055 – Becky Davidson, a solo parent of a son with profound special needs.
In this Dad to Dad Podcast we talk with our first Mom. Becky Davidson is a podcaster, author and mother to Jon Alex, who has multiple special needs. Becky and her husband Jeff formed Rising Above Ministries.org, a national organization that helps families with children with special needs. Sadly, In 2017, Jeff passed away unexpectedly, leaving Becky an only parent. Becky talks to Host David Hirsch about her life, her husband and the new book she and Jeff wrote, “Common Man, Extraordinary Call, thriving as the Dad of a Child with special needs.” It’s a jam packed edition of the Dad to Dad Podcast so take a listen.
Dad to Dad 55 – Becky Davidson, a solo parent of a son with profound special needs.
Becky Davidson: I’m not the dad that I thought that I was going to be. I’m not going to play ball in the backyard. I’m not going to go to scams with my son, but I’m the dad that God wanted me to be. I’m turning into that. Dad and dad is one of my most favorite quotes from Jeff, for people who didn’t know him. That’s the essence of who he, who he was.
I mean, he, when he started realizing, you know, what, my life is going to look completely different and I’m going to embrace the dab that God. Actually created me to be.
Tom Couch: That’s Becky Davidson, podcaster, author, and mom to John Alex, who has multiple special needs. Becky and her husband, Jeff formed, rising above ministries.org, a national group to help families with children with special needs.
Sadly in 2017, Jeff unexpectedly passed away leaving Becky and only parent. And today Becky talks with host David Hirsch about her life, her husband. And her new book she wrote with Jeff common man, extraordinary call thriving as the dad of a child with special needs. Here’s an earlier recording of Jeff.
I wasn’t ready to become the father of a child with profound, special needs. Who is when you become the parent of a child with special needs, your world is rocked. It affects every single aspect of your life. It’s a jam packed edition of the dad to dad podcast, and it all starts now. Here’s David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the dad to dad podcast, fathers, mentoring, fathers of children with special needs presented by the Special Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process.
New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if your dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group.
Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: So let’s listen now as David Hirsch talks to our first mom on the dad to dad podcast, Becky Davidson.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with my friend, Becky Davidson of Cookeville, Tennessee, the mother of a son with autism and a widow. Becky, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for this Special Fathers Network.
Becky Davidson: Thank you so much for having me on today. I appreciate it so much.
David Hirsch: You and your husband, Jeff were married for 26 years.
One of the proud parents of your son, John Alex, who is 22. And it was nonverbal. He has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, intellectually disabled, and profoundly affected by autism. Let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your family.
Becky Davidson: I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and was a tried and true Southern girl grew up not too far from downtown Nashville and I have two older sisters.
I’m the baby of the family and grew up in a great neighborhood with my mom and my dad. And. My two sisters and, you know, overall we had our struggles like any family has, but, um, overall a good childhood experience.
David Hirsch: That’s great. So are your parents still alive?
Becky Davidson: My father actually passed away, uh, five months before Jeff did.
Um, so that was quite, yeah, so we lost him, um, in December, before losing Jeff and then, but my mom is still living and she still lives in the same area where I grew up.
David Hirsch: I’m sorry to hear about your dad passing away at an early age too. How would you describe your relationship with your dad?
Becky Davidson: You know, early on, I would say I don’t remember anything terrible or horrible.
Just we had a great, he was just a sweet man. We had our ups and downs as any family, but I will say he went through some health issues later in his life and it just helped to soften him. It helped to change him and. From him. He was always involved, always right with us and was always a part of our family, but he was a businessman and was all about business.
But when he got sick, he changed and he became one of the most generous people I’ve ever known in my life. He taught me how to love and serve. People who maybe the world overlooks. We always had people in and out of our house, just you needed a meal or a place to stay. So that was something that was instilled in me early on from my mom and my dad.
Uh, just how to welcome those people who were different to be a part of your life. And he taught me how to be generous. I mean, he was one of the most generous people I’ve ever known. And so I’m so grateful for that legacy. That he left for us.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing. I’m wondering if there’s any important lessons or advice your dad gave you that sort of resonates or still resonates with you?
Becky Davidson: I remember growing up, I would be in high school and I’d be leaving to go out with my friends and every time I’ve walked down the steps to leave, he would always say to me that, remember who you are. And I can still hear him saying that. And it’s like, you know, it was just that little encouragement, you know, you’re going out there with your friends, but don’t forget who you are.
That stuck with me all these years. You need to remember who, who you were created to be, remember who God designed you to be, remember that you have a plan and a purpose. And I know that he was also meaning back, remember who you are, don’t go get in trouble, but it was also, you know, don’t forget. That you have, you have a calling on your life and don’t go do things that would, that would cause harm to that.
David Hirsch: he was holding you to a little bit higher standard than just say, Hey, have a fun evening.
Becky Davidson: Exactly. Exactly. I love it.
David Hirsch: I love it. So I’m wondering, did your grandfathers play any role while you were growing
Becky Davidson: up? What if my grandfathers lived in Alabama and he died when I was in second grade. So I did not know him.
That was my, my dad’s dad. Um, so I did not know him. All of that. Well, cause he died when I was so young, but I just remember him being a sweet man. And I think he’s the one who taught my dad kindness and how to be respectful of other people. And I think that’s where my dad learned that. And then my mom’s dad, my grandfather lived till he was in his upper nineties and he was a preacher and he lived in Nashville in my high school.
Years. And so I got, I probably knew him better than, uh, the, my other grandfather, but they both, um, you know, left their imprints in my life.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s a blessing to have grandparents, not everybody experiences that from the child or grandchild. Those seniors Torchbearers of our heritage. And then, you know, if you’re a person, right, you know, to live long enough to see your children having children.
So it is really a blessing.
Becky Davidson: Absolutely.
David Hirsch: Thanks for sharing that. I’m wondering if there’s anybody else that served as a father figure while you were growing up
Becky Davidson: or really not so much growing up? I would say that my dad and my, you know, my grandfather, who I spent more time with were the main male role models a bit, I would say the person more so than anyone.
In my adult years outside of my dad would have been Jet’s dad, my father-in-law bill Davidson. And when I lost my dad, he kind of stepped into that role and play, you know, still continues to play that in my life now. So I’m so grateful for that.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, let’s give a shout out to your father in law bill, because.
No here he’s lost a son.
Becky Davidson: Yes.
David Hirsch: He’s stepping up to the plate to try to help them, whatever capacity they can. And, you know, thank God for that.
Becky Davidson: Absolutely. I’m so grateful. He just, um, even when Jeff passed away, he was right there taking care of all the business things that I had no clue how to take care of insurance and all that.
And he stepped right in there and just took care of it for me. And I don’t know what I would’ve done without that.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. So I’m wondering,
Becky Davidson: well, I was, had just graduated from college and I remember being in my apartment and I was like, praying to God. I was like, God, please just send me whoever does you want me to marry?
And I always thought I would find somebody at college, but I didn’t. And so I graduated and I moved back home because I was trying to find a teaching position. And I’d been home just for a couple of weeks and, um, met a girl through church and she kept talking about this guy, Jeff Davidson. And I ended up meeting him through her.
We met at, she has a bunch of people over to our house one night and I went and I met him there and we started dating within just a few weeks of that. And I won’t, I won’t say love at first sight, but pretty close. And we started dating and with three months we were engaged and we were married before I’d even known him a year.
We just knew, Oh my gosh. Yeah, we knew that it was right. And so it was that fast. Yeah,
David Hirsch: that’s a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. So you and Jeff were married for 26 years. Uh, Jeff had some pretty severe health issues, uh, later in his life being on dialysis. I think you mentioned you lost a leg and, uh, uh, you know, he died unexpectedly.
If you can reflect on that.
Becky Davidson: Well, you know, he had been sick actually the first time he got sick, it would be, it was 10 years ago. And he got an infection in his foot and they put him on heavy duty antibiotics to try to save him. But part of that caused damage to his kidneys. And so we just dealt with sickness ever since that point, often on, we would have years where, where he was healthy and we were doing good.
And then we’d go through another health battle. But the last. Probably two years of his life. It was pretty significant. We were in and out of the hospital every few months. He coded multiple times. And so there at the end, he had gone in for a procedure and we thought it was just going to be a routine procedure on his foot and he coded and that procedure, and they were able to bring him back from that.
But. Well, he just could not, he just kept having issues and kept getting it just kept getting worse and worse. And so on the afternoon of May 23rd, I’m in a hospital room, surrounded by his family and friends who loved him dearly. He crossed from this life to the next. And, uh, it was the hardest thing. Uh, that I can get ever imagined.
It’s an it’s you don’t expect to be 49 years old and him at 50 and, you know, losing the most important person in your life. Um, but it was an honor to get to be there with him and, and see him, see him, um, peacefully pass from life to the next.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, that’s very powerful, Becky, thank you for sharing. Um, it’s not right, right.
To lose a partner. And especially at such a pretty mature age, it’s hard to lose a parent. Yeah. Right, right. But if they lived a long life and their, their seventies, eighties or nineties, you know, it’s the cycle of life. When you lose somebody, that’s closer to our age. That’s very unsettling. Yeah. My heart reaches out to you and your family.
And it’s not lost on me that, uh, since Jeff’s passing, you’ve been a solo parent, which is different than being a single parent. What, what was your reaction to sort of coming to that realization?
Becky Davidson: It’s one of those things that, you know, when Jeff died, um, you can’t process everything. I can’t, I can’t even begin to explain the fog that you’re in.
For the first goodness, you know, almost a year of just not really being able to process things. And I think that when it became the most real to me was shortly after Jeff died. And you know, everybody surrounds you at first. I had a house full of people. My sisters were there loving on me and helping me and friends.
And it was that moment when I’m there by myself. In the house and it’s just John, Alex and myself, and he has his first seizure since his dad died. And I think that was the moment that I felt the most absolute alone. I’m sitting on the floor in our family room, holding him by myself while he sees him. And there’s the reality of this is your new reality.
You’re you’re doing this by yourself now. Well, whereas before when John ox would have a seizure, you know, Jeff was right there. We were just helping each other out through it, talking each other through it, and just that you’re by yourself, you know, and that reality of he’s not coming back. And that’s when it really hit home for me, all of these decisions, you know, Jeff and I made every decision related to John Alex together.
And so when you’re now faced with doing that by yourself. Oh my goodness. The pressure that, that puts on you as a mom, when you’ve had a partner to do that with you, uh, it, it was very challenging and it still is.
David Hirsch: Is there any advice that you would offer to somebody who finds themselves in a similar situation to that?
Becky Davidson: Yes, absolutely. But what I learned to do, I learned that vulnerability is my super power that I have learned. I’m not afraid to ask for help. I used to be the one who was like, I got this figured out, I can do this by myself, you know, or Jeff and I can do this together. And, you know, when Jeff passed away, not only was I thrown into the situation of, okay, I’m now a solo parent taking care of John Alex and taking care of all of his needs by myself.
I’m also now responsible for all of our family business needs, which I had no clue. I mean, Jeff took care of all of that. You know, I had no idea how to do any of that. So I was thrown into that world and then thrown into leading, rising above. And I had to learn real quick. Um, I learned who I could go to for dinner.
Like I found my banker, I found my lawyer. I found, you know, the different people that when I had a question, I would go to those people and I wasn’t afraid to go and say, be vulnerable and go, I do not know what to do in this situation. Can you please help me? And you know what? People want to help people want to be able to walk with you through this, but you have to be willing to.
Say I need the help. And so that has been just, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and say, I don’t have all the answers and I need help. I could not be doing this without the people who have come alongside me and walked through this with me.
David Hirsch: That’s very profound. Thank you for sharing. I made a note of this.
Vulnerability is your super power.
So let’s switch gears and talk about the special needs community first on a personal level, and then beyond. So before John Alex, his birth, did you or Jeff have any connections to the special needs community?
Becky Davidson: Not at all. We had none at all. We had a few people, you know, that we would see around that maybe had special needs or disability, but had no connection whatsoever with the disability community.
Um, until our son came along.
David Hirsch: So I’m wondering what, what was it like then when you got the diagnosis? How did that
Becky Davidson: transpire? Well, you know, I’ll remember back before John being in the grocery store. And there was a lady there with all of her kids. And one of them very obviously had had profound, special needs.
And I remember hearing the child making noises and I thought, Oh my goodness, I could never do that. And, uh, you know, when we, when John Alex was born, We had absolutely no idea that, um, he was going to have special needs. He, he was a 9.9 app card there. I had no problems with pregnancy or delivery or birth or anything.
And we thought when he was born, that we were going to have this displayed, this typical lie, you know, that we had planned on. Uh, but when he was about eight or nine minutes, so we started realizing that he was, there were milestones that he was not reaching. And so each month we would, you know, say, okay, next month he’ll be able to do this or next month he’ll get that in.
And he just wasn’t able to. And so we started, you know, down the road of going to doctors and specialists and trying to figure out what was going on. You know, I like most moms, I threw myself into research and finding anything or anyone who could help John Alex. Where Jeff ran to what he was good at, which was his work.
And he would, a lot of times we had an. Office in our basement. He worked out of our home at the time and he would go down to his office at night. And I remember I would have to call downstairs and go, Hey, Jeff, we’re going to bed. You know, if you want to come up and tell your son good night, that was just early on.
He just didn’t know what to do. And so he escaped. He was, he was a fabulous salesman. I mean, he was top in the company and. That’s what he was good at. So he couldn’t fix his son. So he went to what he was good at, which was his work. So we just both related to it differently. Um, and our response.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing.
Um, that seems to be a traditional response to adversity the mom, you know, dives in the terms around things. And just accepts reality, I think more easily or objectively it’s being realistic. And then. If I can speak for all men, we are challenged, right? Cause we’re fixers and want to get from point a to point B on our own.
And when there’s a situation that doesn’t lend itself, not to a quick fix, but just to a solution, I think we disengage and we gravitate to things that we’re more comfortable with, which is what I heard you say, that Jeff gravitated to what he knew best. Right? Which is, Hey, I’m good at this. It’s important that I provide for my family.
You know, it’s not the wrong thing, but you know, it’s a coping strategy at some level, and it’s not necessarily the best coping strategy. So I’m wondering if there’s any meaningful advice that you and Jeff got early on that helped you adapt to the new reality?
Becky Davidson: I think that the one thing that has stuck with me all these years was something that my sister told me years ago when we were first, you know, when you have a child with profound, special needs everything about your life.
Gets turned upside down from the way you go to the store, from the way you go to school, from the way that you go to church, everything is affected. And there was a season where Jeff and I really to protect ourselves, we isolated ourselves and we, it was just easier to stay home. And so we just kind of created this safe little Haven at our house and isolated ourselves and stay there.
And I remember my sister saying to me, she said, Becky, you guys will set the tone for how everyone else responds to John Alex. Meaning if we’re gonna, you know, if we’re going to be like, I don’t want to say ashamed, but if it’s going to be like, we just are going to stay in this safe little cocoon, well people, how are people gonna respond to that?
You know, but if we’re out and we’re like, you know what, we don’t care if he makes noises, that’s who he is, or we don’t care if he’s rocking and it’s uncomfortable for you, this is who he is. And so that was just such valuable counsel that she gave me. Um, just that, that we, as his parents are going to decide how people are gonna treat him.
We will set the tone for how other people respond to him.
David Hirsch: What type of work does your sister do?
Becky Davidson: She’s a social worker was, she was at the time. I mean, she’s done social work before at that time she was, she was a social worker. Yeah.
David Hirsch: Well, there, there was some clarity there. Some insight that is not very common.
I will just say,
Becky Davidson: yeah. Yeah.
David Hirsch: What a brilliant insight to have at an earlier age, too.
Becky Davidson: Yes, that was, that was pivotal for me
David Hirsch: where the, some important decisions that you and Jeff made raising a son with special needs,
Becky Davidson: important decisions. Let me think about, um, you know, I think for us early on for us to decide that we’re going to, we are a team.
I think that was the biggest thing early on was for Jeff. And I decided that, you know, we’re a family and our. Kind of mantra that we say is we’re going to protect our nest. And that’s in the book. We talk about protecting our nest and, and what I mean by that is my nest is kind of our home, our family, and in my nest would have been Jeff, John, Alex, and myself, and we were very careful to not let other people’s drama.
Enter our home. And then we also, we’re just careful not to let drama inside, you know, be created inside our home. We always had each other’s back. Meaning you would never hear us badmouthing each other to other people. If Jeff and I had issues with each other, we took care of it. Between us and I would not, you know, get on Facebook and you won’t believe what Jeff did.
You know, what not? We just, we, we were very respectful of each other and very respectful of our family and our family time together. That was our big thing, was just protecting our nest. We had to learn that early on. We didn’t do so well and those first few years, but then we realized, you know, what, if we’re going to make it.
We’re going to have to do everything we can do. We have enough drama going on any, you know, as it is trying to figure out how to best help our son, that we are not going to allow anything else to come in that would disrupt our family harmony.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, that’s a very important insight. And if I could paraphrase what you’ve said, you opened up the lens indication, right?
Absolutely. You talked about things that maybe others. Might not talk about, and you made some decisions, you were intentional or proactive about that, you know, you’re just doing that to protect your time and hopefully your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Becky Davidson: Absolutely.
David Hirsch: So what are some of the bigger challenges that you’ve
Becky Davidson: encountered?
Just trying to navigate early on the special needs life. What that’s gonna look like. I think, you know, when, especially when your child is younger, I remember being so stressed about things with school and things with, yeah. I was a teacher before I had John Alex. And so I knew things from that perspective in the school system.
And so I felt like going in and being, you know, go to an IEP meeting as a teacher and then to sit on the other side of that table as a parent, That was a challenge, you know, early on, I did not handle myself as well as I learned how to, I wish that somebody had just told me all those years ago, you know what, this is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever been through, but you’re going to make it and it’s going to be okay.
And just all of these trials and all these things you’re going to face are actually going to make you stronger and better. And when Jeff and I got to a place of going, okay, you know what? This is our reality. John Alex is who he is. He’s the way God created him to be. And when we came to this place of acceptance, then we got to be came to this.
It is well with my soul, um, where we could have peace and, and just have a have joy in our life because of who John Alex was created to be a challenge is now obviously, or just. W we’re now in this adult season of, um, John Alex’s life and trying to navigate the adult system is a whole new ball game. But again, I’ve gone back to my tried and true of going, okay.
I don’t know how to do this and I’m, but I’m going to be willing to ask for help. And it’s been amazing, just the people and the resources that have come along because I’ve been willing to be vulnerable and say that I need help in these areas.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it sounds like the learning curve was steep. Then it plateaued and then it’s steep again.
Becky Davidson: Exactly, exactly.
David Hirsch: And I’m hoping that for your sake and John Alex was sick plateaus sort of then later on that, it just sort of get a, get back in balance again, if I can say it that
Becky Davidson: way. Yeah, absolutely.
David Hirsch: So I’m wondering what impact John Alex’s situation has had on the rest of your family? Are your parents, siblings, extended family for that matter?
Becky Davidson: Well, you know, it’s so funny because I, you know, I shared early on about how my family growing up, my parents always had the outsiders into our home. I guess that’s what you’d call them. You know, people who really didn’t fit in, they were always a part of our life. And so when John Alex came along, I would say they maybe even had an easier time accepting it than we did.
Yeah. I mean, it was really interesting. I remember it was nothing to them. I think more so for my parents, it was, they felt for me as their daughter, you know, because they saw that our life was not going to be what we thought it was going to be. But accepting John Alex, that was never, ever, ever an issue just fully.
Embraced him as who he was and, um, and just love, love him unconditionally. It’s been beautiful. And so I’m thankful for that because, you know, like I said, all my life, that’s, that’s how they taught me that early on. And that’s just part of my heritage and my identity. Yeah. Well,
David Hirsch: that’s very profound. I’m so glad to hear that.
Um, I’m wondering if there’s been supporting organizations that you’ve relied on over the last 20 years or so on John Alex’s behalf to help him navigate and reach his full potential.
Becky Davidson: Yeah, well, you know, when he was younger in those early years, there was, um, you know, earlier Avention and just having those therapists, you know, who came alongside us and helped us early on was such a help.
They really become family. And I still am friends with so many of them who were there early on with him, you know? And then we are so blessed here in Tennessee, where we have the most amazing school system. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The special ed department here in our County is amazing.
And just those teachers and therapists there that came alongside us and helped us. And you know, when John Alex was school age, And then we have, there’s a sports league here in town that were John Knox when he was younger, especially participated in that. And that was called structured athletics. That’s been a huge part of our life.
Jeff actually served on the board of that years ago. And you know, now we’re kind of in this adult phase. And so now we’re, we’re learning kind of the adult side of things, um, with, uh, he thankfully is part of a waiver program and so providing, um, caregivers for him. And so just the, the people with that agency coming alongside and helping us has been a huge help as well.
I’ll just say rising above too, you know, the, our organization that’s probably did more so than anything.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it sounds like you shifted from this being more of a personal experience to being, you know, a much more encompassing experience that goes well beyond your family. So this might be a good way to.
Segue to talking about the mission that you and Jeff have been on since 2005. From what I remember, yes. What is rising above ministries and who does the organization serve?
Becky Davidson: Okay, well, rising above, we are an outreach ministry to the special needs community. And we started, like you said, back in 2005, really to minister, to families here in the upper Cumberland area of Tennessee.
And we could have never dreamed when we started all those years ago, that we would be where we are now, all these years later, you know, when we started just thinking, we would just have a monthly worship service where families could come in together and be encouraged and, and share a meal together to now, we are worldwide through our online resources.
And so. Our heart and our mission is to bring the love of God and hope in Christ to special needs families. And we have, you know, different retreats and different things that we do to help carry out that mission.
David Hirsch: Well, let’s talk about some of those, um, one of the events that I remember reading about is entitled by the Brook.
Yes. Which I understand as a retreat for moms. Raising children with special needs. What’s that about?
Becky Davidson: So we started about 10 years ago. This will be our 10th anniversary. And I just remember thinking it would be really cool to have a retreat that’s just for special needs moms. And so I got to get it with some other moms and we planned the very first one.
And that very, very first year we had about 50 moms who showed up and now we’ll probably have close to 200 moms who will come this summer. I’m here to Cookeville and it is just, it is a retreat for moms to come in, where they Friday is just all about them and pampering. And we. Give manicures and haircuts and they eat chocolate covered strawberries and they get just amazing meals.
We just trying to think of anything that a mom would never get during the year, just to really build up those moms, encourage them and pamper them. And then on Saturday we have speakers and breakout sessions, and it’s just a way for moms to come in to get their tanks filled so they can go back and be the best caregivers that they can be for their children.
And we have found now, you know, this is our 10th year and we have moms who plan their entire year around this one weekend to make sure that they are there. It’s so important to them. To be able to have this time to be with other moms who get it and understand. And so they do everything they can do to make sure that they can be there.
So it’s just an important part of what we do to empower and equip moms to go, be able to go back and be the best that they can be for their families.
David Hirsch: I love it. Thank you for sharing. There’s another program called soar. Yes. Men’s weekend experience for dads raising kids with special needs.
Becky Davidson: Yes, this year’s retreat actually took place last weekend.
And we had dads from all across the country, uh, to a camp right here in the Cookeville area. And they just got to spend a, you know, that now the dads event looks completely different from our moms event where we’re there’s for the dads, we have fishing and there’s a shooting range and they get to just be with other dads.
And they can share and learn how to go back to their homes, to go back to their families and feed the men that God created them to be. It’s a weakened experience for them to just go away, be with other men who can help equip them and encourage them on this journey. And, you know, just this past weekend we had dads who were in their twenties.
And the dads who been doing this for 20 years, mentoring each other. And it was just, just hearing the stories of the dads who were there. It’s a beautiful thing to, to hear the relationships and those friendships that are started from this weekend. This was something that Jeff started. Many years ago when he was still alive.
And I’m so thankful, we had to take a couple of years off when he was so, so sick. And then when he died, but last year we started it back up and I’m just so grateful to be able to have this as a resource for dads to be able to come and just get their tanks filled, just like we do for the moms. But again, it looks a whole lot different than what we do for the moms.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s filling an unmet need. That’s what, the way I’m hearing it. And it’s something that, uh, is, uh, energizing, right? It’s validating, um, to be amongst people who can relate to what your life is about. They might not have a child with the same special need and might not be the same gender, et cetera.
But, uh, you know, it’s really important to be. Among people who you can let your defense down and be yourself because there’s so many societal pressures, uh, they’ll read subject to. I’m just thrilled to hear that you’re able to carry on even after Jeff’s illness, Jeff’s death to resurrect that. So our program.
So there’s a, another program called together that’s as an TW Oh, gather. Yes. A marriage retreat and workshops that you also do. What’s that about?
Becky Davidson: Well, that was something Jeff and I started again several years ago, we saw firsthand being on the front lines of disability ministry. How many marriages are affected?
When you have a child with special needs and how that the strains and the stresses that that place is on a marriage. And so we started hosting these weekend conferences for special needs couples, and it was just something that he and I both were just so passionate about, about helping. Couples learn how to navigate this life together.
There’s so many things that can cause stresses and strict, you know, financial strain and, you know, so often I think that the moms can kind of, um, try to take a lead in so many things that it can cause so many conflicts. So just kind of learning how to work as a team and be on the same page. When you’re looking at the, at the care plan for your child.
And so we would put these weekends on and just kind of share our story and share our heart and the things that we have learned. And again, we had to take a couple of years off when Jeff was so sick and when he passed away, but we are so excited because we’re going to be able to offer that again this year, actually on September 28th.
What’s so great about this event is we’re going to be recording this. And so it will be available for churches or couples to be able to download and do it. Whenever they, whenever they want to. So we’re excited about being able to offer that, you know, even if you can’t come here to be a part of it live a month or two, after we host the event, you’ll be able to download the retreat and do it on your own as a married couple or a church could download it and do it for special needs couples there at their church.
David Hirsch: brilliant idea, not just to make it for those who are able to be present because that’s big time constraint and to archive the, um, experiences so that they can be leveraged and shared with others.
Becky Davidson: And we do the same thing with, by the Brook. This is bought by the Brook is the same way, the content, the keynotes, and all that.
Those are, will be available in a format virtually as well. So they can be downloaded and used also.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. So, uh, the list goes on. There’s another program called for Jonathan sick. Yes. And these are from, I wrote a member workshops and training events to help churches develop and implement better special needs programs.
Becky Davidson: Yes. This is a training that we have developed here at rising about just something that, again, Jeff and I were passionate about because. We saw as a family, the struggles we faced, you know, Jeff and I both grew up going to church. We were both. I mean, if the doors were open, growing up, we were there. And so then when we have a child with special needs, it’s not so easy getting there.
And if a church is not equipped to be able to know how to care for our child, then we’re not able to go to church. And for, there was a season in our life where we actually even paid someone each week to come. The AARP sends Betty at church so that I could go to church. So kind of through our experiences and through experiences that we’ve heard other families, we developed a curriculum and it’s called for Johnathan sake, which is actually named for our son.
His full name is Jonathan. So, you know, we’re passionate about helping churches know how to love and minister to special needs families. And so part of our training, that training for Jonathan’s sake, we walked churches step by step. How did, how do you even get started? You know, a lot of churches are afraid to get started, cause they don’t know where to start.
So we walk you right through how you get started, what are the steps? And then the training of how to actually set up a classroom, how to set up a buddy program, the whole process. We walk you right through that. And so that’s part of our, for Jonathan’s sake training. I, you know, I don’t know what I would have done had I not had my church family to walk alongside me.
Since Jeff has passed away. Um, if I, if I were going through this and not able to attend to church, I don’t, I don’t know how it would be making it. And so we want that for every special needs family, one every special needs family to be able to find a place where they fit and they belong and they feel loved and accepted.
David Hirsch: I love what you’re talking about because in the largest churches, the mega churches, they have a lot of resources. Highly developed special needs ministries. We have one here on the Chicago area
Becky Davidson: with Willow
David Hirsch: Creek church. They have over 800 families said they provide services to have special needs children, but in the even large churches, medium size, and certainly the small churches.
Now these are not on average welcoming environments for families with special needs. So you’re filling a really important void there. And. And I hope God blesses the work that you’re doing and can make these churches a more welcoming environment. It sounds a lot like the work that I think Johnny and friends does.
Becky Davidson: Yes. Yes. That’s the beautiful thing is that, you know, we are one rising above is one of many organizations that are out there that are trying to meet the needs of special needs families. And I think that’s a beautiful thing. Not that we can’t serve everyone just like Johnny and friends can’t serve everyone.
So when we can all work together, To minister and serve these families, you know, that’s what it’s all about.
David Hirsch: Absolutely. So in addition to the events that we were talking about, there’s a podcast rising above podcasts, which I noted there was more than 10 episodes that you’ve produced.
Becky Davidson: I’m Becky Davidson.
And I want to welcome you to our very first episode of our new podcast. It rising above ministries and we are so excited to be able to offer this new resource for special needs families. And over the weeks and months ahead, you are going to have the opportunity to hear from others.
David Hirsch: There was a blog that Jeff used to do called goodnight Superman, which you’ve archived and is available through your website.
Yes. And then, um, There’s another blog from what I gather as a co by a certain name, Becky,
Becky Davidson: it’s just the rising of a blog. And it, and it tells a lot of just different things that we are doing as a ministry and shares the highlights of some of the different things that we do here at rising above.
David Hirsch: Is there anything else going on at rising above that our listeners should know about?
Becky Davidson: But I think one of the things that I’m most excited about is. Now that we’re going to, that we have downloadable resources available. So if you go to our website, we have a store and you can go and find Bible studies and retreats. We already have one retreat for moms they’re called Lovewell and we’re just going to be adding more and more resources there.
So I’m just, I’m excited to be able to offer that because, you know, I know what it’s like as a special needs mom, especially now that I’m a solo parent too, to be able to go to an actual event. It’s very challenging. And so for us to be able to offer online resources for you, to at your convenience, to be able to participate in, um, I’m just super excited to be able to offer that to split the special needs community worldwide, not even just here, you know, in the U S but wherever you are at whatever time, not our day, you can download.
Resources there that’s most exciting to me and we’ll just be adding more and more to that over the coming years.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. It sounds like the website continues to grow and evolve as the months and years go by. So, um, Jeff was working on a book at the time of his death and titled common man, extraordinary call.
Thriving is the data of the special needs child. And, um, you helped finish that.
Becky Davidson: I did. I did.
David Hirsch: I’d like to spend a little time delving into that. I’ve read a lot of books on fathering, many about raising a child with special needs. And this is one of my favorites. Um, so I’d like to read a few of my favorite exerts.
From the book and get your feedback. But before we do that, I’m wondering if, uh, you want to put that project in perspective, what it was like during the last couple years of Jeff’s life and then what it took to get that project finished?
Becky Davidson: Well, Jeff, um, was I think the thing he was most passionate about was equipping dads.
To be the men that God called them to be and to, um, be engaged and involved because, you know, like I said, early on, he struggled, he struggled as a dad knowing how to relate to John Alex. But when he learned, you know, he had these expectations of what he thought life was going to look like. He thought he played ball in the yard with the son.
He thought he’d take him to university of Tennessee football games, all the things he had done with his dad. And when he saw that wasn’t going to happen, he didn’t know what to do. And so when he learned how to relate to John Alex, as John, Alex was created to be, then his whole perspective changed, it was beautiful.
It’s so beautiful to see the change in him. And he wanted to help other dads know how to do the same. And so he had written blogs and different things directly to the heart of the dad that he felt like it was time to ride. It’s put them all into a book. And so he had written a book proposal, gotten an agent and gotten a book deal just a few months before he passed away.
And I was working on the book. In fact, he was in the hospital. In the ICU and the last few days of his life. And he knew he was on a deadline and asked for his family, asked us to bring him his computer so he could work on the book. It was that important to him to put this book out and he passed away on a Tuesday.
And I went home on that Wednesday, um, to plan his funeral and in the mail was the signed contract from the publisher and his first advance check. Oh,
David Hirsch: my gosh.
Becky Davidson: I was heartbroken. Yeah. I was just heartbreaking because our son, the backstory is our son. John Alex was in the hospital at the same time. Jeff was in the hospital.
So I had both of them in the hospital at the same time. I came home to play in Jeff’s funeral, but family stayed at the hospital with John Alex and that contract and first advanced check is there. So I was heartsick because I thought his dream had died right along with him. And I called his agent to just make sure she knew what had happened.
And she said, I’ve been talking to the publisher. We know how important this was to Jeff. We know how important this message is. We know how needed this is. And we want to do what we can do to make this happen. Are you game for that? So this was a week after Jeff’s had died, you know? And I was like, absolutely, I will do.
We’ll do whatever we’ve got to do to get this book published. And so I had a great team who came alongside other special needs dads and other people who helped me take his notes, take what he had started, take his sermons and come up with the finished book that I’m just so super proud of because I know Jeff would be so proud of, of the finished product.
David Hirsch: Well, thank you for the backstory. That’s a little bit more powerful than I realized. It’s a passion that you both shared that he started and you’ve finished, and it’s an amazing, it’s an amazing resource. So if you’ll allow me, I’d like to read a, a number of experts and just get your reaction or your insight if you would.
So Jeff would often say about being a father of a child with profound, special needs quote. I’m not the dad. I thought I would be, but. I am becoming the dad. God wants me to believe it.
Becky Davidson: Yeah.
David Hirsch: When did he come to that realization? And what was the catalyst for that way of thinking?
Becky Davidson: You know, I think, I don’t remember an actual moment when that happened, but I remember, you know, if you go back and you read his writings, you can just see the deepening love that he had for his son.
He always loved his son, but just, I think when he started to realize. Probably probably when we started rising above, I would say just that yeah, my life didn’t look the way I thought it was going to look. I’m not the dad that I thought that I was going to be. I’m not going to play ball in the backyard.
I’m not going to go to sports games with my son, but I’m the dad that God wanted me to be. I’m turning into that. Dad and dad is one of my most favorites. Quotes from Jeff, um, because it’s so true. And, and, and for people who didn’t know him, that’s the essence of who he, he was. I mean, he, when he started realizing, you know, what my life is going to look completely different, so we’re going to embrace that and I’m going to embrace the dab that God actually created me to be.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s a process. It’s an evolution, right? For some, it could be rather short and quick and for others. Takes a longer period of time. And sadly for others, they don’t make the transition. Right. They’re stuck,
Becky Davidson: you know,
David Hirsch: where they thought they were going to be and they can’t make the adjustment. So it’s a beautiful thing.
So the second is your mission. Is this embrace your child exactly the way God created him or her. Love your child unconditionally and passionately with all your heart. And I’m wondering. This isn’t just a dad thing.
Becky Davidson: Absolutely.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Moms and dads have to address. I’m wondering, did you struggle with this yourself?
Becky Davidson: You know? Yeah, I did. I mean, I remember early on, just again, I threw myself into that mode of finding therapists, finding anybody who could help our son and being a teacher. I remember writing lesson plans for my two year old child. You know, because that’s what I knew. I was like, we got it, we got to work and we got to get this.
And I missed out on being a mom. You know, I was too worried. I was being his therapist instead of his mom. And so when, when I stopped to just go, you know what, John Alex is who he’s supposed to be, he’s created the way he’s supposed to be. I’m going to love and accept. Who he is and, Oh my goodness. Just the peace and joy that came into our hearts.
And, and I really think Jeff and I probably came to that and I don’t think this is reality for a lot of families, but I think because we started rising above together and did all that together, I think we kind of came to that place pretty close to the same time. I think it’s, I think sometimes one parent gets there quicker than another and some don’t get there at all.
But for us, we got there, I would say kind of close to the same time. And it was life giving and life changing for us to just say, this is who our boy is and we love and accept him unconditionally. Just the way he’s created to be.
David Hirsch: Well, it is remarkable when you look back and you can’t look forward, you can only look back and say it happened at about the same time.
And that’s not common, right? That is uncommon. It’s usually one parent gets this piece or this level of acceptance and the other is just not on the same page and it’s not like a good or bad thing. It’s just that we’re all wired differently. And it’s a miracle really to be able to get there and then to get there, you know, in a.
Yeah. In a similar timeframe, if not the same timeframe. So thank you for sharing and emphasizing that. Yeah. I thought in a profound way, Jeff articulated the rules of engagement for all special needs dads. And I’m just going to read them because it’s worth highlighting a, your strength will be magnified by your surrender.
The, your toughness will be displayed. By your tenderness. See your significance will be measured by your selflessness and the, your success will be determined by your sacrifice. Can you provide an example or two that comes to mind when you’re thinking about Jeff’s involvement on one or more of these.
Becky Davidson: So I think for Jeff, when 10 years ago, when he started bodies started breaking down, he developed this tenderness and the softness that he didn’t have before.
And he started to experience life as someone who was disabled himself. And so he was then able to see things probably through our son’s perspective. You know, uh, there, the last few years of his life, Jeff was in a wheelchair, Jeff required care. Uh, I think he had a totally different perspective being disabled in many ways, himself than an abled body father, um, to, to kind of give it a perspective of what his son.
What’s going through and what other people in the disability community go through daily. So when he started seeing the sacrifices that other people were giving things they were doing for him, it just changed his whole perspective.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, let’s hope that not everybody has to experience disability firsthand to get that message or that understanding
Becky Davidson: exactly.
David Hirsch: Uh, another quote that really touched me is God has used my son to teach me the essence of unconditional love.
Becky Davidson: Yeah,
David Hirsch: I’m wondering at what age was John Alex when Jeff or maybe the two of you came to embrace that statement?
Becky Davidson: Always early on. I mean, El parents, you would hope, love their child unconditionally.
And I think when you have a child who requires so much care, you. Learn very quickly. I don’t know, just the tenderness for that child. You can either get hard about it and you can get bitter about it. Or you can use that too, to even draw you closer to that child. And so for us, it always just brought us closer to our child.
It was an it’s an honor to get, to serve our child into, to love on our child. When John Alex was younger. Those special care needs that he had. It just made us love him, all that much more to go. We get to take care of you and we get to love on you and serve you in this way. And that’s not the case for all parents, but for us, um, yeah, there were times that you’re exhausted and you know, and there are seasons when he doesn’t sleep and you do like, I just want to sleep, um, that it’s frustrating and it’s hard.
It wasn’t always that way. Where, where we were just like, this is great. There are moments where it’s hard and it’s challenging and you want to run into the cave. But I don’t know when we came to just say, this is our boy and we love him just the way he is. It’s our whole perspective shifted and made everything just so much smoother in our life.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, what a great insight. Thank you. Um, in the chapter titled drafted. There’s a quote. Um, although I didn’t know, at first I had been drafted to be a father of a child with profound, special needs in time. I would consider being drafted the greatest honor of my life, but not in the early years. Would that apply to both of you?
Not just Jeff.
Becky Davidson: Yeah, I would say so. I mean, again, those early years are just, it’s kind of a blur, you know, you’re just trying to deal with your new parents. And then when you start realizing that things are just not the way that you thought they were going to be, it’s hard. And just trying to deal with that new reality and having therapist in your home every day, doing therapy, not being able to go and do the things that your typical friends are going to do and seeing their children doing things, your child can’t do.
It’s hard. It is hard. And so yes, early on, that was a real challenge for both of us, but often talked about early on, our friends would still invite us to their kids’ birthday parties, which was great. We wanted to go and yet we would go, and it was so hard because our friends, kids were playing and jumping and doing things are sent it and do, and so you start the not going and then they.
They stop asking, and then you kind of get mad because they’re not asking anymore. Um, and so it’s, it’s a hard place to be as a young parent, especially when I think when it’s your first child, this is all that we knew. And, um, yeah, it’s, it’s a, it was a real challenge for both of us early on.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, it’s a balancing act.
It’s a double edged sword for that matter, you know, you want to be involved. It’s like a lot of other things in life. Be careful what you ask for. And then if you disengage, like you were referring, if you disengage, then the invitations stop coming.
Becky Davidson: Exactly. But if people don’t know what to do,
David Hirsch: right. What I hear you saying, what I’ve heard other parents say, Becky, is that you want to err on the side of being engaged, staying engaged and not isolating yourself and not hunkering down if you will, and the cave, trying to figure it out on your own.
And you know, if you want to have a life that is engaged with other families, not just special needs families, but with the broader community. You know, you have to persevere, right? You have to stay out there and there are going to be times where you probably say it would have been easier. You know, if we didn’t do that or we could have avoided that situation, but that’s not real either.
Becky Davidson: So. Yeah, the cave is not fun. You think it’s safe. You think that being in the cave is safe and where you’re isolated, but it’s isolation. This leads to death and we have to be in community with other people, um, in order to survive this world.
David Hirsch: So there was another, uh, quote in the same chapter, drafted, realizing that my precious son would never walk on his own speak.
Live independently was a nuclear Holocaust to my hopes and dreams. How did you cope with that?
Becky Davidson: You know, again, I think those early years are somewhat of a blur. You have these expectations. We, you know, we thought we were going to be your typical family. I was going to be PTO president. We’d be a soccer, you’ll be a soccer mom.
Jeff would do all the things he did with his dad. And then when you start realizing this is not your reality, this is not going to be what your life is going to look like. Man it’s like in, you know, sucker punched in the gut. And, and what do you do with that? And those first few years, like I said, we, we didn’t fare so well.
We hit in the cave. We isolated ourselves. That was probably one of the hardest season. And it was during that timeframe that my sister gave me the quote that quote I shared earlier about people are going to take their cues from us. And that’s when we, around that time is when we started going, we can’t, we can’t do this.
We gotta figure out. How are we going to navigate this? And I remember feeling like, so those early years that we were the only family in our community that had a child with special needs because we never saw anybody else. It was, I thought we were the only ones here in this County. You have a child with special needs, but I knew that wasn’t true.
And so that’s when our God started pulling our hearts to start rising above because we knew we needed a community, but we also knew that it was a struggle finding that in the quote unquote, typical world. And so we wanted to create that safe place for families to be able to come and, and have, have community with other people who understood and got what their life was like.
David Hirsch: the chapter entitled, absent without leave. Jeff writes, um, I wish the younger overwhelmed dad I had then could have been mentored and reassured in those early days. I would tell my younger self, as I tell you now, This journey is going to be hard, harder than you can imagine, but it’s going to be one of the most richly rewarding experience of your life.
There is a purpose to this pain, a message in the mess, and every trial will produce a trial. If you surrender your pain to God, then God will reveal himself to you and unspeakable ways. Was there a turning point or an event that occurred that prompted this perspective?
Becky Davidson: No, he shares in the book, a story about a dad, Jason I’m the pastor of our church knew about this.
Dad. His daughter had just gotten a diagnosis and the dad needed somebody to talk to. And Jeff remembered how hard that was early on. He didn’t never attempt, didn’t have anybody near did I, neither one of us had anybody else who walked this journey, who was further down the path than us. We were just kind of out there on our own.
And so when Jeff started pouring into that dad and telling him, being able to tell him all of those things that he had learned, that he wished that he had known all those years ago to see, then this dad become engaged and involved and know how to emotionally. Adapt to the changes that he was going to encounter now that he was not expecting either.
When you read that, I could just hear Jeff saying that I could hear him. That was his heart. So to be able to then pour into other dads and help them on this journey was just so important to him. And so I love that. Um, I love what you just read. That’s one of my favorite things from him.
David Hirsch: Thank you again for sharing in the chapter band of brothers, Jeff writes.
On this journey, he must have comrades teachers, mentors, and fellow soldiers to survive. It’s imperative that we find our band of brothers and stick together as if our lives depended on it. He went on to write, listen carefully. I’m telling you something vitally important. You can’t do this on your own.
You can try, but you’ll run out of gas. You’ll become discouraged and risk hurting the family that so desperately needs you. You may also risk her own wellbeing. I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t consider running out into the battlefield alone. Becky, you know, all men are wired. Similarly, we’re going to get from point a to point B on our own.
What advice can you provide dads or moms for that matter to help?
Becky Davidson: Well, for me, you know, I’ve seen over this past two years, you know, I had friends and people I did life with, but I’ve created my own female version of a band of brothers instead of a column. My Trob it’s much. I have much rod, my tribe of girls and we have our little chop has a name.
And, you know, like this past Friday was Jeff’s birthday and they all came to my house so that I would not be alone. And we walk through everything together. And, you know, I think for women, that’s a whole lot easier to build those bonds of friendship than it is for men a lot of times. But Jeff had some deep male friendships.
He served on the elder team at our church and those men were his brothers. They were there for each other through thick or thin. They were there with him when he passed, they were in the room with us when he passed away. You know, everybody needs those people. You it’s, like you said, you wouldn’t go out on the battle field alone.
We shouldn’t think that we can go out into this harsh world by ourselves. We need those people around us that when we’re slipping or when we’re falling. They’re going to see us and help us and catch us and lift us back up. But they’re also going to be, they’re going to be there for, through those good and fun times as well.
But I cannot imagine going through these past two years without my band of sisters, I’ll call them my tribe. Um, who have walked with me and just as women need that men need that as well. And, you know, because women and men deal with things differently and their perspectives are so different. That’s why I need those girlfriends in my life who understand it coming from a female perspective.
And then men, you need it from the male’s perspective of how you deal with things, because how you’re going to look at things are going to be so completely differently than how your spouse is or how another female is. And so. No, we can’t go into this battlefield without having those people surrounding us and lifting us up through the good and through the bad.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, what I hear you saying is, err, on the side of engaging error on the side of being involved with a group, whether it’s a women’s group or a guys group, it’s critically important not to isolate yourself and try to figure it out on your own.
Becky Davidson: Absolutely.
David Hirsch: So thank you for finishing that. Book creating this amazing resource.
And I’m hoping that it will see a much wider audience as a result of conversations. Like the ones we’re having.
Becky Davidson: Well, it’s our heart that I’m more dads just come to know who they’re called to be and to be equipped to do that. And you know, you never got a chance to meet Jeff, but you can meet him and hear him through his website.
Um, that goes along with the book. Um, common medics ordinary call.com where we have sermons that he preached and podcast and videos of him speaking. And so you can kind of get a glimpse of him there as well.
David Hirsch: Great. Thanks for sharing some sort of curious to know, why did you agree to do a podcast interview for the special father’s network?
Becky Davidson: Well, you know, it’s kind of goes along with why did I agree to finish my husband’s book? It’s an important message. You know, it’s an important message that. Jeff passed that passion onto me. I had the most amazing husband. He was the most amazing dad and it is an honor for me to be a part of his legacy carrying on.
To be a part of his message continuing. I can’t imagine if I had said no, you know, when the book was finally finished and I saw the copy and I saw the beautiful picture of Jeff and our son on the front cover, I honestly, I thought to myself, what if I’d said no, what if I’d said, no, I just can’t do this.
And so it’s, it’s just an honor. I want just like he wanted. For dads to know their calling and to embrace their calling. I have that same passion because now that’s missing in my life. Having that person in my lie. That’s a void and I don’t want any other family to have that. And so it’s an honor for me to get to share part of our story.
If it can help just one dad, if it can help one family, it’s so worth it all those months of writing the book and getting it finished. If it helps one family, it was worth it. And Jeff would have said the same thing.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, what a great role model you are to so many different people and it’s not just within the special needs community, but the broader community.
Uh, the strength and perseverance that you’ve displayed and the commitment to serving, not just your own family, but to serving others. It’s it’s exemplary. So let’s give a special shout out to our mutual friends at the Tim Tebow foundation for putting us in contact with one another.
Becky Davidson: Exactly.
David Hirsch: Let’s also give a shout out to our mutual friend, Matt Mooney, uh, one of the other special fathers network fathers, and, uh, podcast ad number 37 for that matter.
Becky Davidson: A deep friendship with the TiVo foundation. And I’m just so grateful for them and, you know, branding. Um, I remember Brandy sent me a text telling me about you and asking if we could, she could share my contact with you. And, and so who knew that months later, we’d be doing a podcast together and, um, yeah, Matt, um, I got to meet Matt just a couple of weeks ago for the first time and just a great guy, his organization, 99 balloons.
I’m just blown away. But what they’re doing and, you know, he was one of the dads who endorsed common man extraordinary call. So, um, it’s, there’s just so many great people out there trying to spread the message that special needs families are important and they’re valued and just encourage special needs families.
So I’m honored to get, to be a, just a small part in this community of special needs advocates.
David Hirsch: Well, thanks for helping break the glass ceiling on the dad, the dad podcast.
Becky Davidson: Thank you. I’m honored to be, I’m honored to be the first. So thank you so much.
David Hirsch: So if somebody wants to get information on rising above ministries, make a donation or to contact you, how would they go about doing that?
Becky Davidson: The best way is through our website. We have a great website that’s full of resources. You can go and find out more about what we do and that website is. Rising above ministries.org. And that’s the best way to find out who we are and what we do at rising above.
David Hirsch: If somebody wanted to contact you, there’s a way to do that through your website.
Becky Davidson: Absolutely. You can do that through that website. You can also find me through my website, which is redefinethislife.com. That’s kind of the sad thing that I’ve started since Jeff died. So redefinethis ife.com. You can reach me directly through either one of those.
David Hirsch: Okay. Well, we’re going to do a followup interview.
Becky wants to redefine this life.com or that work that you’re doing, you know, is a little bit more seasoned because it sounds like, uh, that would be worth, uh, learning more about as well.
Becky Davidson: That’d be great,
David Hirsch: Becky, thank you for taking the time and many insights. As a reminder, Becky is just one of the individuals who supports the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers, raising a child with special needs.
If you’d like to be a mentor father or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation, do your own. Please go to 21stcenturydads.org. And lastly, if you believe the work that this not for profit does is important. Please support the cause with your tax deductible donation, Becky.
Becky Davidson: Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity.
Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the dad to dad podcast produced by couch audio for the Special Fathers Network. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process.
New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers, go to 21stcenturydads.org. That’s 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group.
Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: If you enjoy our podcast, be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts. I’m Tom Couch. Thanks for listening.