Permission to Heal

Permission to Heal Episode #73 - A Conversation with Paul Smith & Kenny Tedford about Finding More Love and Compassion

June 15, 2022 Marci Brockmann Season 2 Episode 73
Permission to Heal
Permission to Heal Episode #73 - A Conversation with Paul Smith & Kenny Tedford about Finding More Love and Compassion
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

“No matter what adversity you have, you can conquer it,” Kenny says. “No matter how big or small.” 

 Paul Smith and Kenny Tedford are professional speakers and storytellers, and their story is captured in the book, Four Days with Kenny Tedford: Life Through the Eyes of a Child Trapped in a Partially Blind & Deaf Man's Body. Buy your copy on Amazon or support local and independent authors at the Permission to Heal Bookshop

 Kenny Tedford is one of only two deaf people in the world with a master’s degree in storytelling, which he earned at 55, almost half a century after being told by teachers and psychologists that he would never complete the third grade.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts in business storytelling. He is one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers. 

Paul and Kenny met at a storytellers conference and became friends almost instantly. Kenny traveled from LA to Ohio to stay with Paul and his family so they could get to know each other in-depth and write their wonderful book - Four Days with Kenny Tedford: Life Through the Eyes of a Child Trapped in a Partially Blind & Deaf Man's Body.

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00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman, and I am thrilled that you were here. I honestly am moved beyond words that you keep showing up every week to join my guests and me in these amazing conversations. Today we have an, an interesting, different kind of discussion. Instead of interviewing just one person I have to Paul Smith and Kenny Tedford, Paul and Kenny met at a storytelling conference as they are both storytellers and became fast friends. And very soon after Paul met Kenny, he asked him if he could help him write a book about his life experiences and lessons that he's learned.  

[00:00:50] So let me tell you a little bit about them. Kenny Tedford Jr. Is a master storyteller. He's almost totally deaf. And as a man of many talents, he's an author, an actor, a humorous life coach motivational speaker, and counselor. Well, it does one-man shows. He's an entrepreneur, he's a founder and president of attitude, concepts, and he's experienced as a deaf ministry leader. He's also been a deaf culture professor at the east Tennessee university, I believe, and was a professor of sign language. Kenny was labeled as mentally retarded in school when he first began elementary school and he decided through his own sticktuitiveness and resilience and the love he has in his heart, he decided to prove them all wrong. And not only did he graduate high school, but he graduated college and he graduated with honors attending Gallaudet university for the deaf.. In Washington later, he transferred to the university of Tennessee in Knoxville getting his BA in theater and then went on to get his master's degree in storytelling from east Tennessee state university. And he's only one of two people in the whole country. that are deaf and have a master's in storytelling. He was a red cross ambassador representing the United States. He was a career counselor and employment specialist for the disabled. He, he's amazing. Despite being born deaf with a little bit of brain damage, he survived everything from cancer to heart attacks to breaking his neck, to open heart surgery. He had to relearn how to walk and. Shows with his own unique ability to tell a story and his unique ability to see the goodness and the love inside of everyone. He shows us by his example that anybody can overcome any obstacle that it, a power is within them. No matter what adversity you have, you can conquer it no matter how big or small. And, he's amazing.  

[00:03:07] Paul Smith one of Inc magazine's top 10 leadership speakers. He is a storytelling coach, a best-selling author of several books, including the book that they wrote together. The four days with Kenny Tedford life through the eyes of a child trapped in a partially blind and deaf man's body. But he also wrote the 10 stories, great leaders tell, sell with a story lead with a story parenting with a story. His work has been featured on the wall street journal Inc magazine. Forbes and fast company among others. He holds an MBA from the Wharton school of business, and he's the former consultant at Accenture, the former executive and a 20 year veteran of Procter and gamble company. And he, you can find him at, at leads with the story.com. He's a very interesting, brilliant. Man and the very unique friendship that Paul and Kenny have with each other is, is really heartwarming to witness.  

[00:04:10] Thank you for joining us and I hope you are as motivated and entertained and enlightened, as much as I was in, in meeting them in this interview. 

[00:04:19] Thank you so much for being here.

[00:00:00] Welcome Kenny and Paul, how the hell are you both. Thank you. Very good. Thanks. Excellent. Yeah. Thanks for having us on Marcy. My pleasure. My pleasure. So all three of us are in different states. 

[00:00:14] Well, Paul's in Ohio and Kenny's in Tennessee and I'm in New York. And through the wonder of zoom, we're all having a conversation simultaneously. It's amazing to me, cause I, I feel like before the pandemic, I didn't know that zoom existed and this wouldn't have even occurred to me that this was an option. 

[00:00:38] I'm not in bad at myself. I'm very, I mean, I might have to be your grandpa. So I mean, I'm very new at all this the time. And I kind of feel bad cause he got his own life, but I'm only gonna to learn about technology and the new man is something totally new to me. Paul, you teach Kenny how to do all this. 

[00:00:59] Well, uh, as best I can, I'm certainly no expert, but, uh, yeah, like you, once when COVID hit, I kind of had to take my business underground. Right. And, you know, buy all the right equipment and cameras and lights and stuff. And so, while I'm new to this, um, I'm maybe a step ahead of him. So, uh, which is good because, uh, you know, normally he's the one teaching me about life. 

[00:01:20] So it's good that I ever once in a while, that's something I know more than him. So why don't you introduce us to how the two of you met, how you got acquainted? Like, where did this begin? You wrote a book together and how does that, how does that happen? Yeah. So whose version of that story do you want? 

[00:01:44] Both. That's the number one question everywhere we go. The very first question, they're kind of like a ball. Why did you write a book about this man? All your other books, the bedrest, you know, and so Paul had a really bad way of back to the, that question. All right. I'll I'll, I'll, I'll do that. And you can tell me if I mess it up, but, um, yeah, so Kenny and I met at, um, a storytelling festivals, the national storytelling, um, organizations, you know, annual conference and we were both speakers, but on separate stages at the same time. 

[00:02:18] So we didn't know that the other one was there to speak at the conference. And we both ended up attending somebody else's performance after that. And we both ended up sitting on the front row. And so literally I'm, you know, I'm sitting in the front row at the storytelling festival waiting for the next performer to come on stage and here comes, you know, this a 60 ish gentleman. 

[00:02:42] And comes and sits down right next to me. Um, and, uh, with some kid, some like 20 something kid with him who pulls a chair out from the front row and turns it around backwards and sits right in front of Kenny, looking at him with his back to the stage. And I thought that, well, that's kind of weird. Yeah. 

[00:03:03] Behavior, what's this kid doing? You know, and as soon as the performance started, course, I figured it out because he started, uh, doing sign language for Kenny. He was Kenny's interpreter. And that's when I realized the guy sitting next to me is deaf. And I just thought that was a pretty ballsy move to come to a three-day storytelling festival for deaf guy, but he brought his interpreter. 

[00:03:22] So that's good. And anyway, I did that. I kind of figured, um, you know, I'd never see the guy again, but, uh, at lunch somehow we ended up our eyes crossed paths at lunch and oh, you're the guy that I sat next to. So we sat down and had lunch. He just started telling me his life story. He actually, he gave his interpreter the hour off for lunch and just started talking to me. 

[00:03:44] He obviously reads lips and, um, you know, the hour went so fast. Uh, and I was just amazed at, you know, the, the stories this guy had will, you know, a year later I'd actually, um, was sitting down to write my second book. Um, and it was going to be about, uh, parents for parents, to, for parents to teach their kids life lessons. 

[00:04:08] And I thought, who do I want to interview for this book? I want to interview a hundred, really fascinating people and collect their best life lessons and put them into a book. And I thought, oh, I I've got to interview that guy that I met a year ago at that storytelling festival, this Kenny, Ted. Right. 

[00:04:22] You're the first person I thought of to interview for this book. So I, I called him up and we arranged a time to like zoom, like we are now and interview him. And we were exactly 36 minutes into that interview. And I remember, cause I was recording the interview and he had already told me like five or six fascinating life stories. 

[00:04:38] And I said, uh, Kenny, have you ever like written all these stories down? You could write a whole book just on yourself. Like, I just need a one page story from you for this book, because I'm going to interview 99 other people. And he said, yeah, well I've, I've thought about that. But, um, and people ask me for that all the time, I'll finish a performance and people say, oh, could you have a book? 

[00:04:57] We can buy with all your stories in it. And he said, but that that's just part of, you know, my cognitive challenge is I just, I can't write very well. And so I've just never been able to do that. And that's when I said something that probably surprised me as much as it surprised him. I said, well, you know what, Kenny I'll do it. 

[00:05:15] I'll write you. And, you know, even though I had just committed to writing a whole other book, uh, so that was kind of the beginning of the commitment and it took a number of years, but we ended up, uh, uh, doing it together and that that's, I guess how this whole thing got started. That's very cool. So you're both storytellers by trade. 

[00:05:35] This is, this is what you do. Yeah. Well, he's better at it than me, but other than that, yeah, that's true. So well, that's cool. That's very cool. I had a, I didn't know that there were formal degrees in storytelling or that there were storytelling conferences. That's, hasn't sort of occurred to me until researching for this interview. 

[00:06:00] Um, I, I, I that's fine that utterly fascinating. So I didn't either. And by the way, so Kenny is one of, I think only two deaf people in the world. With a master's degree in storytelling. Yes, I did read that. That's pretty fascinating. Pretty unusual. So, so Kenny, where did you get this motivation and ambition from? 

[00:06:24] You know, I take it, your, your childhood was a little difficult because of your. Yeah, disability, I guess I would be dead a faithful person that I am. I felt like that was my calling. Even as a child. My mom and dad used to always, um, you know, laugh around me when I talk about something like what we had for breakfast, but I tell other relatives and friends that a family, um, are union. 

[00:06:59] Uh, in the old day, we used to have like 200 family members, all the Kurds and the aunts and uncles, grandma, grandpa, and my father always, uh, pick me up and put me on the big Nick table. And I'm just, I was about, I would say six and a half, almost seven years old. And I looked down at my dad. I'm trying to get off the cable. 

[00:07:19] I, what are you doing? Why are you putting me up here? All the family are looking at me, even friends and people bought the friends. And, uh, my daddy said, tell him what we have for breakfast this morning. Y, you know, and I, it didn't make sense. And my mother, baby, you just tell them you'll finally you just the way you do it. 

[00:07:40] I got okay. Okay. Well, I got out there bacon all the way to my bedroom. I had the doors shut and I went into the kitchen and they were daddy drinking coffee sitting in his underwear, you know, reading the paper and mom didn't her. Oh, uh, well, it would hold all over it. And mom, look that part. You don't need to tell everybody go on with the toy. 

[00:08:05] So I realized that just the way I. Could you ask me any questions? Like where do you go to cool. I might describe the school and with located instead of just saying, oh, I got to elementary quo, Brett Graham would. Right. So I think you were just what God given me as a gift. Uh, because my mom had nine children. 

[00:08:29] I was the one at one point with deafness. Uh, they're now, uh, labor, how to I had brain damage. And so I was born two months early. And so I had a lot of other health issues, uh, at the time, then in the early fifties, born in 1950 swings. So in early 50 go poem would definitely. You'll be tired. I mean, that's tip but caught it. 

[00:08:55] That's it. I mean, nobody has a meet me or say anything. They didn't even when they do meet me, they thought I tried talking and back then my beat was really bad. I could be lip read in between the particular years I had. And, um, I hated it. I couldn't, you know, I just, I don't know why my mom would make me go there, collaborate the other kids that look different. 

[00:09:20] I mean, down syndrome. Right? I know people, I'm not saying the word and nobody thought it'd be cool, but in the old days, that's what it was today had called mentally challenged, but still I had a learning disability. And so they take how I, I did you to ask me questions. I would just tell you a toy. I think of that wedding. 

[00:09:42] I noted people. I got to tell you, if you haven't read the book. That's how a lot of it started off. So it could have one teacher. It was one teacher who believed in me and yeah, she would call me Dana. I was only like a bleak seven, a Tuesday. You're the most amazing storyteller I have ever seen. And I'm looking at her like, what's your storyteller, right? 

[00:10:09] I mean, you're talking to a kid who still had not grasp language. So when they call me retarded and the other kids in the class would raise their hand or their teacher said what you want, I want to be retarded like Kenneth. And I went home with a smile on my face and I'm like, huh, because they ain't gonna learn capitalism, you know, AB shape. 

[00:10:32] I would put in the back of the room with a big yellow paper. And complete crayons. That was it. The other kid got the 24 color crayons. Joan gave me three, a black, a gray and a one. And I didn't, why can't I have a bucket Clara? She said, because you're retarded. If you're not creative, you can't learn anything color. 

[00:10:53] That fact there would be quiet it. So, but to me it was like, Hey fine. That's all I got to do. So I would take him what was given to me and, uh, I'd say innocent. And then, you know, when other kids would say, why, why did that Kenneth back to. You know, he don't have to do what we're doing. And she told the whole class, it would be called him retarded. 

[00:11:17] He's not gonna learn anything. They did just the first grade. And so the other kids that's when they turned around and looked at me and I looked at them and wave like, Hey, and then they all come back around to the teacher, raised their hand. And that's when she said, what did you want? And they said, we want to be retarded. 

[00:11:35] Like I went home that afternoon with a smile on my face and you know, my mama came out in the fall poet and she said, uh, what were you so happy about mama I'm retired. Anybody want to be like me? Oh, my God. I'd say, well, the teacher, the principal, the counselor, and all my friends, she go, oh my girl, she take your, now we call it. 

[00:12:00] So, so that, wasn't a word that your family used at home because they weren't allowed to take any of that at home. So at home, my dad would the braided teacher mom in my life. He never treated me different. I had four other brothers and, but he was the father of four children. My mom married, my daddy married before and had five kids. 

[00:12:21] Did she have four more with my daddy? Two boys, two girls, but my daddy. Well, never, ever treated me any different. He wrapped her with me. He, he made me mow the yard when it would kill him, a punk kid trying to put the lawnmower. And he you're the older brother. And you do it that same. And that's the way, just the way my dad tweeted me. 

[00:12:44] I take a, Hey, treat me like it had my brother. Now he didn't put me aside, you know, anything. And I never got named call and tell them what the core kit could be pretty cool. But a lot of kids don't realize I really don't believe kids mean to be cool. I believe down until maybe when they're older and they know they're being cool. 

[00:13:02] That cool. That's a fan. Playmat me. Right. But I think when we're very little kindergarten, first and second grade, you know, whoever the bully is, you know, oh, I'm afraid of him. I will do what he said, but I always thought they were cool. I thought even a bully with a cool kid, you know, because you know, he had issues. 

[00:13:19] So like, can I say. So, so you, do you think the difficulties you had in your life helped you be more compassionate and empathetic to other people that you are able to see that even the bully had a story? Yes. I have five, uh, I hope powered Armani chairman. I don't want to take up all the time, but, um, give you an example. 

[00:13:48] The toy itself, how it all started when I was with a counselor, had to deal with a butterfly, my mother and the crayons. And so that's how all that kind of got started. And I call it the magic of crayon when I got my printed crayon box. It's in the book. And when you are talking about compassionate death, my mother and father has only taught us to care about others. 

[00:14:14] That it is. If you want to be treated that same way, we never went through. I went to church one time, both my parents died when I was eight years old, but I was invited to a church, my neighbor a couple of months before my father died. He died a week before Christmas, and then five months later, my mother died. 

[00:14:36] And then we moved from Dallas, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee. And, uh, uh, all I can remember would love. I mean, that's what all around me. And, uh, I remember one time coming home school, after my parents had died, we moved to Memphis. When I was in middle school, I would walk to the playground heading home. And there was a boy that was at nine. 

[00:15:01] And I don't know if you've heard of, we have been called merry-go-round, you know, you push him and they go around. It's a lot of fun, you know? Yeah. You get the hood on, but that was a great thing to play. Yeah, I fell off of that thing. A couple of times when I was a kid, he looked really sad. I really, but some reason for me, I just thought, and I walked back and I just said, hi, he goes, and I thought, whew. 

[00:15:29] So I kept my walking. So we had a toy in Dallas, uh, Memphis called TG and Y is like a dollar, a dollar candy store, like a Tommy diamond. He got them dominated counting five and dime store. So you can get a brown bag for 5 cents and fill it up as much candy as you want. So I went ahead and got me a bad candidate. 

[00:15:54] Then I, um, died walking home. I ate up he's of Kennedy. I'm walking home. I got to go back through that pot. And there was that boy, Joe said he looked so sad. I thought I walked up to him and I handed him the bag. He just looked at me DRO. We'll give you that about four. Whoa. I said, I just figured maybe you need a plan. 

[00:16:20] And that way I failed, I don't know what made me do, but I know somebody gave me candy. Oh boy, you made a friend. Okay. Give me a cookie. And you make some brands. Even today, you look at society. I don't care what country you're from, or your background, your color, your way. It's gender. Give anybody their favorite cookie. 

[00:16:45] And I promise you, you got a friend for life. Yeah. I agree. Amazing that the pizza can tweet. And then we forget about the anger and I'm sad with a boy. Uh 

[00:17:01] to please take it and he cook it and then he looked at me to tell when you on him, 'cause I think Joby tied it. I know who you are. I said, well, okay, that's fine. That's fine. And he said, you're not mad. Why don't you not be? I am who I am. You know, I just thought it big training. I started learning more about my money damages. 

[00:17:25] I didn't, I knew I had it cause my father and mother with my father. And so to call me a lot of stuff about me that quit, my parents died when I was eight, until I never got a chance to know what was wrong with me for, they died too early. And that was a big trauma for me because nobody I never experienced death. 

[00:17:49] My father was the first death, but it's a lot of humor involved and all that stuff that happened. But I learned as I got older, oh my God. Did I really say that when I was that age, but I would edit it. I would just talk about what I see if then the boy thought it should hit problem. He did got beaten by father, the slapped around, you know, whatever. 

[00:18:12] And I said, yeah, of course, I've talked about my dad, you know, my dad had passed away and I would say something like, well, you're lucky you still got your dad. And he goes, oh man, he got, he beats me nigga. And boy, do I look like I'm about 20 to cry, who could do that to a child? And I'm just a teenager, you know, middle school. 

[00:18:33] So we got to talk and I love grass clean. I love, uh, wrestling, kickboxing, and, um, cause I have four brothers. And so he asked me, he asked me if I played bullets and not to, well, we don't have what we have at school. We don't have breath. He goes, Hey, I love to meet. You want to, you want to work? So we worked out at the park of the grass and um, he beat me, not at me, but I still gave him a hug because they're getting a dog. 

[00:19:05] I had to get home. He had some candy left over in the bag and he just said, here take this. I didn't know, footprint before. And then they gave me a big hug and I ended up eat with Connie or, you know, but you know, making sound and he just started wiping his nose and he walked off to you. And so when Miami came. 

[00:19:31] He invited me over to the table with some old friends of his, and he would tell him me, he went around Tana by about me. Wow. That's a gap that I told you about. So it doesn't make them happy. I don't care if it's away. And I know it that night stay today, but that's just me. I don't see that, you know, I'm being Kinney. 

[00:19:54] I'm going to be Kimmy and you take me down. And, uh, I love everyone. I think we were kinder to each other all the time and overlook and look beyond the four walls that, you know, you would be amazed. You might have your graded friend right in front of you. You might have your future wife or your wife, right. 

[00:20:18] You don't know who might be your next boss? You don't let's treat each other with dignity, a wish packed. Jason, we do with Beck and dignity for a dog pet cat. I mean, I don't have pets. I love them, but it breaks my heart when I see people being so conduit an animal and not so kind to a human being. And that, that kind of bothers me. 

[00:20:40] But you know, it's still hope it's not what breed. And so that's what I'm hoping our book, my book will do for the future. More people like a toy, what you're doing. I can't thank you enough for doing it. Fat cats. And I even Google your background and wow. You know, you got quite a bit on there, you know, and I'm like, oh my God, how am I going to actually find of beautiful poetry? 

[00:21:04] You know, I love to paint too. That's something I enjoy doing. So, um, anyway, I'm going to, I can go on and on and I'm going to let Paul jump down. Got any more questions. Uh, probably a thousand. Let's see how they come out. So what, what Paul, what made you, it's kind of a dorky question. Like, so you met Kenny, you had lunch with him at the storytelling thing you were talking about. 

[00:21:34] He was telling stories. You decided to write the book. How did you start? Like how do you start telling someone else's story? Yeah. Well, first of all, it was a challenge just to interview them successfully because, um, you know, I couldn't just call them up on the phone and ask them questions. Like, what would everybody else, you know, we had to, we had to figure out how. 

[00:21:57] No, this video thing and close enough that he could read my lips and that didn't work out. Uh, you know, right. The first time I never knew anything about w we didn't, we didn't have all this technology when we really started this, or at least we didn't know about it. When, and you started the book, it took you a few years. 

[00:22:14] So it started like 2017 or something. Oh, well the book came out in, uh, 2014. Oh, it did. Yeah. And so we started at, uh, back in, I think, 2000. 

[00:22:33] Uh, no, I'm sorry. Yeah, no, no, I'm sorry, Kenny. Kenny's right. 2014 is when we started working on it, right. Yeah. And it came out then in 2020, so yeah. Um, but, uh, you know, we, we started by, we, we would travel, he, uh, I would go visit him at his house and he came to visit me in my house and we'd meet in the middle at some hotel, you know, or, um, or a city park or something. 

[00:23:01] In fact, the title of the book is, is four days with Kenny. Tedford is really, uh, referencing the first major set of interview. Which was four days that he spent at my house. And so it didn't, I intended it to be just a straight biography of his life, you know, where I would interview him and find out about his entire life story and write it. 

[00:23:21] It ended up being more like if you know, the book, uh, Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom. So it ended up being more of a book about a memoir of those four days in our house. So it wasn't just, you know, you know, first person, you know, or third person narrative of his life, but it was me interviewing him and asking him questions and the answers he was giving me. 

[00:23:43] And then me and my wife and kids who were, you know, sitting, you know, listening to him, tell his life story. So, you know, not only is Kenny a character in the book, obviously, but so are my kids and my wife and, and me, and you can see the impact that he's had. On us, just over those four days where he showed up a stranger and left a family member and just the impact that all of his stories had on me and my wife and kids over those four days. 

[00:24:08] So yeah, it, it, the interviewing process itself radically transformed the idea for the book. That's very cool. I liked, I liked that you allowed the process itself to inform the whole. Yeah, rather than being stuck in the original version that you were thinking about. I had to add something real quick from followers and contact me. 

[00:24:32] We set that up and I'd get me to go cause he, Paul, uh, hang up for four days, uh, as I was packing, you know, at the time I went out with France and church and stuff and they said, oh, I hear you're going to get your book written by a guy from where are you going? I tell him how HIO I tip. And I think the guy's a lunatic. 

[00:24:53] I never told Paul that well, I think I alluded, taken, why are you going to go see him? Because I want to plug, I bet people have tell me to write a book for 35 years and it wasn't my dream to, I've always wanted to share with the world and they go, uh, why didn't you alert tick? I said, do you know what he wants me to do? 

[00:25:10] No. He, he only gave me the finger. Like literally here, would you come? We're not going to go sightseeing. We're not going down to the river. We're not going to go to, you know, blah, blah, blah. When I go into the fair or whatever, you're not going to come here and tell me if your life story joy for him from eight in the morning to five to my boy, come home from school that afternoon. 

[00:25:35] And I. 
 

[00:25:39] I can tell the toy from eight in the morning to four, guess what I want to give her? That was not the where on the back of the patio drinking tea, I'm drinking my coffee and I apologize. Keep coming with questions. You know, usually the joy may even lead to another question. Whoa. Back up, back, up, back up. 

[00:26:01] How did that happen? Oh, okay. I tell that story and then they would probably coordinate and taking notes and it was wonderful. I mean, I had the children are fantastic. They're both white men now one's hardcore. And the other one going to call and hope you don't mind me telling them, but they grew up to find young men. 

[00:26:18] I mean, I'm very proud. I play for pilot, part of the family. It really. That's so wonderful. So you didn't have any reservations about going to this man's house for four days and you hardly know. No, it'd be the loony ticking and take all he wants. The more he does it, the more I like it. I know I love him like a brother now, you know, you get to know somebody like before we did it before you met me, uh, I don't know how, you know, how you found out about, I, I don't, I don't want I'm the white don't ask a lot of clients, not just get excited. 

[00:26:51] I would do a podcast, you know, man, hope. We all three can put a smile on my face when they finished listening to the podcast. I think it's a podcast. Right? And so that's why the whole thing is about it. You know, I really hope people will finally get a chance to get the book either on Kendo, bond, or Nova and whatever. 

[00:27:14] Um, I hope people get it. They get it on Amazon. And I'm not trying to tell her, but I'm just trying to say sure, it's available wherever people. There's a lot of toys in there. And if I'm somewhere I'd would quickly brief about the book, uh, Betsy, the life of my story to being born with a disability. Uh, they were late, but we tried all my teachers and the principal and the counselor had told my parents that, uh, Kenny, whenever Pash, the third grade, you will always begin a government check. 

[00:27:44] Like, you know, my father, father didn't want me, he call me retired. It, it said out with work class, he always played with my little brother and my two 15. I do things with damn he'll hug them. He never hooked me once. And the whole time I lived there with him. And so when you attend law, I grew up to realize it was heard live. 

[00:28:05] I didn't understand why he didn't want to hug me. I would say, I love you, but that one, I live with it. I dealt with a lot of low self-esteem and I still do today. I mean, I'm not ashamed of it. It's a part of my life. Um, joined this fucked me up. It made me feel like, Ooh, so, you know, uh, I met 

[00:28:26] and. So briefly my whole life, I bought them. They wanted one with nine children with a disability, with brain damage. I've been told I never amount to anything. And I went too far to get a match to the gate toy time. And that wasn't my plan. I'd be happy just to get a BA. And I got that in theater. So I had a lot of people who, my teachers at the time, the university I went to Gallaudet 

[00:28:58] for the deaf teacher would tell me there, you need to be an actor. You need to be a toy teller. You need to be a performer. You can demote goofiest, faith we've ever seen. Now. I'm like, 

[00:29:15] love. Sure. And I'd say. Okay, well, at least you're not damn ugly now you're goofy. And I'm like, okay, I'll take that. I'll take that. You know? And so I hear that back in elementary, I did acting in elementary, but of course, high court, I went to university, I went to three different university and all three of them, I went into theater. 

[00:29:38] Well, I be Asian acting and my so all through my life, I have dealt with a great deal of trauma from father died a week before Christmas. He was only 38. My mother died by months later, two with 42. Both of them, beautiful people. I love when my mother was an alcoholic. They abuse him when she gets mad to throw things at my brother and said, too, she never. 

[00:30:09] Uh, I heard a teacher verbally. She just be angry. Right. You know? And so I didn't understand that the child, I thought why the mama got bad. Boy, she smelled like beer whiskey. It might be out at my next notice to it in the bedroom, in the bedroom too. I'll go into the bedroom, my brother, me and my two collectors and my own next outage was our alcohol target mother during the last five months of my mother's life, because her father died. 

[00:30:41] She took it. Mother took it very hard and she was already drinking before that. And um, so I term, as I got older, How about father to father who wants nothing to do with me? He called me retarded. You'd like they did in elementary. And I kept thinking is there, my foster mother was always preaching about a guy named Jesus that loves me and I'm gone, you know, because I'm thinking, how can I manage it? 

[00:31:06] Love me, take daddy, get me another daddy that don't want me, you know, people call me retarded. They want him, they just deal with me. So I don't have to, as I got older, I know more about it. So of course, um, the thing is through the years, uh, I worked with the governor for chick here, the NAS for Tennessee, or the state director for the deaf and hard of hearing and got blaring. 

[00:31:29] Wow. And I've only been there light. Six months. And I thought I having a heart attack. So I, I had a mad, uh, had four bypass. I would take it to the hospital. And, uh, it's all the stories I'm telling you. I'm not going to keep going. They that take too long, but having the open heart surgery with there was the beginning, uh, to a PJ life that. 

[00:31:53] Well, you know, I, I could, I mean, I'm carrying a high disease and my father, my grandfather great-grandfather had, I found some mother. She died when I was 18. She never told me graduate high school, but that was her dream. But she was a beautiful woman, really. I mean, call me about love and respect, dignity. 

[00:32:12] And I learned a lot of that from her let, coming from her background and being a Christian. Faithful. And she put two taught me that, you know, forgive those who hurt you because they know not what they do. So as I got older, I thought I heard Dan in the first is better. Cause there's a part of my life. And so, uh, as I got older, Uh, we hear that too. 

[00:32:35] I had it up on her surgery. Um, I fell off a cliff and broke my neck. I got to be tomato here and they said, I'd never walk again. So, Hey, I broke the law. I can't go with a fence. I had to tell you by itself, but I remember falling off the cliff, but I didn't know my neck would work until the next morning when I went to kickboxing and my roommate tried to kick me in the side of the head with it foot. 

[00:32:59] And I combed my head. You put the move your whole body, but he's dead. I just moved my head. And back when the book I fell to the floor and I paid a lot. And so my roommate thought he did it, but it actually came from falling off the cliff. So I love it. I got the Peter triangle, middle of my throat. I hear my neck and he got three squirrels. 

[00:33:19] I will tell you by my doctor, tried to glue me over three times to get that boat, you know? And so I had to look on the blind side without leading them. But in the book, they're just talking about a guy named. Quadriplegic hope I'm saying that right. Blew through a drawl. He used wonder boy, deal with friends. 

[00:33:39] If God could ever give anybody to anybody, you would like a brother. You know, I just loved him to death, but he would kill her in a car accident a few years later after we got to know each other. And then I started healing. I started getting better. Am I feeling coming down? Uh, I got Mike in the kickboxing, uh, joined that time. 

[00:34:02] Uh, but it took two years of therapy treatment. Um, but it was actually trauma army. Cause I just finished having an open heart surgery. Then it was about, I'd say to you that a broken neck, I had a physical, you always get a physical, you know, checking you out. My Tremaine, doing good. They checked my blood and everything else. 

[00:34:23] And the doctor came in with tears and he said, I can't, I can't take this anymore. I said, what's wrong. Which should find out you have cancer and you had to, oh, that's okay too. I tried to get up and leave the office and my interpreter 10 there, 

[00:34:40] you could use a good friend of mine to, she got to hear that chief them, they would take him off it with me and I'm the chair, but he didn't say, but he said something. I tucked myself and I thought, okay, okay. If I too down, do you want me to tell when at your coaching you have Kendra colon cancer. Okay. 

[00:35:03] And I'm thinking my mind is like, okay, when I'm about to do about it, go in there and take my hand and whip out the colon. You know what? I didn't know what to call. It was so tied to play smart. Oh, that's okay. I have no idea. If you don't have that energy, I keep my to live. Wow. How did we like? And he goes, don't tell who daddy camp, you're going to live to be a hundred. 

[00:35:26] You are going to outlive. I picked you on the puddle right away and you need to go get a day. I say, I ain't going nowhere and you can't make, can I go to the mountains? I love nature. I'm a nature free. Can I go to the mountain and pray about it? He kind of looked at me like, okay, I gave you two days. 

[00:35:50] Gotcha. And my driver look pretty good to get away from me, but you've been at , but I call it a negative bio. My, I don't need that. I know she cares about me. I'm grateful. Right. Anyway, I love drove to the mountain. I have to park at the edge of a cliff and I wanted it to the cloud at Dawn. I happened to notice that, but that time I read it with thinking about doing something. 

[00:36:16] The first time I broke my neck, that was an acid law and took the book. And so I got to the edge of a cliff. And it's like, there are nine track. I could feel like I really could hear music. It's like, you're not really, you know, somewhat like you get about a book. People need to hear your stories. I go on, that's never going to have them join that for you here, you know, 20 years you can't say, when is that ever going to happen? 

[00:36:43] Because I know I don't have the brain. There's nothing wrong with me. I just don't have the knowledge on her word, put it in book form. I polled that. And other people like you. So, uh, I went back to the hospital the next morning with a bag closed. And when I bought into the heart, but the woman looked up smile. 

[00:37:06] You weren't ready. I'm like, well, I never turned out going to have to century what the dots left a note here for you. He goes, ha ha. I needed, you want to show up? So they bought a with you out, blah, blah, blah. They did the surgery, but I had a 50, 50 chance of living because I just had all these other problems, you know, cancer surgery and open heart trilogy. 

[00:37:27] And then about eight years ago, uh, I'd take seven years. I had a stroke. I was working at code for the deaf at the term, and I had a trial called the . I am done. Then a lot of the, that I had a therapy. I went back in the Kickbox, came with a warning for therapy for me, and then God bless. I started to tell him, do any traveling with Dwayne, tell him I went to the conference and that the natural storytelling conference. 

[00:37:55] And then we have the internet or tortellini, which is in Jonesborough, Tennessee. It's a large it's in the nature and the world that's late and they have a festival coming and October. So that's how I met Paul, hold on another day, my cancer story. And then somewhere that other part of the hotel, I would go with business performance motivation. 

[00:38:18] And then we just happened to, you know, we met and I sat next to me or I'd sit next to him. I can't remember if there's just the most beautiful thing when I know God had put that together. And it, because at the very end of this young lady, Presentation and storytelling to talking about love and faith and meeting the right people in your life. 

[00:38:42] She was doing, she would tell her and she handed out everybody, a red heart of at high. He put the right on. It was the best thing that happened to you. Join that conference. They put the last day or the day before the conference was over and it was in the afternoon. And so I wrote meeting my new friend, Paul, I found it and you pass it down, you know, you pass it down to the end. 

[00:39:08] Paul wrote on yet. He voted it. He handed it to me. And, uh, I don't know what happened. I don't know if he asked me or maybe I cam, what did you put where what'd the great thing happen to you? And I'd say, this is what I wrote. I hinted to Paul. Oh, my God. Look at mine. I looked at Paul, oh my friend, Kenny. 

[00:39:32] That's awesome. I know he remembered that, but that's how I knew God had plan. And so it did turn out beautiful. And so every day I had my faith talking about wake up, I'm praying that, you know, again, I'm going to be on it. I want to get back on gave appointment, uh, admitted. And, uh, so that's when I'm working on playing that out, you're working on a children's book. 

[00:39:56] I got Georgian book's idea that I want to do. And, um, so there is no stuff that, that dog condensed into a little chewy box, you know, but I all got deep joy behind it. Now I gave it back to Paul, 

[00:40:15] find the positivity, the, the, the motivation to keep healing and to keep getting. You know, I know people who have dealt with far fewer, uh, road bumps or forks in the road or a traumas that you've had. And you just seem like the Energizer bunny, you know, like there's no keeping you down, you just keep going. 

[00:40:41] How do you do that? Well, I do have my, I do have my bad day. Paul knows that I know the people around me. Um, but I tried to realize, I, I I'll be honest. I think even before I even became, you know, getting to know clients and, you know, having the pivot that keeps me going, not what I depend on a lot today is beer. 

[00:41:03] I, I do love reading the Bible. I take at C I T the one that I'm not trying to get religious here, but Jesus, the way he walked on this earth and the way he would treat it, I'm thinking I'm no better. I'm nowhere near, you know, better than him or anybody else. So. Every day, even me to you, if it, before we met Paul tech, me, I tell your tech and it said, I'm talking to traffic. 

[00:41:31] The first thing I tell her, let her get home safe. Oh, that's very, so it's all I care about. Why don't you go home and say, you know, and then Paul text me, he goes, it's going to be six 30. Is that okay? And that's, that's fine with me. And it's still on, you know, so what some people might call it, the little thing. 

[00:41:51] To me or the great thing in life, you know? So I try to look at it. Like I look forward to the future, do two more podcasts at home. I'll potentially I be getting out there to man days. Uh, I miss it. I met her tremendously. I met at the university of Tennessee, uh, uh, middle way where the east Tennessee state university and Johnson city, I taught with one or two and Dell culture. 

[00:42:23] I love the time. I mean, uh, I, all that I'm doing now, it's all. I don't know how you, you went off, you don't have to hear noise. I need to hear noise to know that you're speaking, but take that off. Take the airplane down. Got to cop to the cow. Can't tell them, I think that what y'all tell you, it's just the cow. 

[00:42:42] Come on. Okay. I need to tell you, I hear you to take duct. Am I going to know that duct in the low? I think that's right anyway. Yeah, you're right. Okay. I'm going to be your grandfather, but I'm still learning Mike. You're only 15 years older than me. 

[00:43:04] I'd be like my grandpa. Once you hear the word, I'll be 70 men and I can't wait. So now I'm living a whole new life. It's a senior citizen, man. You won't believe what freer fair. If this count the way people treat you, like when I drop a book or if I drop anything to come to all these people can help you. 

[00:43:23] And I'm like, geez. Yeah, you're not going to have you follow me wherever I go. So I'm loving it. I it's another, it's another part of my life. But being a senior citizen is like fun. I don't think of the thing. It it's. I think of the habit. What comes with it? That's awesome. You know, I have already lost. I told you about my two chip and my brother from my father. 

[00:43:48] You know that family, well, they all pass away in the last 10 years. So, uh, uh, brother pathway 14 years ago and then, uh, to tip, to pass away, man, 10 years ago and they both died for my support. Excuse me. Like, so. I have lost a lot of loved one. I now have all my brother and the slab. I went into that joint. 

[00:44:14] Cool. I'll take that way. But three of my brothers are very sick, but they're doing good. They're doing, they're fighting, but they're dealing with, but the world. So, uh, I felt like a spring chicken. So now I'm the baby. You're the baby. So that I'm looking at it. It's tough now, but come on. And so I, you know, I live alone. 

[00:44:36] I mean, you know, but, uh, I make the beds. I've when I know I'm going to talk to Paul or something, I get excited. I mean, maybe he doesn't, I don't got to kidding again. You know, I'm joking and I can't see him there. He is. You're tied to feed. Y'all a little baby people. You're the big slot. You're the queen, you know that Paul and me you're in the middle like there, but then I see a big picture of your thank God. 

[00:45:02] And that's how I read your lips. If sometimes, if I don't see you, Paul would be my translator or you can ask him a question. He would ask me the question and then I'll just ask it. Cause the audience that team anyway, I don't think people are going to see. Well, there is a YouTube channel for the podcast and there are, there are people who, who prefer to watch instead of just listen. 

[00:45:27] So it goes, it goes out on all the podcasting platforms and that's where the majority of the audience members are. But some of them do watch it on YouTube. I wasn't as good ad club captain, if I'd be some kind of a thing that you can get put on there and it caught catch it, it's not good for the deaf senior citizen. 

[00:45:47] And a lot of people who don't understand English or reading words, you know? So if you can get that, that'd be not doctor, you know? Yeah. Sometimes I watch videos with the sound off, so it doesn't wake my husband up. So I like to read the, I can do anything without it. You know, the time I get to make sense, otherwise the video doesn't make. 

[00:46:13] about being devastated. I have fun with it. And I live in between. I love Bebe's team MITRE, detective, when I was out of that, who did it. And then when I'm done, I never fail. I got my mode 70. I'll be 70 next year. It was exactly, maybe it was a boy for 10. We got a TV. When I was little, I wanted the motor imagery. 

[00:46:34] It's always looked at my gun, a gun on somebody and they in the living room, you know, and I've done all the light, goes out. My pulling out the light, the light comes back on the button with a gun it's gone and there's a dead body on the floor. Right. But the talking and the. I'm going to find out club captain. 

[00:46:55] And so I get fun out it because once the light cut back, what did she come from? I didn't know she was going to win. And so that me though, I got to be creative. Not that they helped a lot about my performance to be able to tell when I tell my domain, I want you to feel it. When I talk about firing off the clear I go into details and I tell you the big guy to me, audio bodybuilder, don't go grabbing a girlfriend or their wife or their boyfriend or their, you know, they're just grabbing them like, you know, and I'm like, this is fun. 

[00:47:29] You know, you get to watch your eye and you know, that's awesome. And when I talked about my mom and dad personally, I see a lot of tears and that means a lot to me. Wow. Yeah, I do. Um, uh, I teach high school English out. That's my, that's my job. And, uh, every. Here I do a storytelling narrative project with the students and I give them three minutes and they have to tell a slice of a story, find the kernel of something that they want to tell that they want to share. 

[00:48:10] And then describe the hell out of it. We did that. Tell the kids, that's what I lived out there. They get a master's degree. They're way up there. You're good. It's like three minutes or five minutes. And then, you know, that's what I have learned. I met teaching. I really do. And so that's great. I'm glad to hear your teacher. 

[00:48:29] They, they, they love it at first. They like freak out because they don't, I give them such broad topics so that they can kind of really just tell any story, but I don't let them bring notes up with them. Memorize your first line and memorize your last line and know your roadmap on how to get from the beginning to the end and just tell the story. 

[00:48:51] Well, I got part like I gotta to get back. I'm like, dang, if God willing someday I can talk making performance and I might be in your area. There'll be ask them if gets, get speaker Paul, come with me. That'd be great. Could we, we completed the whole school and give toys, you know, that'd be pretty cool. I think going to be a great opportunity to say hello to you in person. 

[00:49:14] So, so, so Paul, what, what about the stories that Kenny tells and his life experience too? Did you want to share, like what, what aspects about that? Did you find the most touching or that affected your, your wife and your kids or, or, you know, like, I want to know what, what about him moves you? Yeah, so, you know, I started this project thinking about Kenny as, as you know, me as the author and him as my subject. 

[00:49:46] And so. You know, my job was to, uh, find out about his past, but it kinda morphed into me being the student and him being the teacher, um, of me just learning his life wisdom, you know, for example, um, you know, you were asking about, you know, how, how can he be so resilient after all of these, you know, you know, terrible things that have happened to him. 

[00:50:11] He's like a cat, you know, he can't kill the guy. I'm thinking like a Phoenix rise. Um, I can say the cabin nine live, but I don't know how many love to laugh. Okay. Right. So one of the things I realized was how he does that is, um, you know, people will, in fact, he is, uh, members of his family. I know in the past have when, when the little kids will come up and ask him questions, like, how come you talk funny and how come, you know, when he was in a wheelchair for a while, you know, how come you're in a wheelchair and how. 

[00:50:42] You know, you're different and you know, they would get chastised. Oh, don't ask that question. You know, that's embarrassing or don't, you know, don't say that and they'd get hushed and, and shoot away. And Kenny would always, you know, tell the parents, no, don't, don't, don't do that. Let, let them ask. They're just curious. 

[00:50:59] They just want to learn. And he, so he would say, well, let me explain to you why I talk different than why I don't hear. Right. And why, you know, you know, he would explain, just explain it to them. And he said, you know, kids are just curious. They, they're not trying to be cruel. They just, they just want to know. 

[00:51:14] And if you don't let them ask those questions, they're never going to learn. And so, you know, he, he deals with it by just being direct and honest about it. He, you know, he, like he said a few times, um, you know, he is who he is. He's not trying to pretend that he's not who he hit us. Uh, you know, he's, he's got a number of different challenges that most of us don't have. 

[00:51:37] Uh, he just deals with them. And, and that's another thing that we learned and I think I would credit my wife for having figured this out. You know, you asked, um, were there any reservations about doing this project and having him come and spend these four days and there were on both sides? Honestly. I mean, I know Kenny told me he was worried that he wouldn't have enough interesting stories to, you know, for me to write a book about, well, the concern that my wife and I had was how are we going to make this guy comfortable in our home, right. 

[00:52:05] With all of these challenges that he has. And we, we didn't know how to deal with them. And you know, she, and she has the, you know, the homemaker here, she was especially worried about that. How am I going to make this man comfortable in my home? Uh, you know, when he's going to drive here and you know, how is he, how is he going to get here? 

[00:52:23] And, you know, do we w which room does he need to sleep in and what does he need to eat and how do we need to treat him? And you know, what extra things do we need to have around the house? And by the time he left. You know, I realized in all of those challenges, Kenny had were a problem for me, me, her, it was a problem for me. 

[00:52:42] But then after four days I realized Kenny lives with those challenges every day and they don't seem to be a problem for him. So why were they a problem for me? And so they stopped being a problem for her because they weren't a problem for Kenny. And so w you know, we got to let go of that concern and that worry, and that anx that, you know, what are we going to do to make everything okay. 

[00:53:03] Make all these accommodations for Kenny. And we didn't realize we were putting limitations on him that he didn't even have. Wow. And so it was very beyond just hospitality. It went beyond. That and, and yeah, it was thanks Dee for your, for you both. Yeah. W well, we thought we needed to go beyond just being hospitable and make all these accommodations for him. 

[00:53:26] And the truth is we did, because he knew how to deal with them. He didn't need us to make all those accommodations, you know, cause he spent a lifetime figuring out how to accommodate himself. Um, so that was, I think that was growth full for us. And I would imagine that in, in, so doing, in learning how to accommodate himself, we're talking about you Kenny in the third person, sorry. 

[00:53:56] Um, that he's, he's emulating how we kind of should all be with our own lives. You know, that, that, that things that we. Get stuck on that trip us up. That don't go the way we want them to, or that, that don't seem to be working out the way we had thought they might, instead of getting all upset about them, except what is accommodate, what you can about yourself and then move on. 

[00:54:30] Yeah, exactly. And it's not just, um, those kinds of things, but also, I mean, I wouldn't even say it more directly. We, we all have our own challenges, our own abilities and disabilities, you know, like, and my wife and I came to this realization after those four days with him, um, you know, our kids have learned that if you need directions on how to get somewhere, do not ask dad, like I can literally get lost. 

[00:54:57] And literally, and I've done this more than once gotten lost in my own name. You know, and so, and the kids know it and they just laugh about it. And if they need directions, they go to mom and they've, they've both learned that if they need help with their math, go to dad and mom is not going to be much help for you there. 

[00:55:12] So we both have our own disabilities and abilities and, um, and we've, we've learned to deal with them. Like, I'm, I'm never going to get good at directions. And she's like, she promises, she's never going to get any better at math. Um, and that's just okay. And, you know, we're, and we're fine. But, but if we tried to deny that and pretend that, oh, I'm just as good at directions as anybody. 

[00:55:35] Well, that's going to create a problem because I'm going to get lost more and other people are too. And you know, so I think Kenny's honesty about what his strengths and weaknesses are, is, um, is, is insightful for all of us. It makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. I know I have strengths that my husband doesn't have in. 

[00:55:59] And if my daughter calls from college and has a question about her car, God help her. If she asks me, right. So she calls him, but if she wants to know a medical thing or, you know, I'm an English teacher, so she wants pate help with the research paper. I'm her girl, you know? Right, right. Hi, I think real quick about may of course. 

[00:56:24] Good. Going back to a pile of content about me getting to know me and all that accommodate and blah, blah, blah. But I getting a mate, you know what to do would help you have Kenny. I still get that until we get that. Um, well, one thing I love about the toy, Paul, he, you know, I think I've told him, but after I left Paul, I came home and I was like, oh God, that was one of, I wish I could date another week. 

[00:56:45] Uh, tell me any more joy. And um, do I have, when I went my friend at the table, you know that Tom, he was a lunatic. They got, how would, how would Paul they're lunatic? Will you quit saying that? Well, you said it. Okay. You know, Paul, and don't how they got to know him. Everybody that told them to hear that. 

[00:57:02] Okay, well, I've got to meet them all. And now they liked Paul. I think that they like him better than me, so I just gotta live with it. And so I tell people now when they're taking, how do you, how would Paul, how do you like his house? Oh my God. You won't believe it died playing to him, but the house of fireplace back poets, the deck, and then, and they go, what are you sleeping? 

[00:57:23] You won't believe it. Palm put me in the basement. And then it's funny because then our mind, we're not, you're catching. He put you in the basement, you know? And, um, when I talked to older people, they think it's just a basement. Like we put people when they're in trouble and lock the door, you know, let the kids out. 

[00:57:41] I go nice. He asked me he had a room set up for me upstairs and I, I didn't want to go. I don't want that. I want to go down, let me teach them dance. I went down and said, it's an apartment, it's an apartment. And so when a corner there, the couch, I hope it comfortable. Use your blanket, your quail, your pillow. 

[00:58:04] I need a treat the pillow and I'm going to go sleep in vodka, but we have a bed upstairs. Now. I haven't slept in abandoned 15. Oh, I love that we click on it, but it's so cushy. It's like my mind hacking me every time. And so I do sleep with the sheet metal. I need don't recline my graded thing. And Bob realized that the bud light, you know, so he would learn about me and so that everybody, I think the number one thing that we already kind of realize all of us have a disability and one thing, even I have it, everybody with a disability, I didn't get what nationality, religion, gender, whatever we all have. 

[00:58:55] When we thought thinking don't learn about other people. One thing we don't seem to ever learn. If your, what kind of attitude. Wow. Go. We all have the same. Know, I'd say to my mouth, I grew up in it's town. Okay. I up they'll do, but you know, when I'd grown up, I fought the father hated the black. Then he would say bad fades. 

[00:59:19] And I'd say, why don't you keep doing that? You're not even notably Facebook, you know? And it's in my book about riding on the back of a bus. And so that fascinated, I learned a lot about other people. Culture had the greatest time in my life, uh, about people that are different than me. And that's another thing I think I just love to do. 

[00:59:38] I want to get to know somebody who is different than me. I'm now I, I B I'm going to be up fine. I tell, I teach at the university. Um, there were actually some people coming up to me. You can't tell, don't got to be careful about, you got a lot of people in your class that you know, that you got done that are transgender go, oh, oh man. 

[00:59:59] I can't wait. No, no, you can't say anything. Why aren't you there students? Don't my food. It, without them seeing the transgender, I'd see him in my studio. Right. So that's the bottom line. Everybody come through that door. It's my duty. And I always introduce myself. Hi, I'm Kenny. Oh, you're the professor. I heard you're Canadian. 

[01:00:22] I'm going to leave my class, leave my class and my good buddy to go. Don't let Jamie he's an idiot with anything, you know? And so the kid, the students already realized I want to have a good time. Yeah. I want you to learn about you. If you don't have. I bet your kid love you. You've got the joy of teaching and that's 

[01:00:50] why I call it kids at my, I just had a blast every day. Every time I went to class, it was fun. It would find it really was. And I'm grateful for the chat. I hope to do it again sometime, maybe, but who knows? That's awesome. That's awesome. This has been a lovely conversation, um, to, to wind down each of the interviews, I do a six, seven quick questions. 

[01:01:12] Um, and it's a little different talking to two people at the same time, so maybe we'll take turns, you know, and see how it goes. So the first question is what six words would you use to describe yourself? You? Yeah, both of you, uh, uh, compassion, love, love. Excellent. 

[01:01:45] Yes, I agree. 

[01:01:53] No, but sick. Nobody's say joy boy. That's a lovely lift. Kenny, how about you, Paul? Six words. Uh, how about a citizen? Scientist, storyteller and Kenny Tedford's biographer. There you go. All right. Well, number two, what's your favorite way to spend a day? What is your favorite way to spend a day? Hiking. I love, I live about a mile and a half from there. 

[01:02:31] Take park. Uh, or I go to any park bench if it's kinda late or whatever. Uh, I'm a water person, but I loved her and I love to fish. So whenever I can, if I had some people to fish with, but you know, it's more fun when you've got somebody with you, but I like hiking. I love going to the woods. I love my next big dream is the log cabin, but that's another whole, 

[01:02:58] yeah, for me, it'd be learning. Uh, I'm taking a page out of county Tedford's book. He, uh, um, he went back to school and at the age of 55, got a master's in storytelling. Uh, so I'm in my mid fifties now and I'm actually in school in a degree program in astrophysics of all things. Wow. We'll see where that leads. 

[01:03:17] That's awesome. I am, um, I will be 54 in a month. Ish. And I, uh, on June 6th of this year and beginning my third master's program and this time in mental health counseling, when I retire from teaching, I will be a therapist. There you go. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you. I woke up December 1st, 2021, just a few months ago with this apifany that this was my next step. 

[01:03:49] And I turned to my husband and I expected him to like laugh at me, you know, like you're going to be 54. What are you're crazy? And he was like, great. That's so exciting. That's kind of the way it worked with me too. So yeah, we're on a similar, similar path with different times. I just love going to school. 

[01:04:08] I love learning things. I just love the whole process of it. And, and it'll be a treat to be on the other end of the, the teaching and learning. Give and take for. You know, I like that. I like that. Okay. Childhood memories. What's your favorite childhood memory? My greatest memory is hanging out with my mom and dad at Christmas. 

[01:04:36] Uh, they always made sure that we, uh, we, we have fun. I mean, I felt so much lab. Uh, at the time I never knew I had a health problem, itching, anything my mom got that way every time and all that other stuff was never brought up a bit. Christmas is a fun time. I love 

[01:05:03] Of course, of course. Paul favorite childhood memory. Yeah, my might be, uh, I'd love baseball growing up in my, uh, my little league baseball team won the state championship one year. And so I remember being very proud of that. Um, Well, I found out many years later from my dad that I wasn't very good at baseball anyway, but, but at least for most of those years I had a memory of being very good. 

[01:05:25] So I thought it was for a while. Well, maybe you were good for your age and his memory was skewed. Who knows? Um, okay. What, number four. What is your favorite meal? You might take it Mexican. I grew up in Jackson, Mexican. I have a buffet lunch and dinner at night. Mexican food sushi for me. I love sushi. I love them both, but I could do sushi three, four nights a week. 

[01:05:53] Easy sushi. Yeah. But, uh, yeah, I will. Um, so good. 

[01:06:07] Okay, more tacos for you 

[01:06:17] in a way. That's great. There's actually a restaurant near me that makes a delicious fish taco, but it's all this, you know, the Mexican tomatoes and the spices, but the, but the protein in the taco is, is fish delicious. I am drive one yet, but I'm thinking about, we have a lot of that apparent here. I may give it a shot. 

[01:06:44] That's good. That's good. Um, okay. Number five. What one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self? To my younger town, to love myself, don't give up. There's always hope Donald Joey there. That's true. That's true, Paul. Yeah, mine would probably be a start studying that astrophysics a few decades sooner. 

[01:07:17] Do you have a goal in mind with that? Do you want to teach, do you want to work as an astrophysicist to you or you're just learning new stuff? Neither of those. It's mostly just to learn out of my own morbid curiosity, but, um, but if I did do something practical with it, it would be, instead of writing a business books, it would be to write, write science book someday, not textbooks, but for a lay audience. 

[01:07:39] So, uh, but I don't really need a practical outcome. I'm really just doing it for the love of learning. So that'd be successfully the way I was actually thinking last night, my husband had this very boring. Sorry, but very boring space exploration documentary on as a way of like lulling himself to sleep. 

[01:08:00] And so I went to bed with this thought in my head. I took an astronomy class in college as an undergrad, and I didn't understand how to do the math involved in figuring out all of the things that I was supposed to figure out. And so it was so much math and much less about like what the planets were made of or why certain things were this way or composition or, you know, rotation of what is, or whatever. 

[01:08:39] It was, all this math stuff. And I was, I was completely, completely turned off. It made no sense to me. What's. Yeah, that's not surprising. And it's a very common observation slash complaint. Yeah. The astronomy physics is a, it is a lot of math, but, uh, but I enjoy that part as well. So, well, like the conversation, I was fine, but have me try to do the calculations on my own. 

[01:09:05] There was no way, like we know our strengths. That is not one of mine. Exactly. You know, so I can follow along when someone else is doing the work, but I can't, my brain just doesn't work that way and I've learned to accept it. Um, okay. Number six. What is one thing you would most like to change about the world is say that again? 

[01:09:27] What is one thing you would most like to change about the world? 

[01:09:36] David again, it would just love the poets as they are. Don't try to change anybody. Just love one, whatever, add new that's empty, where you have to add. And then when you bought get together, you can always be friends. Oh, wait. That's awesome. Yeah. And this is probably just informed by current events right now, but I, I think I'd like for all countries, governments, to be satisfied with where their national borders are and leave them there, leave them and move on. 

[01:10:08] Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. The last question is somewhat frivolous. I want to know what kinds of things you like to watch on TV? The dad again, what do you like to watch on television? Me? I could say BBC MITRE, detective. I love to use my brain and figure out who did it at the end. You know, many times I lose it and I'm like, it can't be that the night Walmart, he's just a nice guy. 

[01:10:41] Cause you only hear it. I grew up and thought with the Butler show, it's always the Butler. And I kept thinking why they keep blaming him all the time. You know? So I love BBC. We did Brenda, bloody and all that and they don't cut it, but we do in America. So I liked that. I don't care my cousin part. Mm. I agree with you. 

[01:11:05] I agree with you. I like a lot of the things the BBC puts out and Paul TV shows. Yeah, my wife and I enjoy watching, uh, you know, crime and hospital dramas and stuff like that. Um, it's, you know, it's all much more exciting than, uh, than the work that we both do. So, you know, nobody, nobody dies or goes to jail or anything in, in the line of work that we're in. 

[01:11:26] So anything like that is, uh, uh, more interesting, but we're certainly glad that we don't actually do that morning. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. I like, I like hospital dramas, but I don't and even legal things, but I don't very much like police criminal crime things. I, I, I think that my I'm a little overly sensitive when it comes to things like that and shows like that gives me nightmares. 

[01:11:53] Yeah, no, yeah. It upsets me. Well, gentlemen, I am so excited to finally met you. This was really a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedules and, and chatting with us. This has been really. I had a ball, pointed it as you can see, I tell him why didn't finish doing what I do a lot. 

[01:12:15] I get excited. I got a fellow, my inner child has never grown up. And I talked to Paul lot of time when I've been at podcasts or Paula, I hope I didn't embarrass you by going. I'm just kidding. I did feel like a kid. That's another thing I haven't grown up. My inner child keep like refusing to grow up my outer side. 

[01:12:38] I'm getting older. Hey, I love it. But my inner child, when you do something, you gave me a flower. Don't give me a butterfly, not get excited. You know? And I'm talking about being more like, you know, other old men that are younger, like Paul carving. Well, what do you say? What do you say that, you know, I mean, positive, great guy, but I'm just making fun of him. 

[01:13:01] I feel like a child. I just feel like a little boy and I didn't have any grown up and I love it. I think we would do better to be like that. Kenny, I think too many of us have lost touch with our inner child, have lost touch with play and laughter and joy. And I think I know my life would be better with a little more of that. 

[01:13:25] So thank you for reminding me. Yeah. With the buggy comparing me between you Helen Keller and five. So I take them both in the day. All they're both resilient folks. Awesome. Thanks for doing what you do. Thank you so much. This is really been great.

(Cont.) Permission to Heal Episode #73 - A Conversation with Paul Smith & Kenny Tedford about Finding More Love and Compassion
(Cont.) Permission to Heal Episode #73 - A Conversation with Paul Smith & Kenny Tedford about Finding More Love and Compassion