My Life Story for a class called personal Development
My name is John Paul Jackson. Born to Mark and Susie Jackson of Denver, Colorado, it was my unfortunate fate to begin life with cerebral palsy. I had a level III ventricular bleed which caused damage to the central nervous system. This damage caused me to have blurry vision along with malfunctioning lungs. One-third of my right lung had to be removed which at the time was replaced with sixteen chest tubes. A machine breathed two hundred breaths a minute for me.
Returning home from the hospital, I went straight into physical therapy to learn how to crawl and eventually to walk. Because I was a poor eater, my mom and help from many doctors came up with foods I would eat. Rice, bacon, gravy, peanut butter, and oatmeal were the staples of my existence. A strange combination but that food gave me the strength I needed.
At the age of eight, I had my legs reconstructed by a doctor in Houston, Texas. The doctor turned both my femurs to straighten them; he released my abductors and stretched my hamstrings all the way to the back. I was placed in a full body cast for six weeks. This surgery allowed me to have the best possible mobility. For my family and me all of this was well worth the effort. After my freedom from the body cast, I went to physical therapy for a whole year so that I could learn to walk again.
My ultimate goal and motivation for my life was to be able to play basketball. I had it in my mind that I could play basketball for the NCAA and then one day play for the Houston Rockets. I had played basketball with the Special Olympics, and with my school, The Hill School of Ft. Worth, Texas from sixth grade through my senior year. I was a really good shooter. This allowed me to push my body to the limit. I was in the gym everyday running and building up my body so that I could go the distance. Even though I didn’t get to play much I still loved the sport. Basketball was and still is a huge part of my life. I hope to work with an NBA basketball team and push them the extra mile.
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it keeps no record of wrongs. Who do I love the most? What do I love the most? That is a good question. I love my mom, my dad, my older sister, my two younger brothers, my brother-in-law, my aunts, uncles, and my cousins. I love them because of their wonderful support and love they have shown me.
Another person I love dearly is my good friend Brady Gunn, my spiritual mentor, whom I met during my freshman year of high school while he was volunteering as a youth intern at Alta Mesa Church of Christ. He has helped me through so many hardships; he’s been there for me during the good times and the bad. He has taught me so much and I’m so thankful for this friendship. However, Brady has told me on many occasions that I have also impacted his life. I have been an inspiration to him as he has watched me continue with my education, work through troubling time and my constant encouraging of others who are more fortunate than I am.
I have five other friends I love dearly. My buddies, Jeff and Hunter, I met in the sixth grade and we became fast friends. They have always had my back. They are my brothers from other mothers. I met Matt during my sophomore year of high school but we didn’t become friends until we lived together for five months in Perth, Western Australia. I met Tye last year during Christmas and found out he served in the U.S. Army. I tipped my hat to him for his brave service. Then there was Lauren Shockley who I met on a two-week leadership camp in Colorado. We met at the park while we were on a break and as we talked, I burst out a few raps that she loved. We exchanged numbers and have been talking ever since. We have developed a strong brother/sister relationship. She has helped me regain my confidence by the encouraging things she says to me. An example of this is when she told me that I have more wisdom about women than other guys my own age. It is frightening to think about this because I’ve never been in a long relationship with a woman, yet I have all this wisdom. She told me that whoever marries me will be the luckiest girl in the world. When I heard this, I broke down and cried.
Change – there have been lots of changes throughout the years, changes that not only affected me but my entire family as well. Because I was born with cerebral palsy, it was dramatically different from the usual family life. I received most of the attention so my siblings had to sacrifice a lot of their childhood. My sibling’s childhood consisted of my doctors appointments and therapy sessions. Every time an appointment was scheduled Joel, my younger brother, would be pulled out of class and he would miss some of his favorite parts of the day. So my parents and siblings had to sacrifice a great deal in order to help me get stronger and I’m thankful for that.
One change that helped me to learn how to live independently was my five month long stay in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. I had to trust in GOD more than ever before because my family wasn’t there. I learned how other countries view America and it changed my thinking about my country. Because of my time in Australia, I don’t view the U.S. government with as much importance as I used to. The U.S. President is just an ordinary person and they are just like me when they get out of office. Each politician’s terms are up and they go back to being a normal U.S. citizen like you and me, as Barack Hussein Obama will do. That’s what Australia taught me. It also taught me how to network and make connections, which I’m doing now here in Leesburg, Florida. Australia taught me real independence. Australia changed my life in that way.
Empathy and Self-Control
For as long as I can remember, I have been told that I have great empathy for others. I’ve also been told that I’m psychic because if I spend enough time with someone, I can tell what makes them happy, what makes them sad, what makes them angry, and what’s holding them back from achieving all the things they want if life. When I was living in Australia, I spent time with a neighbor of where I was staying. This person was very, very negative when I first met them. When they smiled I could tell it was fake, when they laughed I knew it was fake and I sensed that everything else about them was fake. They put on a false front so they could fool everyone into thinking everything was okay, but I saw right through it. So I took it upon myself to help them see the positive side of what life had to offer.
When it comes to self-control, it’s still a learning process for me because I have a temper. I get very angry when people take advantage of me or use me to get to the top. I have helped encourage and lift up people and sometimes they leave me hanging. When I feel angry I lift weights for about an hour, then I listen to music from the Demon Hunter, War of Ages, The Famine, or Eminem. Once I’ve worked out my feelings I relax to the spiritual or soaking music that I enjoy. Another way I keep my attitude under control and in check is by spending time with GOD by praying and reading his word.
Wisdom – What is wisdom? Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment the quality of being wise.
-the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment: some questioned the wisdom of building the damn so close to an active volcano.
-the body of knowledge and principles that develops within a specified society or period: the traditional farming wisdom of India.
Where do I get my wisdom? I get my wisdom from being around people who are older and wiser than me, by listening to people who have had experiences different from mine and by experiencing as many different things as I can. Wisdom is an open mind to take in the events of the world which is always changing with new things to learn.
My Bible gives me another source of wisdom. To gain wisdom about myself I look for Bible passages that relate to me in this season of my life. I receive wisdom from televangelist such as John Hagee, Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Sid Roth and inspirational movies such as Forest Gump.
What am I committed to? I’m committed to my family, and committed to God. But what does commitment mean to me? It means holding on tight to something I’m passionate about. What am I passionate about? I’m passionate about my faith, my friends and family, and basketball. At this stage of my life I am committed to completing school, having a good career and being committed to a family and providing for them.
I’m also committed to bringing a positive light to a dark and negative world. Committed to bringing a positive outlook to someone who has a negative outlook. I’m committed to putting a smile on someone’s face every day and encouraging one person each day. If I’ve reached that goal then my life has been complete for that day.
Happiness to me is doing what I love. I love to encourage and lift people’s spirits. I’m happy when someone I’ve encouraged is stronger than they were when we first met. Another thing that makes me happy is when someone remembers me after all my encouraging work. I really can’t rate happiness because it varies from day to day.
I’m most happy in the presence of God, getting information from him and spending time with him. It makes me happy when I get up in the morning and spend time with God in his word and in praying with him. When one of my friends decides to give their life to Jesus through baptism, I am ecstatic; I’m even happier when my prayers from other people come to pass.
Self – Respect
What does self-respect mean to me? Self-respect means loving yourself and treating yourself the way you treat others. I treat others better than I treat myself most of the time. I lift people up every single day instead of myself. Now, I know what you’re thinking – John Paul when I see you, you’re always happy. What are you talking about? My answer: I sometimes put on a face when I’m in front of people so they don’t see the pain I have inside. Could I improve on this? Some time ago, I was with a really good friend and I was telling them my feelings. They said that that, is not the John Paul I know! If you really get to know me you will understand my feelings and even call me out on it.
When I hear someone talk about what hardships they’ve been through and how they have overcome them that gives me hope. It gives me a stronger faith. What is faith? Faith is hoping and believing in the things unseen. I have a faith and a hope in Jesus whom I’ve never seen.
What do I hope for the next 10 to 20 years? I hope to have completed school in December 2015, and then continue on to get a Bible degree. I hope to work as a sports Chaplin. I hope to be a Prayer Minister for broken homes and broken families. By 2017, I hope to be married to a beautiful God-fearing woman and to begin a family with her. I hope God will use my wife and me to restore broken hearts and dreams of people. I hope my family will have a stronger bond throughout the coming years. I also hope, I hear those wonderful words: Welcome home my good and faithful servant.
Friendship is very important to me. If I find someone I can connect with and laugh with that is very important. Good friends have deep conversations but they are also someone who can point out flaws that need to be corrected.
My brother, Joel, and I have always been best friends even through the brotherly arguments. He has always had my back and I’ll always have his. He is like Moses because he doesn’t like to talk much and I’m more like Aaron because I love to talk.
My therapist and mentor, Nerine, will forever be a friend. She used a therapy that open up passages to the brain and she had also helped people who had been institutionalized move into independent living. She was just what I needed. While living with Nerine in Perth, Australia, I learned how to wash clothes, make a bed from scratch, vacuum and network. I worked with the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and with the Lakeside Basketball Team. She nurtured me, guided me, and taught me to become the independent person I am now.
Teresa has become another very good friend of mine. She and I hooked up over my pedicure and manicure treatments. She helps me stay on top of this and helps me to look as good as I do. I drop in to say “hi” to her every day even without an appointment. I think God brought her into my life for a reason and visa versa. We encourage each other to be the best that we can be.
Another friend I met who I really care for is my friend Jamie. I met her through a mutual friend and found out she cuts hair just down the road from campus. I tried to set up my first appointment with her but she was very hard to get an appointment with because she is always booked. When I finally got the appointment she made me feel welcome and she was fun to have a conversation with. Over the course of time that I have had to get to know her, she has been one of my best friends. I have never had any one to talk to and I love her dearly because I can talk to her about almost anything. Jamie is one of the coolest people I have gotten to know and I’m very thankful God placed her in my life.
When I met Amanda, Savanna, and Socha, my candle girls, they work at the Swan Creek Candle Shop. They are a great trio that I visit every day. They make me laugh my head off along with just being great people to talk with.
When I return home to Ft. Worth, I get together with my friends from high school and church. William and I met in third grade at Hill School, and over the years through high school we become really good friends. He even told me that I was the best friend that he had ever made and that he was very thankful for our friendship. One Christmas he asked me to go to the Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert. I didn’t know much about them and I thought it might be boring; boy was I wrong! That show was amazing so we try to go together every year. Last Christmas many of my friends got together in downtown Ft. Worth to enjoy each other’s company and to take in the Christmas lights and spirit. We had a blast!
I have made so many friends over the years; it has been really hard to just talk about a few close friends because everyone I meet I love dearly. I’m very happy that God placed them all in my life.
Personal Mission Statement
My personal mission statement is that the only person stopping me from getting what I want is me, so I won’t ever quit and I will live for the life to come!