Don’t Let the Ted Williams Story be a Set Up for a Let Down
January 8, 2011 28 Comments
One can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy for Ted Williams and his seemingly miraculous journey from homeless to hopeful. But unless a life transformation support system is put in place to secure his success he will soon be helpless, and possibly homeless, again.
It’s hard to find anybody who hasn’t been affected by addiction. Addicts and their family and friends know that it’s a BEAST! The combination of drugs, years of homelessness (especially after knowing a level of success), the added shame, isolation and criminal activity inevitably means a turbulent and long mental, emotional and physiological road ahead for Williams.
A Media and Marketing Ploy
Second chances are great, but let’s be real: These “miracles” of raining job opportunities and employment contracts for Ted Williams are not the end of his trials, but rather the beginning. His sudden access to income poses as much threat as they do potential, so failing to treat his situation holistically is nothing short of a set up for him and his family for even more, greater disappointment.
A real commitment to Ted Williams would include a life transformation support system that will teach him how to thrive in his new life. Anything other than that is a media ploy of good will that will only benefit its marketers.
(Since posting this blog much has happened with Ted. Here’s a time line of sorts – a journalists account of the media’s “inability to resist the rags to riches to rehab storyline”)
Mommy Cares, but Skeptical
As she should be after 20 plus years of promises and disappointments, “Mommy” (it’s what 54 year old Ted calls his mother) has more proof that Ted won’t make it than she does that he will. From all public accounts she seems to be set in her beliefs and ways. Like all Mommies, Ms. Julia’s got her own issues. Sure, Mommy wants better for him. But she’s probably not capable of playing a supportive role, at least in the beginning, in Ted’s transformative journey toward stability.
Ms. Julia is who and what she is – for her son’s good or not. She clearly, above all, wants her son to succeed, to make the most of the new opportunities he’s been presented with. And she’s clearly naïve about the intrinsic nature of transformations because her message hasn’t changed – pray. But if natural talent and prayer were enough it would’ve been enough 20 years ago – it was not enough then, and it’s not enough now.
There are many other videos of Ms. Julia’s feelings about Ted. You’ll find them with a quick Google search or at the end of each of these there are links to others.
Have you ever had somebody who served up regular reminders of what a mess you’ve made of your life? Ms. Williams is consumed with the “shame” Ted’s brought on her and their family. She was incapable of just being happy for him; focusing on his being there with her after two decades apart; appreciating that her son is in a better position than she thought was possible for him; and savoring the moment.
Instead, she speaks more of the hurt, pain, shame, and disappointment Ted’s life has brought her than the opportunities for redemption (isn’t that what she’s been praying for?), sustainable living, reconciliation with his children and grandchildren, not to mention the gift to the world he can give again because the man does have a set of pipes that’s soothing to the soul.
Others are not your problem, rather what you BELIEVE about others.
Totally unintentionally, she’d keep him in the past – making it tough to live in the now in order to create a productive future. After all, it’s where she lives – in the past wrongs that she BELIEVES Ted has done to her.
Role of Religion
Her husband (Ted’s father) was a Jehovah’s Witness and Mommy goes to “a nice church” (her words) in Brooklyn. Now depending on what side of the coin you’re on, their prayers have finally worked or their religion is what’s pushed Ted away. All due respect to religions and spiritual beliefs but here’s the thing about redemption and miracles, they need cooperation. Ted needs some life skills to deal with where he’s been, what he’s lived and what he BELIEVES about it all in order to successfully navigate where he’s going.
Opportunity is Doomed without Transformation
While many are throwing money at him right now, along with that he needs refining because the moment he embarrasses one of his sponsors, the rug will be pulled and he’ll become the man who was given such tremendous opportunities, but blew it!
What Ted Williams needs is time and space to grow, along with the opportunities. He needs teachers who’ll be friends, too – who will treat him tenderly yet firmly as he develops confidence, discipline, focus and patience. Because voiceover work is about more than speaking; it’s often a game of hurry up, wait and do overs. He’ll need permission to miss it while trying to make it in daily interactions because in the media business, interpersonal and social skills are imperative. He needs to know that it’s okay to be afraid, but not to the point of impeding progress. And he shouldn’t be expected to be an All Star overnight, rather he must be given space to learn – NEXT Decision BETTER, Ted!
Inner City Athletes-Rappers Success Syndrome (ICARSS)
Yeah, I made that up. But the way inner-city kids/young adults who aren’t used to having money and fame screw up opportunities by continuing to operate in all that they know – without any new skills to deal with their new lives – is what we can expect from Ted Williams without a transformation support system. This would include drug counseling and support in recovery, family and relationship therapy, life-skills development, etc., to help in his many transitions.
The list of examples of ICARSS is CRAZY: Lil Wayne, Mike Tyson, Lil Kim, Michael Vick, T.I., Ray Lewis, Mystikal, Ricky Williams, RemyMa, Lawrence Taylor, GucciMane, Michael Irvin, C-Murder, Ray Carruth, Foxy Brown. And the list of self destructive behaviors and collateral damage goes on and on, from jail to broke and every kind of trouble in between, until they learned to effectively live their new lives and acclimate to changing environments.
No, Ted Williams is not a kid – he’s well into his 50s – proof that age has nothing to do with effective living. Everyone has the capacity to learn, as proven by most of the ICARRS examples I just mentioned, but what he needs to learn in order to be considered a success will happen over time, not over night and he WILL have some hiccups and setbacks – many of which are already being set up.
He’s never had an apartment, yet they’ve offered him a house…Set up!
He’s not paid bills yet they’re trusting him to be financially responsible…Set up!
According to him, he hadn’t spoken with his mother in a decade nor seen her in two decades, yet they put them on national television for a “reunion” exposing their vulnerabilities and the dysfunctionality of their relationship…Set up!
He’s not had a relationship with his children, lived on the streets for 20 years, begged to eat, became a repeat felon to support an alcohol and drug addiction and now he’s got thousands of dollars in income being offered, without any new skills to deal with any of it…HUGE Set UP!
Although I made ICARSS up I’ve seen stranger things in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the bible of psychology – remember where you heard it first.
I want the best for Ted Williams and I hope that those offering him all these wonderful opportunities will collectively commit to him as a project because he’ll need mental and emotional stability – tools to be responsible to and for self and accountable to those paying him. At this point, he’s not even remotely able to handle the pressure of suddenly being depended upon, to be fiscally prudent or to be a real success story.
Praying and hoping for the best is not the same as properly assessing what is and effectively plotting a course that ensures success.
What do you think? Comment below, I’m listening…
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All the best,
Speaker, Individuality Advocate
Author of Living by Design and Living in Harmony