Today is a new day. I am re-launching the Jim Kennedy Leadership Cafe. Over the past year, I have written here and elsewhere about how my role as a parent has shaped my leadership philosophy. The response that I received was nice but it was clear that people wanted to know more about my role as a parent. Specifically, readers wanted to know about my life as a special needs Dad. My goal is to serve you the reader so if that is what you want, then that is what you will get. I am honored to serve you.
I am the father of three children. My oldest was born very premature (24 weeks, 6 days), is a surviving triplet (yes, we lost two children within their first 10 days of life), and spent her first three months of life in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As a result, she was born deaf and with a mild case of cerebral palsy. My middle and youngest children were born on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). They were siblings born a little over a year apart into very challenging circumstances. Although their Mom gave her best effort, she realized that she could no longer care for them and placed them in foster care with the goal of putting them up for adoption. We adopted them as older children (ages 9 and 10) but soon realized that they had educational and developmental delays. As a result, my wife and I are in the unique position of caring for three children with a variety of needs.
In my book, Discerning God’s Purpose: A Father’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph, I wrote about the lessons that I learned regarding understanding my purpose as a Dad and the road that I traveled in learning to be the best Dad that I could be. We have been fortunate enough to navigate the various challenges and all of our kids are making great progress but it hasn’t always been easy. Many have asked me to share my experiences in the hope of helping others. I am always happy to do so; however, after looking around on-line, I realized that there weren’t a lot of resources talking about parent leadership where it relates to raising special needs kids. So as of today, Ta-Da, our new journey begins.
In my blog, I will write about my experiences as a special needs parent and the tips, tools, and techniques that I use in raising my children. I’m not perfect and I have made plenty of mistakes, but I will share my experiences in the hope that you find it useful. I am also looking for feedback. If there is an area that you would like for me to discuss in greater detail, let me know. If there are resources that you find useful, please share. The idea is to make this a community where resources may be shared. I don’t know where this blog will ultimately lead, but I am willing to take the first step.