“Why did you end the book without including your wonderful family?” I’ve received many variations of that question, so it’s become necessary to address it with my current and potential readers. Here’s the gist of it; I had to end the book at some point. It made sense to end Broken Child Mended Man on a positive note after revealing the trials I had to overcome to earn a college degree. The book is written for struggling teens or people who want to better understand their situation. I was and continued to be a very complex person. Articulating the pride I feel being a father or the ups and downs Emily and I have faced through twelve years of marriage are easily two more books touching on becoming a husband and father without a shining example. I could’ve easily written a 500-page book had I included the last decade in my memoirs. At some point, the reader would become overwhelmed, so it made sense to break it up into future books. Next, I’ll likely write a children’s book to benefit Urban Light Initiative before diving into the outline I have for a book related to my experiences as a proud daddy.
Although I touch on these dreams in the book, I didn’t become an Olympic-caliber athlete or ever have my movie scripts accepted by a Hollywood producer. The vast majority of us don’t go on to lead extravagantly incredible lives. We have dreams, that get downsized to goals and we eventually settle for successfully supporting ourselves or raising a family by any means necessary. We graduate high school as expected, earn a degree in higher education and hopefully get a job in a related field. Some of us go on to get married and have children; none of those milestones are necessarily in that order. I ended up graduating college, starting a family, and working consistently at a national restaurant chain as a successful manager, and was promoted up the ladder. I’d venture to say most people want some variation of that lifestyle. It’s consistent and it allows us to be satisfied with getting by throughout life.
The appeal of Broken Child Mended Man is that it lacks an extraordinary element and that is the point. I don’t mean that my story is bland. Instead, my story of overcoming the odds and breaking the cycle is achievable. As I stated above, I didn’t become a movie star, pro athlete, or even a hotshot executive, so my story lacks glamour. However, my story has that grit that’s necessary to keep the downtrodden pressing forward for a better day. My story was nothing extraordinary other than making a conscious decision to turn my life around at the last possible moment. Most people will be able to relate to my shortcomings and successes because it has something most people have faced at some point in their lives, but have handled in different ways. Some of my ways exuded strength while other reactions and decisions were downright reckless.
The most amazing thing we can do in life is to discover our purpose. I was very upfront with my struggle to comprehend religion, but I refuse to believe that we are all just aimlessly wandering around on this planet. I’ve always wanted to be extraordinary in that sense, but knowing where to begin has been a constant battle. It’s tantamount to starting your life in a dark cave with nothing but candlelight that flickers in and out causing you to stumble along the way. Still, I kept reaching out, risking disappointment before discovering the need for the Urban Light Initiative. Well over 400,000 foster children, a million-plus homeless, and countless at-risk youth. Standing on the shoulders of my community, here’s my chance to pay it forward to a small percentage in my little corner of the globe. After experiencing the neglect too many children face today, I want them to have the resources and support to one day achieve the sense of completeness of the family life I’m experiencing today.
The Broken Child Mended Man e-book is available at several online booksellers: