By Josh Shipp
Hey, I’m Josh Shipp – Award-winning teen expert featured on CNN, Good Morning America, and in the NY Times, which I’ll tell you about in just a moment.
But before I get into my story, I want to let you in on something quite shocking:
Statistically speaking, I’m supposed to be dead, in jail or homeless. I don’t say that to alarm you, it’s unfortunately the reality.
As a foster child growing up, my odds of success or even the chance at a normal life were bleak to say the least.
Sadly, the research shows:
– 20% of foster kids end up homeless
– Less than 3% will go on to get a college degree
– Only half will be gainfully employed by the time they are 24
To make things worse, as a teenager I was every parent’s worst nightmare. I mean that. I was actively working to make my situation worse. I was stubborn, making terrible choices and I was marvelously bitter.
All at the ripe old age of 14.
My life was miserable and the only real skill I had at the time was the ability to get kicked out of foster homes quickly. I wore this like a badge of honor. 7 days to get evicted was my record.
But then, after 14-years of struggle, everything changed. You see, after being evicted from my 10th or so foster home, I was sent to yet another new foster home to live. After learning about Rodney, my new foster dad – I was excited.
I thought – “This guy is clearly a pushover…here we go, I’m going to break my record! I’m going to be booted out of this foster home in 3 days.”
3-years later…I was still struggling to shake Rodney. Nothing I seemed to do discourage his enthusiasm for helping me. At the time, I was too young and immature to understand exactly what was going on, but I learned a valuable lesson, one that would change my life forever.
In fact – it’s this secret that has lead me to the mission I’m on now as a teen expert helping parents and other caring adults.
In the last 15-years, I’ve run seminars all over the world, speaking with parents, educators & mental health professionals, as well as over TWO MILLION teens.
I’ve created a documentary TV series on the topic, appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, etc, and I’m just getting started.
You might be wondering why I’m telling you this?
Because, without Rodney, I’d simply be a statistic.
You see when I was still living with Rodney, I decided one night that it would be a great idea to drive an unregistered car, whilst I was unlicensed, while speeding.
I was pulled over by the police on the way, arrested and thrown in prison. I rang Rodney, pleading with him to bail me out – and he promised he would, but I’d have to wait until the next day.
I was grateful, but still scared I’d have to spend a night in prison. The next day, Rodney picked me up and we drove the entire way home without speaking a word. When we arrived, Rodney said to me “Son, we need to talk”.
I thought to myself: FINALLY. This is it. I’m being evicted. It’s been difficult, but I’ve managed to make it happen.
How wrong was I.
Rodney simply said to me “We don’t see you as a problem son – we see you as an opportunity”.
My entire world changed in that moment. And so should yours if you’re reading this and struggling with your teen.
NO kid is a problem. They may be *problematic* due to their environment or upbringing, but they aren’t a problem. Every single kid and teen in this world is our OPPORTUNITY. Our chance to help them to make this world better.
Because the secret I learned from Rodney is this:
“Every kid is ONE caring adult away from being a success story”
That’s all it takes: Just one caring adult and a life can be changed.
You see: Every kid needs a Rodney and YOU could be one : )
This is my mission…to build an army of “Rodney’s” – caring adults who can be the catalyst for that kid in their life.