One day he'll get distracted in school. Teachers, coaches, and administrators will shake their heads at him. They will yell at him. They will attempt to project his future and who he will become. They will give up on him.
One day he'll lose his job. He will get depressed. He will isolate himself. He'll start to drink. He'll make a bad decision. He'll start piling up regrets. He will feel like the failure he was told he would become.
One day he won't have the confidence to be the husband he vowed to be. He'll let her down. She'll walk away. He'll be alone.
One day his kids will doubt his love for them. He will doubt his ability to provide for his children. He will stop spending time with them. He will distance himself.
One day he'll feel like a disappointment. He'll question the existence of God. He'll question his value. He'll question his life.
And maybe someday...someone...will ask him about his story.
And that someone will hear how, as a child, he lost his father on 9/11. Or maybe how he was victimized in horrific ways. Or neglected. Or how he lost the ability to trust after the Boston marathon bombing.
There will be a story of abuse, tragedy, addiction, fear, loss, grief, or disappointment.
Our past experiences do not keep us from becoming all we can be. They hold no power over us. But they do play a role in our lives. They become obstacles that some never quite seem to be able to overcome. And they will always be a part of our stories.
How differently would things have been for this man if someone had asked about his story sooner? If someone had taken the time to get to know him. To understand why he rebelled. Why he fought back. Why he had trust issues.
This is not about excuses. This is about stories. We all have them. And they have shaped us all.
I know my story. But I may not know yours. And if I have not taken the time to know your story. Then I really don't know you.
It is easy to be critical of what we do not understand. It is even easier to be critical of who we do not understand.
Storytelling is great. Story-sharing is greater.