In episode 9, Jeannie Harris says this about her son Tim Harris, “He doesn’t have that layer of self-doubt and fear that so many of us have.” She is referring to his career as a professional public speaker. Having seen Tim speak, more than once, I agree. But I think this really relates to much more than his public speaking, and to many more people than Tim.
When my youngest daughter was five, she played t-ball for one spring and summer. At that age the ball is placed on a tee, and then the child hits it off the tee. My daughter was, and still is tiny. So here was this tiny girl, hitting this ball. Sometimes she would pick it up after hitting it, or forget to run to a base. It was cute. We enjoyed that time and thought nothing more of it. My older daughter was seventeen. That fall she wrote an essay for school about how she wished she could live in the moment like her sister did. She gave examples from the summer playing t-ball. She wrote about her innate needs to always be perfect and do your best erasing any sense of purity that she saw in her sister. I wanted a copy of that essay. I wish I had one because what she wrote was not only eloquent, it was very honest, and much better than what I am writing today. But my older daughter was a teen who wanted to keep that private, and I understood.
Fourteen years later that moment still resonates with me. My oldest saw authenticity in her sister. And I saw authenticity in my oldest daughter’s essay.
“Authenticity starts in the heart.” – Brian D’Angelo
“Authenticity is magnetic.” – Anonymous
I love the above quotes. They describe Tim Harris perfectly!!! Tim is the kind of public speaker that corporations hire for motivation. He is truly the best speaker I have ever seen. It is obvious that everything Tim does starts in his heart. And his life of great adventure, that continues, shows how magnetic he is. When he stopped counting hugs several years ago, he had over 75.000 hugs! I encourage you to watch the videos of Tim on www.bornfabulouspodcast.com You will see the viral AOL video. You will see Tim on the number one talk show in Brazil—dancing with full joy and abandonment. You will feel better-guaranteed.
And in thinking about this, I see that those quotes also apply to many people with various disabilities who are not outgoing and famous. My youngest daughter is shy, very shy. But she does not have that layer of self – doubt and fear, just as Jeannie said. She has given many public speeches and school presentations with ease. And when she is in small groups, whether they be classmates in school or co-workers in her internships, she can be like a magnet. I was always surprised, but now I realize it is her sweet personality and her clear authenticity. She has no ulterior motives for anything. She is pure of heart. And she loves from deep in her heart. She does not have that typical teen layer of indifference.
My daughter is just one of countless examples out there of people with disabilities. If given the chance, they have so much to offer our society, our schools, our places of worship, and our workplaces. Look at this list below, just for starters.
The 5 Qualities of an Authentic Person
-by Christopher D. Connors
- Be true to yourself.
- Think inward, look outward.
- The way you treat people (kindness and respect)
- Live in the moment and be a great listener.
- Open-mindedness and fairness to opportunities and people.
“To be authentic we must cultivate the courage to be imperfect – and vulnerable. We have to believe that we are fundamentally worthy of love and acceptance, just as we are. I’ve learned that there is no better way to invite more grace, gratitude, and joy in our lives that by mindfully practicing authenticity.” – Brene Brown
Many people with disabilities do not have to ‘practice authenticity’ – they embody it. We have one more reason, on top of so many, to fully embrace people with disabilities into all aspects of our lives.
Thank you for caring.
From my heart,
Thank you to Jeannie Harris for her time, wisdom, honesty and stories. She is a pioneer and a wonderful mother. Thank you also to Tim Harris for being so fabulous, approving each episode, and for allowing us to have this discussion.
If you have not heard episodes 1-9, you can go to the link at the bottom of this page and it will lead you to the episodes. Episodes 1-4 are with Steve and Laura Riggio, the parents of writer / self-advocate Melissa Riggio. Episodes 5-8 are with Sandra McElwee, the mother of actor / business owner Sean McElwee. Episode 9 is the first of a five – part series with Jeannie Harris.
You can access all podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, and self-advocate pages at www.bornfabulouspodcast.com. The podcast is also on iTunes, Alexa, or any podcast directory. I invite you to subscribe on those podcast directories. Born Fabulous also has Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages as well as a YouTube Channel. Next week Jeannie Harris continues with part 2. She will share stories from birth to dating years.