who meet him.
Paul wrote how he awakened his family to new possibilities. Paul wrote, “After four days of stories and dinners together and watching us play squishy ball in the backyard it occurred to me that something magical was happening. Somehow without even trying, Kenny had worked his way into the heart of my family. My two introverts were charmed by his very presence. My nine- year- old chatterbox was enthralled into a ruptured silence by his stories. And Matthew had finally overcome his discomfort with house guests which has since led to even more courage and comfort meeting new people and making friends. But even more insightful was my wife’s reaction to the whole visit. Her original apprehension started to disappear when she realized she and Kenny shared something very important to her, both of them their Christian faith. Plus, not much will endear someone to a loving mother more than winning the affection of her children
Paul Kenny and Sheryl would have you know that allowing ourselves to move past the fear or discomfort we might feel around people with challenges who are living life in circumstances we may not be familiar with and just appreciating each and every person and living soul as a divine gift in this time and place here to gain greater compassion and love of Self life and the eternal world of hope.
Sheryl Glick host of Healing From Within and author of her last book in the trilogy A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Global Awakening invites you to visit her website to learn about energy healing mediumship and listen to authors who seek a greater knowledge of Who We Are? Where We Come from? and How to live life discovering we are Spiritual beings having a physical life in search of refining our soul energy and finding greater compassion and love for ALL. Shows may be heard on www.webtalkradio.net and www.dreamvisions7radio.com