Lamb Chop, Anyone?

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shane-1x.jpgI was a bit of a victim of a lack of cable tv when I was a kid. I didn’t get to see all the shows that other kids talked about growing up: the ones that you needed to not live on a farm in the middle of nowhere for. But I remembered the puppet, Lamb Chop. I think she was everyone’s soft spot.The cards kind of seemed stacked against Shane right from the beginning. For reasons beyond anyone’s understanding, his father gave him the impression, from the time he was a tiny child that he wasn’t wanted. And it wasn’t something he dreamed up: he recalls incidents that his family have confirmed of outright abuse and neglect and he was left to bear the brunt of a lot of pain his father had internalized. When he was 3 his mother decided that enough was enough, and she divorced him and tried to move on with her life. And that is when she met Kevin, the man that would forever leave an impact on Shane about how to treat women, how to be a father, and how to take care of his family. Shane bonded with him almost instantly, but it was short lived.It was a few weeks before Christmas, and as a 5 year old boy, he was asked an important question by Kevin: “What do you want for Christmas?”. He already knew the answer because he had been focused on it for quite some time. He wanted a Criss-Cross Crash and a Lamp Chop puppet. So simple, yet something that would follow him for years to come, because that was one of his last conversations with Kevin. Kevin died shortly after from a heart attack; Shane found him on their bathroom floor. That Christmas was the loneliest of Shane’s young life.Christmas morning, as he got up with his mother and sister and they tried to make the most of their time together, he began to open his gifts. There, under the tree, just like he had been promised, was the Criss-Cross Crash and the Lamb Chop puppet. They now meant more to him than ever because they were his only tangible link to the man who had been the father to him that he had always wanted. He would treasure that puppet for the rest of his life, a reminder of someone who had loved him unconditionally when he needed it the most. When all the gifts were gone under the tree, they noticed one last, tiny box, wrapped with a bow. It had been put there by Kevin only days earlier, and it was an engagement ring for Shane’s mom. There were no words to describe the loss, only pain and tears.shane-speaking-in-showx.jpgAs time passed, Shane began to move on with his life, never hearing from his biological father and feeling deep down that it was probably for the best. Shane didn’t want anything to do with him, as he only represented a source of pain and loss in his life. Until one day the phone rang and it was him.He asked to see Shane, and somehow, despite how he felt, Shane conceded and allowed him the honour of seeing him again. But that day his father left Shane with an almost impossible request: to please forgive him for all that he had done to him and for how much he had failed him. And somewhere from deep within, Shane felt it was time to just let it all go and recognize that this man can no longer define and influence how he would live his life. Shane didn’t want to be a victim anymore – he wanted to be free.Shortly after that conversation, Shane received shocking news he wasn’t expecting: his father had died, and Shane had no idea that he had been sick. Life came full circle for him, yet again. Only now, he had closure, because he was able to let it all go. He wasn’t the abused and scared little boy anymore; he was a young man who understood the power of forgiveness and the gift of hope.Today, along with his wife, Katie, Shane leads one of our high school road teams across the nation. Each day he stands on a stage and shares his story, opens up his life, and holds out the gift of hope to thousands upon thousands of youth. And each day, there are always those in the crowd who need to hear it once asked him why he does what he does. His answer was so simple. “I believe in the power of relationships and LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) gives me the outlet to live that out every day.”Oh, and by the way, that same little Lamb Chop puppet goes across Canada on tour with him and his team!To find out more about LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) and our Think Day and Hero Holiday programs, check out This is how hope begins…

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: February 7th, 2011