Lessons Learned: Shawn Stockman
February 17, 2016
by Shawn Stockman
Whether you want to believe it or not, we are all here for a reason; we each have a purpose. Though many of you reading this have yet to fully connect with your purpose, chances are you’re actively seeking it out.
When we seek our purpose, we do so with the best of intentions and deliberate awareness. The hope is that it will lovingly descend on us from some source of diving inspiration or come to us in a dream with clear messaging that points us towards our path.
That’s usually NOT how it works.
What tends to happen is a little less magical, but divine nonetheless. Sometimes, people are drawn to a particular career or passion through some sort of repetitive engagement that we grow to love. Other times, people are shocked into their purpose through an interesting twist of fate.
Such was the case for Boyz II Men member, Shawn Stockman, and his wife Sharhonda. Shawn and Sharhonda are deeply humble people and connected to God, so when their son Micah was diagnosed with autism, their faith was tested.
Sharhonda began to experience a sense of guilt “… for me, as a mother, it was just hard. I blamed myself and wondered what could I have done to prevent this from happening. How did I miss the signs? Although I knew about autism and felt compassion for those families who struggled with the diagnosis, my compassion deepened after Micah was diagnosed. I understood it better.”
On the other hand, Shawn wondered if he was being punished, “As a father and husband, I wondered what did I do to deserve this? What judgment am I going through to take this on with my own flesh and blood?” His judgment evolved into a bigger question to which he and his wife were able to experience the answer. Shawn summed it up nicely, “You often wonder, why does this happen to people? Then we understood it through the irony of life. The irony was Micah’s diagnosis helped us realize that our lives are so much bigger than our own selves.”
It was through embracing their fears of blame, rejection, and punishment that they found their purpose. “It put a lot of things in perspective for me,” said Shawn. “I’m using my platform as an artist to help educate, support, and provide hope to those living with autism. I believe this is the reason I am in this position. My career is more than just singing, it has a deeper meaning now because I can utilize it to help others.”
Sharhonda shared a story that helped her face her feelings and evolve them into love, “Everyday when I took Micah to school, I was sad. He went to a different classroom and it was a reminder that something was different with my child. What caught my eye was a woman whose child also had to go to a different classroom, but she was always happy and I wondered why.”
“One day I just asked her, ‘Excuse me, can I ask you a question? Why are you so damn happy?’ and she laughed. ‘What motivates you to smile and come here every morning so bright and chipper?’ Her response to me was, Why not her? What made her any different than the next person that was given this challenge and opportunity to touch lives and educate people?”
“Her response helped me put things in perspective and there was my ‘a-ha’ moment. Who says that only ‘good things’ were supposed to just happen to me? What makes me different than another family? That was the moment I chose to be open about what is going on with my son, because I was very secretive about him. I stopped and thought about all of the pity parties I had for myself and realized that I could either crawl up in a corner, cry and die OR I could lace up my boots, be my son’s biggest supporter, and an amazing advocate for this cause.
1) You are more beautiful than you realize. Sharhonda said, “Micah made me a better mother, wife, friend. And, I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if Micah didn’t have autism.”
2) What other’s think about you is none of your business. Don’t worry about what people think because everyone has an opinion. If you worry about what people say, you are not going to go far and it will hinder your ability to become the best you.
3) To whom much is given, much is required. Shawn said, “I wasn’t put in this position just to sing. The crazy thing about life is that you may not know what your purpose is, but when you find it, there’s no question. You move forward and proudly take on that responsibility with courage.”
4) Two is better than one. Despite all of the arguments, disagreements, and imperfections, I believe my wife and I encompass what a marriage is. It’s what you go through. Through it all, I saw that my wife is a fighter and it’s a wonderful thing.
Thank you Shawn and Sharhonda for sharing your your Lessons Learned! To learn more about autism and see how they are using their purpose to help others visit their website Micah’s Voice.
With love and light, we wish you pleasant journeys