The boy who dared to be great.

I had a somewhat traumatic childhood, but 1970, the year I turned eight, was especially difficult. A Tsunami of misfortune hit my family. My father lost his job and couldn’t find work and my mother began to exhibit the first signs of severe depression. My Tourette’s syndrome manifested that year and I was ticking like crazy. In addition, I wet the bed every night, made worse since I shared the bed with my brother. With no income we were forced to sell our home in beautiful Arcadia, California and move to Salt Lake City, Utah into a dilapidated three bedroom, rat-infested home. (The house had been my grandmother’s and was left abandoned after her death a few years earlier.) With eight children, my parents struggled to make ends meet. Most days we ate gruel for breakfast–a thin cooked cereal made by boiling oatmeal in water. I was constantly anxious and afraid.

The area in Utah we had moved to was a poor, violent, inner-city neighborhood. My first week at school I learned bad words I had never heard before and was constantly teased for how I dressed. I was beaten up three times that year and bullied more times than I can remember. My parents seemed somewhat oblivious to our suffering as they battled their own problems. Struggling to pay bills, my father worked construction until past dark each night and my mother, suffering from severe depression, rarely left her bedroom. We children were pretty much on our own in a new place where everyone just seemed mean.

Once, while walking home, I came upon a man who was illegally burning garbage. As I watched him throw more fuel on the fire, he saw me. He must have been worried that I might tell someone because he shouted at me, accusing me of starting the fire and, as he started toward me, told me he was taking me to the police to put me in jail. I ran away as fast as I could.

During this dark time I had a soul-crushing fourth grade teacher named Mrs. Covey. I’ll never forget two weeks before Christmas when she ridiculed those of us who still believed in Santa with the words, “Your parents lied to you. There is no Santa.”

Crushed, I went home and asked my mother if she had lied. My mother frowned. She said, “Santa is the spirit of giving.”

“But he has reindeer and brings Christmas presents down the chimney, right?”

She shook her head. “No. There is no Santa Claus.”

My heart sunk at the realization that my mean old teacher was right. Good was supposed to be right, not evil. After a moment I looked back up at my mother and asked, “Did you lie about Jesus too?”

That following spring, two days after being beaten up by an older boy and having my one treasure, a Mickey Mouse watch, stolen during the fight, I was turning in an assignment at school when, for reasons I can hardly fathom, I wrote next to my name:

Ricky Evans the Great

I don’t know why I did it. I knew I wasn’t great. I wasn’t even adequate. Everything around me testified to that. I was a cypher–a boy without worth. A little boy no one was willing to defend. A boy with no friends. But something about writing those two words next to my name made me feel good, if only for just a few seconds.

The next day we received our papers back. Mrs. Covey had erased the two extraneous words and written three of her own.

Shame on you.

Then she stood at the front of the class and lectured us on the sin of pride, a lecture meant to humiliate and further shame me–the boy who would be great.

That was more than forty years ago. I never had the chance to see Mrs. Covey again. Nor will I ever. She was old back then, I’m sure she’s long gone. But if I saw her today I would look her in the eyes and say, for that innocent little boy, “You were wrong, woman. That little boy was fighting hell every day and, in spite of people like you, he not only survived, he went on to reach millions of people with his words. Ricky Evans was great. And you were just mean.”

Sadly, there will always be Mrs. Covey’s in this world, erasers in hand, eager to erase the greatness from our lives. From your life. Don’t let them. Don’t listen to them. Be great. And never be afraid to declare it. I’m not advocating displays of wanton hubris and egotism, rather an acknowledgment of the beauty and intrinsic worth of our souls. Don’t wait for someone else to validate who you are, or you’ll be waiting a long, long time. The crabs in the pot will always try to pull the other crabs down.

Please Share. Richard Paul Evans is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty books. His upcoming book, THE MISTLETOE INN, will be released November 17, 2015. You may order your copies now at Amazon, at a discount, by clicking this link. THE MISTLETOE INN

This Post Has 73 Comments
  1. Richard, that story was so inspiring. I love your novels, and your stories have encouraged me to write in my later years. The Mrs. Covey’s in the world just make us better and stronger adults. God bless you.

    Saundra Staats McLemore
    Inspirational Author of the Christmas Hotel Series

  2. From the first time I heard the story of your first book on Oprah, I have been reading your books. You inspired me then because I am working on being a writer, but now that I see the whole picture – all I can say is WOW! Have you overcome obstacles. I admire you so much! My humble beginnings were similar in ways, but you clearly have had mountains to face. As a retired teacher, I can’t imagine doing what that teacher did to you. I love your books and your writing! Thanks for not giving up. You are a role model to me as I endeavor to be published. Looking forward to your next book.

  3. I JUST READ your story I received in my email, such a beautiful and sad story. Im sure this story will touch many hearts who are living in your era and now. I to came from a large family, But back in my day which was in the 40’s people weren’t as cruel as they are now. I have read some of your novels and they are all heart felt.
    Thank you for putting out such wonderful ,clean and wonderfully written books. God Bless you.

  4. A very touching story You are Great ! God has lead you to be a great as a husband,dad,grandpa and a great Author. I think everyone in life has had a mean teacher along the way. We must grow from our experiences and continue to trust God in everything.
    Thank-you for sharing your life stories.

  5. Your books are a joy to read. You are indeed the boy who was destined to be great!
    You are a blessing to a lot of readers. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  6. Thank you for your blog today, your trials and hardships have given you an extraordinary depth and feeling to your stories. I too had a very hard life growing up and know how you felt. Again thank you for your beautifully written books, I love them all.

  7. I want to thank you, really thank you for sharing with us, your readers, about your life. Very few authors do that. I have always loved your books and have read every single one of them. I don’t read the dust jackets and I don’t read anything about them, I just buy them because I know they’re GREAT. I have never been disappointed and I never will be disappointed in your writing. When I’m asked who are the writers who’ve inspired me to write my books, I always mention your name – always.
    You are great. You’ve always been great.
    Thank you for being you and thank your for letting us read your books.
    Patti

  8. My heart grieves so easily and often over cruelty or lack of kindness. We have no idea what our children go through. And yet, out of adversity many rise to conquer and shine. I wonder if in the midst of your depravation you wove stories in your heart. God knows how to defeat the enemies in our lives resulting in blessings where failure could have reigned. I’m sure you didn’t
    recover overnight, but thank God for the sensitive heart that knows how to weave stories of comfort.

  9. The story of your childhood touched my heart. You bring your sensitivity to the stories you write and I have been a fan of your from day one!. Thank you for sharing.
    I grew up in southwestern Wyoming not too far from Salt Lake City.

  10. Thank you for your blog today, I started out in a bad way, and after reading your story I took a good look at my life and decided that I was really very fortunate.

  11. Richard, I am amazed at how you fought the odds and became “Ricky the Great”. I have read all of your books and love your writings. However you became the wonderful man, husband, father and grandfather you are today, I am grateful that you had the Savior in your life to guide you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your family. I hope someday to be able to meet you and give you a big hug for all the good you have done.

  12. Good Day, Mr Evans, I am a 78 year old male, have read the majority of your books, including the Michael Vey series, and am not ashamed to say that I am overawed by your achievements and writings. Your childhood story could almost be my own except that at School my heroine was a grade 5 teacher by the name of Mrs Bowden. When I first started wearing glasses at 7 years of age I was terrified at what the other kids at school would do and say, but she took me in front of the class and, pointing to my glasses, said, “Doesn’t he look handsome!”. My father died when I was just 6 years old, leaving my mom with three small children, and I too grew up in a relatively poor area, scavenging discarded food for my family from the local excess depot on the harbor, and being the odd one out in high school because my mom could not afford to buy me long trousers like the other boys. My school blazer was a second hand one that was eventually handed down from brother to brother as we all went to high school. However, I too am great, not in monetary wealth or achievements, but in moral and spiritual wealth, and am just starting to understand how great is my self worth in the sight of God. Thank you for the many hours of happiness that your writing has brought to me. I look forward to many more such hours. Regards, Alton Doller

  13. your blogs are always uplifting to me. my husband and I were in an accident in 2013 that I have been told by the doctors etc, I should have died in. Having your blogs and books on CD has been a blessing to me. I enjoy both and look forward to them because it helps me to remember what I have always known, that you only have to look around and you will find someone worse off or more in need than yourself. keep up the great work with love carol

  14. Hi Richard,

    Your blog touched a nerve. When I was in 5th grade, I had a teacher that was the same. She was talking about other cultures and said how stupid the people in India were because they worshipped cows. I went home that day and told my parents what she had said. My always wise mom said, “She shouldn’t say that. What people believe is their business and you should never make fun of something that someone believes in.” Well, the goody-two-shoes that I was went back to school the next day and told the teacher that she shouldn’t make fun of other people’s religion. I had been doing pretty well in school up to that point but from then on she treated me like I was an idiot. She even told my mother at the parent-teacher conference that I wasn’t very bright. That stayed with me a very long time. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I found out that I wasn’t stupid. Some people can be so cruel. I’m so glad that you wrote that on your paper so many years ago. You have brought so much joy. Love your books. Take care.
    Robin

  15. This is a very heartfelt story with a wonderful ending. I have worked in the school system for over 25 years and have seen this happen many times. All I can say is those teachers must have a terrible life to be able to go to a child and not give them encouraging words. Instead they bring down the child’s self-esteem because their self-esteem is so low. A lot of these children are not so lucky to be able to bring their self-esteem back up after terrible things have been said to them. I remember my third grade teacher slapping me across the mouth in front of the whole class because I could not say my vowels sounds right and calling me stupid. It just made me work harder so she could never say that to me again.

  16. Ricky Evans, you are GREAT!!!! Thank you for sharing your story! How brave you were then & you are still brave!! God has blessed you so much with your great gift of writing!!! You have touched my life with your wonderful stories over & over!!! I always get anxious when I know another one of your books is being released!!!

  17. Rick, I heard you speak about your childhood a little at once of your conferences; it was nice to read more about your life. You inspire the young and older to become a better version of themselves. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  18. I have read all of Richard’s book that my library offers, and now look forward to Mistletoe Inn. Every one is filled with unexpected twists that keeps the story interesting . His style is easy to read and is always a page turner. The Walk series kept my interest and reading the next book was what I enjoyed most. Hoping the next Mistletoe book is as good as the first.

  19. I loved your blog, I wish I knew you when you were a little boy, and could have taken care of you. I can,t wait to read your next book!

  20. Richard I have read almost all your books. I need to catch up on the Michael Vey books 4 & 5. I have enjoyed all of them and encourage family and friends to read them. Thank you for good clean reading material. May God bless you.

  21. Ricky Evans The Great,
    Thank you for this story. The people that can understand your story the most are the ones that have lived through it. I feel and pray for the children that are going through this kind of life and I try and help the ones that I come in contact with. Some teachers can really be cruel and it is sad because a teacher is in a place where they could have such a great impact in child’s life to make it better. Children are so precious, innocent and need to be protected from all evil.
    It is difficult for people that have gone through a difficult childhood to talk about it, so I thank you for your story.

  22. You are such a great writer that I want to read every book when it comes out! I truly am a fan of you & the great writing you do!
    It’s okay to be proud of what you have done! Your like the wizard of OZ. The Great & powerful OZ! You take words of wisdom
    & put it into a book for all to enjoy! I thank God for you & Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. I have read all your books and have enjoyed each and every one. Your short stores that you write are very touching. Keep up the good work

  24. I found the second book of your “Walk” series at a thrift sale. I read it realizing it was part of more books. I got the first one, devoured it, and went on to read the third and fourth. I’ve now read the Locket, the Looking Glass, and am reading the Timepiece. I love love love your books! Thank you. My sons also had tragic experiences with crabby, mean teachers. UGH!!! They are now married and have families, but I know those experiences affected them. Thank God you were able to seek Him and rise up! YAY!

  25. Thank you, Richard, for sharing your story. I plan to share it with my son, who suffers from anxiety and
    depression. You are living proof of the wonders God can work in our lives! Keep on writing!

  26. Dear Mr. Evans!

    Thank you for sharing your personal story and also sharing your GREAT talent w/ all of us! Thank you for encouraging others to not let the Mrs. Covey’s of the world take them down!

    Robin

  27. Wow, so sorry that you had to endure such unkindness and struggles in your life. I’m so glad that you rose to the occasion and remained who you believed for that second you were “The Great” because you have touched my life so much. The Christmas Box was my daughter’s, a gift I gave her that I had never read. When she was killed, I kept it and read it, not knowing how much it would touch my soul…from that point forward, I became a fan and have been touched by all of your writings. I have gone to see one of your angel statues and love everything you write because it is the opposite of what you endured…it is kind!! I wish you all the Greatness in the world. Thank You.

  28. I have enjoyed Richard Paul Evans’ books for years and am really looking forward to the new one which will be out soon. My personal favorite, “The Locket” is the only book I have given 10 stars to in my reading journal. Thank you for sharing your warmth, your love and Mrs. Covey was wrong!

  29. Thanks for sharing your story Richard I felt really moved, maybe because most of us can relate to things that happened in our own lives either similar or different but never-the-less unforgettable. I guess there’s always a story but how good when adversity is overcome and one can live in freedom and victory. Yeah!

  30. Dear Richard – I have read and loved every book you have written! Many have been reread! You are a very talented and special person. God has blessed you in so many ways I dream of meeting you one day and having my own book signed by you. That would be a treasured gift! I am nearly 90 years young and still doing volunteer work with the disabled and mentally handicapped. I ask the Lord to continue to bless you and your family as you continue to write these beautiful stories. Thank you for gifting your devout readers with so much pleasure! God bless you and yours! Onalee Carrow – Hamburg, N.Y.

  31. wow, what a powerful story! thanks for being vulnerable and transparent. i can relate to some of what your wrote. i’m so glad you didn’t let that teacher’s words or actions define you. keep writing your wonderful stories!!

  32. I also was a child who was teased and ridiculed. Both parents worked and it was a struggle for them. My sister and I had parental support, thank goodness. Our parents talked to the teachers about the bullying. The teachers talked to the students but a bully doesn’t hear. Our parents’ jobs were next door to our home. My dad was a country store owner and did auto repair and sold gas also. My mother was the postmaster in our little town. The post office was inside our store. Kids thought because we owned a store my sis and I could furnish candy and gum to them for their friendship. When Dad caught on, he talked to the teacher & it did stop us from having to bring candy for friendship, but it also meant we had less “friends”. I decided I didn’t need thoser ‘friends’ and worked on being a good friend to the few I had. I was about 8 when I decided books were wonderful friends and I could go anywhere I wanted in a book. Reading helped me get through rough time. My father died when I was 12. I really missed him. Bless our mother’s heart, she sacrificed a lot so we could be involved in school activities and have a “normal” childhood. We had homemade clothes and hand-me-downs. I grew up, married, and became a mother. I made sure my boys knew reading could be an out to bad times. They grew up being wonderful young men. My oldest son was having trouble with his 10 year old in English lit. I introduced him to your “Michael Vey” series. He is now a wonderful A student in English lit. LOVES your books and even has his teacher reading them. She said she has others in her class who think their ‘age appropriate” books are kiddies books and also don’t do thir lit. She is buying the set for her classroom. Smart teacher. I’ve instilled in my kids, grandkids and other family members reading is important and fun. Even I, my son, and my son’s father in law are reading Michael Vey! ?The next two granddaughters are also reading them. Thank you for being that boy who dared to be great. another note, my niece hated readibg until I introduced her to ‘The Christmas Box.: She hasn’t missed a book you’ve written since.

  33. The story of Ricky takes me back to a time in my life as a young teenage girl when I too was confronted by the neighborhood bullies. When face to face with the girl who I was sure was going to beat me up I chose to take a knee. I think they were all dumbfounded . I stood and when no one moved I walked away. For whatever reason no one bothered me again

    Richards stories touch me and for that I am grateful.

  34. Dear Richard, I love reading your blogs on here, they are sometimes so sad yet inspiring. I love your books and I am waiting for your new one to come out next week.
    Keep writing your blogs you are touching many lives. Take care, sincerely, Leslie Dietschweiler

  35. Richard,
    I am so sorry that a teacher would do something so wrong to a little boy. I know that public education is not seen in very good light these days. I have taught first grade in a city school system for 20 years. My students live in poverty and have very little parental support. I however, look at my job as a ministry. I try my best to nurture he whole child. I not only teach academics but make sure my students have their emotional and physical needs met. Every child needs to know they can do anything and achieve their dreams (with practice). I am sorry it was a teacher that was so mean to you. You deserved better.

  36. I know that honesty about Santa was not the main purpose of your post, but it validated a decision I made years ago when I realized my eldest son was very literal (later determined to have Asperger’s). In my heart I knew I needed to tell him that Santa was a great character, but not a real, magical person. We had “Santa” gifts, but he knew they were from Mom & Dad. Why? Because I couldn’t bear to think of the consequences later in life when he found out from someone else that Santa wasn’t real. I feared he would think that I lied about Jesus, too, and he might question whether Jesus was real. I’m sorry you experienced that in your own life. I’m grateful we kept the magic without the “tall tales.” My children have always known that no matter what, their mom is honest with them. It has made our relationships amazing!

  37. Covey is exactly the kind of “teacher” I warn my students about. Far too many teachers fail to understand that their very purpose is to help all their students to indeed BE great, not to be the one finding fault with them. Shame on that person for “teaching” all the wrong things. Good for you for rejecting those words of hate. There is no place for that drivel in schools or anywhere else.

  38. Mr. Evans (Ricky the Great).. This is a lesson,, as well as a story. It signifies Faith, hope and a sense of potential in what the future can bring…I find this in most all of your books that I have read…They tend to “stick to my ribs”, so to speak and have richened much of my Literary reading world….my husband and I lost our only daughter to Lung Cancer barely one year ago and in a desperation I turned to reading to be able to rest my mind and sleep each night since our devastating loss.. My first book of yours I read was the “GIFt”, which seemed to jump off the shelf in our local bookstores shelf into my hands….. From that first book I have read everything of yours I could find!……actually about 18, …and now am on the list for the latest to arrive at my door……I can only tell you I am so grateful for the precious stories that have given me comfort each night as I have read them and feel they have truly been a gift to me, a sense of peace , and a wonderful diversion from my grief….
    I have been only too happy to share my enjoyment in your brilliant novels with family and friends and now have so many “on board” with your stories as well….
    I am truly grateful to have found your writing, and sincerely feel this has been a gift from GOD to me that has given me some consolation …..I look forward to each new story as your heart brings them to print and wish you, and yours health, peace …..and happiness…lovingly: Mary Lou Fernandez

  39. This message is so critical today for young people, but it is maybe more critical you adults. I have always struggled with self esteem and have never felt like I was great. I know that a so much of what we are and how people see us and react to us has to do with how we feel about ourselves. I need to get over my feelings of inadequacies and just be fine with me.
    Thank you for this message.
    Sandra the Great

  40. Hi Richard, I have read all your books and really enjoyed all of them. I am waiting for the Mistletoe Inn to arrive. When I get these books I just drop everything and start reading. I think The Walk series was a great one. It helped me a lot as my husband died 5 years ago. We were married 54 years. I am now 80 and the thing I have always want to be able to take riding lessons. I was very surprised when my friends said good for you. So in January I will start. I enjoyed your blog. Some teachers can be so mean. I have had some of those kind but I have had some really great ones also. I am so glad you didn’t listen to and kept thinking you were great. You really are great and love your great books. Love, Georgia

  41. I absolutely love all of the books written by Richard, I try my best to purchase all of them. Love to share his name with my friends to get them to read his books too. He is an amazing writer. Thank you and God bless.

  42. Thoughts on the boy who dared to be great, will that be a book or is it already, I need this if it is. Love this post. Gives me hope as I too was thought of as a no one special. Still struggle but reading Richards books continues to give me more hope. Thank you

  43. I love your blog and your story (stories) touch my heart each time. This one especially in your blog about yourself. I am so glad that you overcame all the unfairness and meaness that was around you. I try to tell my grandchildren that there will always be mean people. That they need to be who they are going to be, whatever that is be great and be kind. i remember when I was in grade school (5th grade) my best friend Geneva, who everyone made fun of was murdered. I don’t know the details since I was only ten, but I knew she would no longer be around. To this day I still think of her often and wish I could’ve defended her more. Thank you for sharing. God Bless you and your family.

  44. Your story always makes me feel so sad for all the children that are suffering out there at the hands of adults and peers. I wish I could go back and make a difference in your childhood. But it is too late for that. You have overcome a lot of challenges and truly ARE great! Look what you have done with your life, your influence, and your charities. You are an amazing man. I will always think of you when I see a child neglected or damaged by those around them. I will try harder to make a difference where I can. We can all work to stop bullying. Thank you for sharing your story. As we approach the season of love and giving, I hope we can all be conscious of the needs of those around us.

  45. I am a teacher and I try every day to make each student feel loved, important, and capable. In fact, even though I take teaching seriously and know the importance of these students learning, I know that how they feel about themselves and their ability to succeed in life is the most important thing they will take with them when they leave my care at the end of the year. Thank you for sharing your story to remind us all how we make a difference – good or bad- to those around us.

  46. Fourth grade seems to be a crucial year in childhood. I know few people who don’t remember their fourth grade teacher either with love or pain. I remember mine with love, she went to the county library for me since I had read everything in the school library. My daughter had a witch who stood her in front of the class and accused her of stealing a workbook which I located in the teacher’s desk drawer. My youngest had a gem who realized my claims of dyslexia were real and the resource teacher’s diagnosis of ADHD was laziness on her part (easier to medicate than teach).

  47. Thank You for sharing “The Boy Who Would Be Great”. It’s wonderful to hear how one, who was constantly maligned, rose above it all to be truly great!

  48. Thank you for this amazing story! Now that I have grandchildren, I see and hear the stories of teachers, friends who tear them down. I plan to share this story with them. The only people in your life that you need to please is family and God. Nothing negative come from our Creator. ……interesting how I grew up in Arcadia, California (7th Avenue) the same time you were there! I wonder if our paths ever crossed? Sometimes our trials bring our greatest blessings and make us stronger! You would not be the writer you are without the experiences you’ve been through! Thank you for sharing.

  49. Thank you. I need to remember this today. My difficulties are not nearly as great as yours were, but I feel the weight of them on occasion and today is one of those days. Thank you for your kind reminder and encouragement.

  50. This so touched my heart but also understood why your feelings run so deep. The Lord blessed you with a talent but your trials enabled you to express so many feelings in words. You learn to dream as a child and now you put all your dreams on paper and we love it. I thank my Father in Heaven for all the trials I have endured for they made me who I am today. I love me, I love what the Lord has done with me. I think you are a beautiful soul and as a mom I would be proud to have you as a son.

  51. That was a beautiful story. So many people with troubled pasts make
    it big in this world and unfortunately many do not. People do try to
    tear you to pieces but you have to know that hurt people, hurt people.
    Thanks for all you write.

  52. You are always an inspiration! I talked to a cashier yesterday whose 7 year old son has Tourette’s. He was just diagnosed. I suggested she read your books especially the Michael Vey ones. She said she would get them for her to read to her son. See you reach people all the time.

  53. We were sure glad when your family moved closer to us. We loved being able to see you more often. I never thought you were lacking in any way. Love you and your family. You are an important part of our family.

  54. I read this on a day when I had the opportunity to look my childhood tormentors in the eye and publicly, in a court of law, tell them “you were wrong.” And see them finally face the consequences of their actions.

    I grew up in a home where emotional and physical abuse where daily activities coming from both my mother and father; and where I was sexually molested by my father over the span of 4 years. I felt that somehow these things that were happening to me were my fault; that if only I were good enough or did enough to “earn my keep” my father woundn’t have to use me in this way and my mother wouldn’t be so angry all the time. Needless to say, I had very little self worth and and also felt like an invisible cypher.

    When I was 17, a year after the sexual abuse had stopped, I finally had the courage to tell my clergy leader. He did nothing. I told my mother ( who was a marriage and family therapist) she told me to “just get over it.”

    I moved out, went to college, got married, had 5 children, and tried my best to “get over it.” But my depression, my feelings that I was the cause of all the bad things that happened to me and my loved ones, my belief that I was worthless and broken, and damaged, would not go away. Finally, at the age of 35, I determined that I could no longer endure the envoloping darkness, that my family had the right to find a new “whole” wife and mother. I began to carry out a plan to kill myself. My husband found me in time and took me to the hospital, where I was admitted for 10 days.

    Upon my release I began to see a counselor and started on my journey of discovering my true self. I came to recognize that I was and am a soul of great worth. That there was and is nothing wrong with me. That it was my mother and father who made mistakes, who chose to do things that were wrong, and bad, and hurtful.

    I decided that I no longer wanted to “keep the family secret.” I didn’t know if too much time had passed for legal action, but I felt that for my healing, I needed to do what I was too afraid to do as a child, and report the sexual abuse to the police. The police opened an investigation and turned the case over to the county prosecutors, who then charged my father with 6 counts of 2nd felony sexual abuse of a child.

    I was asked what I wanted to do, offer my father a plea bargin, or go to trial and ask for maximum sentencing; 1-15 years in prison for each count. I said that I was not looking for revenge or retribution. I just needed my father and mother to both publicly acknowledge what they had chosen to do, and to be held accountable.

    It has been 2 years since I was discharged from the hospital, and reported my father’s crime to the police. I have made great strides in understanding who I am, how I can choose to change the untruthful, self-loathing thoughts the play through my head, how to talk about my feelings instead of letting them overwhelm me, what medication to take to help balance me out.

    Today, both justice and mery were served, as I was able to stand in court; in front of a judge, lawyers, friends, family members, and my mother and father. I was able to tell my whole story publicly, for all to hear. I was able to feel the support, the validation , as almost all in the courtroom were in tears ( with the exception of both my parents) as I shared details about what had beed done to me by my own father in my own home, and about how it has affected me. I sensed the burden I have been carrying lift off me as those in authority placed it back where it belongs, on my father, the guilty party. My father was sentenced to 210 days in jail, 3 years probation, and registration on the sex offender list for life; the agreed upon plea bargin, and a fraction of the sentence called for according to his charges. Justice and mercy.

    My hopes are that we may all continue on our paths, remembering the truth about who we are, each continuing in our own healing, and helping eachother on the way.

  55. Oh Rick, what an awful thing that mean teacher did to you!! I hope you had other teachers who were warm and encouraging and brought the joy of learning her their pupils! I am sorry hearing about your childhood too. I know others have experienced the same types of things and emerged strengthened and went on in life to do remarkable things and be inspiriting people, just as you have done!! Keep up the good work. I have all your books and your latest is on my Christmas wish list and sure my daughter will get it for me as she has done in the past.
    Keep inspiring people Rick!!

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