Do you ever question why things may happen to you? What do you do when adversity hits you? In this episode, Kenneth Allen Thomas, a husband, father, coach, entrepreneur, author, and advocate for the Down Syndrome & Childhood Cancer Community discusses how developing an unshakeable mindset as a young child played to its full potential when his son who was born Down syndrome developed Leukemia at 14 months of age and beat it in half the time. Kenneth now travels the world coaching people on how to develop an unshakeable mindset. Whether the topic is Personal Growth, Leadership, Overcoming adversity, or Elevating the Mindset, Kenny's message is effective and inspires change.
1. "Life's not fair, and it's a jungle out there."
2. "The best practice is action."
3. "Remove yourself to improve yourself."
4. "Lyrics affect the mind, rhythm affects the will, and the melody affects the emotions. Show me what a person is listening to, and I'll show you their lifestyle."
5. "Seek to understand before seeking to be understood."
Connect with Kenneth Allen Thomas at:
Connect with Joseph James:
Joseph: Hey everyone, and welcome to another great show of Purpose Through Pain Podcast, I am your host Joseph James. And today we have an amazing gentleman that's gonna come on and going to talk to you about an unshakeable mindset. He's gone through the hell in his own life, but has been able to come out not only just on top of life, but you know, living the legacy that he's choosing to live by having an unshakeable and unbreakable, spirit. And I just wanna welcome you guys to the show and let you guys hear firsthand from the man. Mr. Kenneth. How you doing my brother?
Kenneth: I'm doing good, man. Thank you for having me on, Joe.
Joseph: Yes, sir, yes, sir. So, you know, purpose through pain, you know, we all go through it, man. And you've been through your fair share of, of things in life, take us back to man to swear, you know, the pain that you've experienced in life, but also just where did this unshakable mindset come from for you?
Kenneth: Yeah, yeah. I think the unshakable mindset started when I was, the seed was planted when I was five. I'll go that far back. I'm 38, I'll be 39 this year. So it goes back to when I was five years old. My mom, she was, she's a great leader, you know, my father as well too. My father's in the military, my mom was a ministry assistant. And when I was younger, I always tell the story where my my mom taught me how to make my first batch of eggs when I was five years old, right? And by the time I got the opportunity to master it, I said, mom, can I make my own eggs? She said, yeah, make your sister some too. I said, all right, cool. And then you know, next I wanted to learn how to make pancakes. Mom, can I make my own pancakes? You know, she said, she'll teach me how to make pancakes. And when I mastered that, I said, mom, can I make my own pancakes by myself? She said, yeah, make your sister some too. And then finally after that, I learned how to make french toast. And you know, the same deal. Mom, can I make my own french toast? She said, yeah, make your sister some too. And after a while I'm like, mom, can I, you know, why do I have to keep making, you know, stuff for Desiree, right? Why do I have to keep making stuff for her? She said, well, Kenny, at some point in time, you know, all you're gonna have is each other. So you're gonna have to learn how to lead. And there are some things that are gonna happen in life then you're gonna have to learn how to protect, you know, protect people, and you're gonna have to learn how to protect your loved ones. And when you serve them, you know, that is essentially getting you geared up for whatever it is to come, whatever you're gonna face. By the time I was 10 years old, my mom and my dad their jobs took them away from the home. My mom, her job took her away to St. Louis, Missouri, my dad took him to Ohio and South Carolina, and at the same time, he was caring for my grandparents at the time who were you know, up in age. So, if they had two choices, either they stay, either we stay here in Jersey, right, and we get someone to watch the kids while we're away or we take them with us and then they have to travel and leave the foundation of what we've already built, my parents chose to keep me and my sister here in Jersey, where my grandfather or my cousin or somebody like that will watch us. But you know, I would see my parents every two to three weeks and, you know, for a kid at 10 years old, you're seeing your parents every two to three weeks, it's like, man, you know, a lot of kids go through that now because they live in, you know, broken homes or separate households, single family homes and things of that nature. This was a totally different type of situation where I didn't have a single family home, both of my parents had to, you know, go work to make ends meet to make sure that we had a home to stay in. So a lot of the things that I learned, picking my sister up from school, walking her from the bus stop, and you know, in the morning, you know, at this time, obviously there was no social media, there was no phones, there was none of that. You had to really rely on the term of, you know, it takes a village to raise a child type of mentality. So this came from my unshakeable mindset came from that, I was already tested from the beginning, learning with my sister. And throughout life, you kind of go through some other trials and tribulations and things of that nature, so I just, I'll start it there. That's kind of like where the unshakeable mindset really started.
Kenneth: Wow, man, that's it's neat to look back and see, to be able to be raised in a home that your mom had that influence. Your mom and dad had that influence, you know, because not everybody has that opportunity, you know? The influences can be very negative one, you know, and even for me, like, I was born and raised in a faith-based family, but yet my dad was still verbally and physically abusive, you know? And I, you know, my mindset, you couldn't cry. So you had to become tough, you had to become hard, so to say. But it also got to the point that because of just the stern background and the strict background is I was always seeking approval. So in certain areas of my life, yeah, man, I was tough as nails had that unshakable mindset, right? But then other areas, man, I was weak as can be, the, you know, and it's neat to hear that coming from you that even at a young age that your mom was instilling those things, your mom and dad was instilling those things. Of course, we both know by life's experiences that we're going, pain is inevitable, right? There's things that we cause ourself, but then there's also things that are completely out of our control, and we can't choose our family, you know, we can't choose who we were born into, you know? But, you know, just being able to see that and do that from your perspective you know, how did that carry you on from that five, that seven, that 10 years of age? How did that continue to carry you on even living in a split home, so to say, you know, because your parents being in two different, places, you know, how did that continue on for life and where did, have you seen it to be the most impactful for you?
Kenneth: Yeah. Well, you know, I noticed that, when I got to high school, it really hit hard, in driver's ed. actually, driver's, I had the, my driver's ed. teacher was also my Spanish teacher, Mr. Evans, and he said this thing, and it all started to make sense at this point because when you become a teenager, you kind of like start to make sense of things and you get to understand why things are the way that they are. And he said someone was, someone said, well, Mr. Evans, that's not fair, and he said, life's not fair, it's a jungle out there. Dog eat dog a real rat race fair is what you pay to ride the bus. And at that moment, I said, man, I've stuck with that term all these years, you know, 20 something years later where you know what? Life is not going to be fair for everybody. Not everybody is born with a silver spoon in their mouth, not everybody is born with a trust fund, not everybody is born into money, not everybody is born, you know, with both parents, not everybody, it just doesn't happen that way. Unfortunately, there are all different types of circumstances that we face. The question is how do we face them and what are we going to do? How are we going to respond? The reality is that, we're not in control of those things, but we are in charge, right? We're in charge of how we respond, we're in charge of how we react, we're in charge of how we move. So I think my upbringing and seeing my parents and seeing how they, even being great parents from a distance was, you know, amazing, you know, like, I like my mom and dad were straight blue collar from North New Jersey, east Orange, New Jersey, I mean, from the Gata, and made it out to give me a life where, hey, it wasn't like, you know, we didn't have a mansion, we didn't have these things, but I did have an opportunity and they put me, and they worked hard to give me a better opportunity, and put me in a better position than being in Newark, New Jersey, being in the inner city, versus my counterparts. So I think that it played a huge role because by the time I was you know, 16, 17 years old, I was already working, I was already having, had a job, my first job was at ShopRite, I was very responsible with that stuff. And then I had my first state job at 18 years old working on the turnpike, you know, 18 years old, that that just doesn't really happen. I'm 18 years old, I'm a senior in high school, and I'm working on the New Jersey Turnpike, making pretty decent money, more money than, you know my classmates were at the time and where they're getting ready to go off to college and stuff like that. I started to develop this entrepreneurial spirit that I wanted to help people in another way, and I think that the service that my mother and my father did instilled that into me by me starting with my sister and helping her first. And then that trickled into other things down the line where, you know, and we'll talk about it, I got into dance and that was my major career for a really long time.
Joseph: Wow, wow. It's neat. You know, somebody asked me one time, they're like, Joseph, you know, when we were at a speaking event and I was not speaking, I was helping set up chairs, I was helping people on and off the stage, I was doing a lot of the behind the scenes work that most people don't pay attention to, right. And the gentleman walked up to me and he says, man, he says, where did you learn how to serve. and I said, my mom, you know, and like what you're saying, they're serving your sister, you know, it starts ‘cause I mean, you know, sharing my faith here is, you know, the word of God says if you're faithful over the few things, over the small things, I'll make you what? Leader over the big things. And we don't realize sometimes what God sees as small, right? you know, it is the taking care of yourself, it is taking care of your family, it is taking care of you, your sister, your mom and dad, things like that. That ‘cause if he can't entrust us with that, how is he going to entrust us with a hundred other people?
Kenneth: Exactly, yeah. My grandfather was one of my biggest inspirations, and he was the server of all servers that I knew, like this guy would get up four or five o'clock in the morning, make us all, make all the grandkids breakfast. I got a pretty huge family, so, you know, we would make us all breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I mean, this guy was like a machine and just to see his level of service and then he would get up, he would make us breakfast, then go to the church, serve at the church at the eight o'clock service, come back, get us, go to the next service, right, bring us back home while my grandmother or whoever is as doing the next meal, he would then go out to the sick and shut in and he would then serve communion to, you know, all the elderly and everyone in that nature then come back and be able to help serve and finish off with dinner with the rest of the family. Like, man, this guy, it didn't matter, what it was, if you needed it and he had it, you was going to get it, and I think that my spirit of service in being, you know, just a great leader, stems from him as well too. And having that in me at a very, very young age and being able to see that firsthand, and I think that that's the key thing here is that, what I want people to understand is that examples are everything, right. And having a visual of something that is going to be able to catapult you and take you to a next level in life is everything that you need to be successful. I think that, you know, a lot of us, I mean, we're human beings, you know, it's kind of hard for every single person to learn verbally versus being shown exactly what to do ‘cause the best practice is action. So when we actually, you know, put things into action, we become more inclined and tune on how we're going to move about our day, move about our week, how we communicate with other people, all those are actionable things that have to happen in order for us to get to the next level, I mean, your top executive CEO probably doesn't become that unless they took some form of action.
Joseph: Yeah, yeah, without a doubt, man. And I mean, it's amazing, you know, if we can sit there and look back at life, you know, if we can actually take a you know, take a step back and get past all the, you know, the trauma or the things that we've gone through as children, right, and look at what examples our parents were really showing us, you know, or even grandparents, especially in your case, you know, for me I remember, not even necessarily on the servant side, but I remember being at my grandparents' house and watching TBN Trinity Broadcasting Network and watching the old gospel reunions and singing, you know, those songs as much as some of them I didn't like, you know, it wasn't my style of music at that time, but ultimately that was another way of them serving, right, is by impartation, you know, and like you said about the action, you know, it's the action that, or the example that you said, you know, it's that example of my grandparents doing that for not only my parents, but my for myself, it's also something that I even do, you know, as an adult and as a father to three children, I remember growing up and going to school and during our trip to school, mom would always pray with us. And that's something that I do on the way to school every morning with my kids, you know? And it's ultimately by the example, like what you're talking about, it's also the impartation, you know? And going back to kind of putting that into the servants aspect of his is look at King David in the Bible, what the greatest kings of all of Israel started how? By serving his brothers, you know, so I don't know how we got turned on that side of the topic of things.
Kenneth: So good, man, it's all good, it's all goods. I mean, you know, another guy that comes to mind when it comes to service is ahud, you know, and judges three and, you know, I mean, he's not really talked about, he's not really popular too much in the Bible, but just seeing his level of service and also his level of obedience, and I think that that's really what it comes down to, as well, like what's our level of obedience, right? And his obedience to hear God serve God and go to the king, egg long and take him out for the release of the Israelites at the time, you know, being held captive in 18 years, but the real thing is, is that he was, you know, for anyone who's listening, he, you know, this guy was left-handed, and back in those days, you, if you were lefthanded, you were considered very rare, especially as a warrior, and the reason why is because you can, you, you people that were left. The slingshot, you were a real master at versus someone that was right-handed, it really, really helped the advantage when it came to war. And this guy, you know, took something that was very unique or rather God took something that was very unique, in him. And sometimes God will use something that's very unique in you to get the glory, right. It's kind of like my son Kristian who has Down Syndrome right? Is something that's very, very unique, not everybody has down syndrome, obviously, right? So it's rare. So, you know, when you think about it, it's like, man, this unique individual is being used in such a way to inspire the masse, and he doesn't even speak full sentences just yet. But look how great of a story that is, you know, same thing with, you know, with Ahud, you know, his left-handedness, his rare, his rarity served the purpose for God's glory.
Joseph: Yeah. And, you know, Kenneth is sometimes we can fall short in recognizing those things, you know, and I had no idea that when I lost my dad and my wife, it would have the impact, not only just on me, but the thousands upon people that heard our story as we were going through it, you know? And Facebook live videos, and to see people message me and say, Hey, thanks so much for sharing your story, my husband and I were on the brink of a divorce and we came across your videos, or another one was, my son's been addicted to alcohol and drugs and has been set free just by you sharing your faith, you know? And we just really never know the impact and the magnitude, ‘cause ultimately we're humans and what do we do? We think small, not all the times are we thinking kingdom, you know, and Kingdom is big. Kingdom is big. You know, it's bigger than we can ever imagine, you know, when we can sit back, even like with your son Kristian, and say, well, number one, thank you God for giving me this amazing soul, just for those that are listening, if you will, we'll share it later about Kenneth's Instagram and stuff like that, how you can follow him, but to watch them to live such an amazing life and smile and really just encourage other people through their life of worship, through what they do, it's really remarkable. And, you know, ultimately for me, on my side of things, it was a tragic thing or not necessarily, it wasn't a tragic death, but still losing my wife and dad, it was definitely a different pain point, you know? But I truly believe that every bit of pain that we go through in life has an intended purpose, but sometimes we have to sit back and we have to put our selfish desires and hopes and dreams and all those things that we think that we want versus what we understand what God wants us to have, because again, when we thank Kingdom, then it goes from the mindset of is woe was me versus God, how can you use me? How can you use this? And Kenneth, go l Let's go into a little bit more about your son, if that's okay.
Kenneth: Yeah, yeah. Let's do it.
Joseph: Talk to me through this about how just that unshakable mindset that you had as a young kid has poured into now your legacy with your son.
Kenneth: Yeah, yeah. So, I'll go back just a tad bit, prior to Kristian. My mother, was diagnosed with lymphoma, and when she was diagnosed with lymphoma, I didn't take it too well, she did defeat it, she is a survivor, she's still here with us to this day, but I think that was a, that was an interlude or so, or intro into how hard this thing can hit close to someone that you love. By the time it got to my son, I was ready for it, you know? That was a preparation to where, what, where, you know, just years later, when my son was born, then this happened. So, Kristian, for those that don't know, he, again, he has Trisomy 21, which is the proper medical term, which basically means that an individual has three copies of the same 21st chromosome gene. Normally you get 43 from, I mean, 23 from mom, 23 from dad, as far as chromosomes go, Kristian has 47 chromosomes instead of 46. When he was born, he had a rare blood disorder that blood disorder left him with very, very low platelet counts, for those that don't know what platelets are, it's what clots your blood, so in the event that you get a paper cut, all the rare blood cells rush to that cut to seal it up so that you don't continuously gush out with blood, and continue to, so with Kristian, when he was born with such a low platelet count, he was in the NICU for, you know, it's about 10 days or so when he was born and until his platelets actually went up, a couple transfusions, things of that nature helped him out. And he was able to go home, with about 53, 50 4,000 platelets. You know, Joe, me and you, we probably have somewhere around hundreds of thousands of platelets, in our bodies, and Kristian only at the time had around 16 or 17,000, which is not a lot, which means if it dropped below 10, then there's a cause for concern, but at that time, it was able to go up. And then from there, for the first 14 months of his life, we were in the hospital weekly, you know, at least twice, sometimes two, three times a week, getting blood work drawn just to keep his, just to make sure that, monitoring his blood, his blood, making sure everything was okay, ‘cause the doctors had mentioned to us at the time that he could develop leukemia at some point in time in his life. And me being a believer, you know, I rebuked that right away. I'm like, nah, I'm good, we not going, we not going there, and you know, Unfortunately, it did happen, it happened 14 months into his life where Kristian had developed, leukemia, A M K L. We had started to see these, little dots of petechia on Christian. I'm not sure if anybody knows what petechia is, but petechia basically means that the, your blood level has dropped and you'll see red dots on the body, meaning like, it's getting pretty bad, right? So what we thought was gonna be about 45 minutes, into the hospital, I was gonna take my family to Dave and Busters because my kids had did well in school that year, they did awesome, he said, all right, cool, we're gonna be in Philly, let's go to the chop, get a second opinion on what our doctor was telling us, everything's fine, everything's good, and Kristian seemed okay, everything looked fine, but when they, when the blood work came back, the blood work has said that we've gotta rush your son down to the emergency room right now and do surgery because he has, you know, A M K L, which is leukemia. So we go from 45 minutes into the hospital to 32 days straight in the hospital. Not a packed, nothing planned out, nothing. Your life just switched just like that, and anybody that's ever been in that type of situation or any type of situation where life just changed, the question always becomes, what do you do? How do you react to that? And the first thing I tell people, you know what I did was I removed myself to improve myself. And anybody that's listening, you may wanna write that one down, remove yourself to improve yourself, right.
Joseph: I like that brother.
Kenneth: You know, ‘cause sometimes we can get so emotional in the moment, that our emotions then starts to affect the people that we are leading. So it is best that you remove yourself from the situation to gather your thoughts, gather yourself, to improve yourself, to combat better, stronger, you know, so that your people that you're leading understand on what move you're going to make next so that they can follow suit. Me removing myself from the room, I'm a big, listen, I'm a huge football fan, so I love the position of quarterback and I went to go get the play call from my coach, you know, oftentimes in high school and college, you'll see how the play call is the quarterback runs back to the coach, to the sideline to get the play, and then goes and delivers it to the huddle to the team. And that's what I did, and the first thing that God told me to do was pray around Kristian, right before an ounce of chemo even hits his body and set the atmosphere where the key words right, set the atmosphere, and I think that a lot of people have to understand on how to set the atmosphere in their business, in their families within themselves, overall in your life, you know? Michael, Michael Pitts, Bishop Michael Pitts said this, he said, lyrics affect the mind, rhythm affects the will and the melody affects the emotions. Show me what a person is listening to, and I'll show you their lifestyle.
Joseph: Say that again.
Kenneth: I'm gonna say that again, lyrics affect the mind, rhythm affects the will, and the melody affects the emotions. Show me what a person is listening to and I'll show you their lifestyle. It's in this book here called, you know, Power Shifters.
Joseph: Ooh, love that.
Kenneth: Go ahead and go ahead and pick that book up. Power Shifters by Bishop Michael Pitts, I think is, you know, super amazing, and it's something like that, that held me down in that moment because it matters what you, what you put into your body, it matters what you listening to, it matters what you are consuming, and I believe that if I was consuming something other than what God was telling me to consume, then we may have a different outcome on how I was going to react. And so that was really like the beginning stages of everything, and as the doctors came in, I told them straight up, listen, hey, I don't care if you're a nurse, a doctor, a tech, I don't care if you're a tarantula, you come in here, you gotta have a positive attitude, no matter. , otherwise you can't be on this team. I get you're, you're coming in to do your job, but your personal matters and the things that you're upset with have nothing to do with the elevation of my son and how he's gonna get through this, okay. Whatever that thing is, we could deal with that later, but as you enter this atmosphere, as you enter this room, you gotta have a positive mindset, otherwise you'll be removed. And some people did get removed, unfortunately, but, you know, that's how we started it off. And I think that that was a major, major part in my son's recovery.
Joseph: Wow. Let me, couple things, man. One that's extremely powerful talking about the atmosphere and the reason why I want to jump in here and share this part is, growing up in abusive family, there was these days that, like, it seemed to always be the weekends, right. You know, Saturday, you know, mom and dad's home from work and they're doing their thing, and then of course you got a household of four kids, right? There's no peace in the house, you know? But I would always realize that any time there was ever any type of fighting, arguing, whatever the case is, I would always go on and I didn't know what I was doing at the time, I would always go and turn on the radio, or even at that time a Tate player, okay, showing my age. And it was worship music. And I didn't know it at the time, but I would notice within 10 minutes or so, give or take a few, is the atmosphere changed. And what I came to realize, Kenneth was this, is that, and you said it, we have the ability to change or even create the atmosphere in which we want to live, sleep, breathe, work, it doesn't matter. And I learned that simply by playing worship music, because I kept on seeing the transformation, we'd have the arguments, the fighting, the hitting, the screaming, whatever the case is. Dad would normally leave sometimes to kind of go cool off, you know? But then I would put on worship music and I didn't know what I was doing at the time, but I'm like, well, that's the only music that we're allowed to listen to in the house, you know? You might as well put that on, it's crazy that you say that, you know, and then kind of going, about, removing people, right, and, setting that tone, I was reading this morning in the book of Job, Job chapter one. And first it talks about all the things that Job had and 500 cattle and 500 yolk, and the children, like he was loaded, he was the richest of, it says of Northern Arabia, okay? And then of course it goes into, you know, he was a man after God's own heart. He pleased God, you know, and then it went in, of course, to the devil going to and fro and looking okay. But it, what's, what's so crazy is the fact that, you know, it said the devil asked God, does he have a hedge of protection over job? You know, and I'm like, huh? I'm like, I know, I heard this, and what's so crazy is always, especially with kids and school shootings and things like that, I, and people driving. I always play, pray a hedge of protection over my children while we're driving to and from school, while they're at school, for one for them themself. And then also the entire school as well, you know, that God would raise up a standard and a hedger protection or for my children, and ultimately, you know, it's not just so much the fact of I don't want my children hurt, of course I don't, but I also don't want things infiltrated into their mind. You know, and you said it about the power of positive thinking, right. And having a positive mindset, a lot of times it's not the physicality that hurts us unless a life is taken, right, kay. It's the things that infiltrate our mind. And what really jumped out at me this morning is that the devil himself had to ask God, do you have a hedge of protection over Jod, right? You know, so even if the enemy can see those things, you know, how much more do we have to do in the spiritual realm of creating the atmosphere, right? You know, there's no doubt that those people that are out here listening may be in a toxic situation, a toxic family, a toxic relationship, maybe your workplace is toxic, but I wanna tell you right now, and you know, I'm not gonna ask for forgiveness for sounding like I'm preaching ‘cause this is my podcast, but Yeah, is we have the ability to create the atmosphere in which we want to live, which would we want to produce, reproduce, which we want to do and how we want to live. We also have the ability to be able to protect, protect ourselves, protect our children, protect what the world, what the enemy is coming after. And even the devil himself had to ask God.
Kenneth: Has to ask him.
Joseph: His permission.
Kenneth: Yeah, yeah. See, the enemy knows you're great before you even know you're great, right? That's a thing. And I think that we oftentimes, we take on these, I'm gonna say how I feel it, we take on these lies.
Joseph: Come on.
Kenneth: We take on these lies, and you go in to the world, you wake up, you look in the mirror, and you see the truth, because the reality is, is that you are created in his image and his likeness. So you see the truth right there in the mirror. The problem is, and James talks about this as well too, right? James chapter one talks about this. We look in the mirror, but then we deceive ourselves from what we actually see, right? We deceive ourselves because we go out into the world and we believe the things that the enemy has already put into his atmosphere, and we believe that, okay, depression is a real thing, anxiety is a real thing, and all these different things that are attacking us where we have control on how to overtake these things, right? I oftentimes say, when we change the mind, we change the game, right? So everything is a mindset with me, right? And that's how you have that unbreakable and unshakeable mindset is you have to understand who you really are, not who you think you are, not one when somebody told you who are you? Bottom line, hands down, right? And we oftentimes live these lies and we put on these and we go into the world and that is half of the problem on what's going on. We're living a world and we don't know who we are supposed to be. The one thing that I love about Job is that Job knew exactly who he was no matter what. When you wanna talk about being unshakeable, that was an unshakeable man. Even in his time of anger, he still didn't curse God. Now, you could still be angry and upset about the situation, upset about, you know, the circumstances and what you're facing. However, he was not going to be shaken in such a way on what the enemy was trying to portray and say, God, he's going to curse you. You just wait and see, he's gonna curse you, and he just didn't. And the thing was that God lifted that he protection because just to sit there and you know, pretty much flex on the enemy once again, that it doesn't matter what you do to him, he's not going to curse me, I'm telling you right now. And the enemy just had a hard time believing that. And the enemy has a hard time believing who we are and he'll try and do anything and everything to manipulate us and trick us and deceive us. And to thinking that we're somebody that will really not. So operate in your gift. And I think that when it comes to my son, Kristian, that's exactly what I had to do. I had to operate in my gift and I oftentimes say this to people, you know, use your gift to make the shift in your life, right? If you use your gift to make the shift and the Bible says that, you know, seek He first the kingdom of heaven and all his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you, well what exactly is that? It doesn't mean that you gotta get on a plane and go see the kingdom of heaven, no, what is the thing that is already in you? And Jesus already said that the kingdom of heaven is in you, and the kingdom of heaven is upon you, right? So it's already there, it's already inside you. You were al already born with it. The gift that you have was given to you, you didn't earn it, that's a fact, right? And in hip hop terms, we oftentimes tell people, I'm gonna hold it down, I'm gonna hold it down, you know? Well, I'm reframing that and say, no longer am I holding it down when I was called to be lifting it up.
Joseph: Wow. Come on brother.
Kenneth: You know what I'm saying? I'm not doing that no more. No longer am I holding it down because I'm not suppressing my gift anymore, I'm not suppressing what it is that I was called to do anymore, I'm now lifting it up, I'm lifting my family up, I'm lifting my wife up, I'm lifting my house up, I'm lifting my business up, I'm lifting up my community, I'm lifting up my children, I'm lifting up, you know, the people that need to be lifted up because inside me is that gift, and I'm gonna lift that gift up and I'm bringing that to the feet of Jesus. I'm bringing that to the feet of God, as in use this, I'm no longer holding it down like the man in Matthew 25 that only had that one talent and buried the gift, right. Versus the other two that doubled theirs.
Josepg: Yeah, yeah. Wow brother, come on man. Good stuff right there. Good stuff. So as you, you know, you find out that Christian has the leukemia, you know, of course, already knowing that he's down syndrome, correct? Y'all knew that already at that time. How has things continued to unravel for not only his life, but you guys' life? Because there's no doubt that I believe that power follows passion, right? And you're talking about making room for the gift. The gift will always be challenged by the enemy. Because he wants to seal it, he wants to deceive you of it. How did you continue to walk in, I'm gonna call it the unshakable gift, because that's the mindset that you had. How have you been able to continue to walk in that knowing that for the rest of Christian's life, you know, you're gonna have the Down syndrome without the move of God in his life and things like that, or the healing power of God in his life, you know, how has, how have you been able to continue that in the midst of challenges and adversities and even because you did something with his leukemia that hasn't been done before.
Kenneth: No. Yeah.
Joseph: Tell us about that.
Kenneth: So, yeah, so funny story. Remember I said earlier that, you know, sometimes you gotta remove yourself to improve yourself, and then some people just can't be a part, okay? So when you have Down Syndrome or any type of special need, the state normally provides you with PT, OT, occupational therapy, different things like that, so they provided that for us inside the hospital room. And the musical therapist came inside the hospital room, now I'm a dancer for 20 years by trade, okay. So the musical therapist would come in and they say, Hey, yeah, you know, we wanted to go ahead and give Kristian some entertainment, things of that nature just to get them going. Maybe he could bounce a little bit. And I said, sure, go ahead, cool. And they ended up using these ukuleles and it was driving me insane, bro. like, it was driving me crazy, and I'm like, you know what? I'm not trying to be rude, but PT, y'all got that OT, y'all got that occupational therapy, y'all got that music? Let me handle that, let the professional handle the music part, okay? And these ukuleles is gonna drown my son, not make him better, I ended up telling my wife, I said, babe, go ahead and turn off some James Brown and let's get funky real quick, right? So I start, you know, dancing, start locking, start doing something hip hop with him and next thing you know, what the doctor said was going to be, uh, he was gonna be tired, he was going to be sleepy, he was, I mean, he was gonna not want to eat, he was gonna be weak, when you have down syndrome, you have very low muscle tone when you're born. For the first time, just seven days in, after I started dancing with my son, my son stood up by his self. And he started bouncing and moving and grooving with me. And I'm like, wow, this is amazing, my wife recorded it and we ended up posting it online, you know, just to let everybody know, like, Hey, everything's okay, everything is good, keep that atmosphere flowing, you know, online, offline, whatever, and from there we started to go viral. Every video we did was an inspiration to so many people that we ended up on, you know, the ABC news, the CBS, you know, the Australian news, the Italian news, the, the Japanese news, the BBC, Steve Harvey, Ellen, Sierra, you name it. We were all over the, in the whole entire new Circuit, everywhere we go. And from there, I would dance with Kristian every single day. And as I was dancing with him every single day, after round one, which was 32 days in a hospital, Kristian started to make a remarkable recovery that we were told that each round would be 32 days or more every single time he had to go back in. Now, this next time that we went in to the hospital, we were only there for 17 days, that's half the time that we were in the first time, the next time we went in was 16 days, the next time in was 15 days, and the last time in was 14 days. So, Kristian defeated cancer within 149 days in less than half the time, projected by the doctors. Anybody that's sitting there tell you like these doctors are, they're saying like, listen, this is like a 300 plus day process to really, really get this thing under control. And in reality, Kristian was actually in remission after the first round of chemotherapy.
Joseph: And how old was she at this time?
Kenneth: 14 months.
Joseph: 14 months!
Kenneth: 14 months, Now, here's the crazy part though. Let me just tell you this, there's two parts to this. Number one, the type of treatment that he was getting was adult treatment, he's a baby, this is adult treatment because they don't, ‘cause we don't have, that many treatments for children here in America, right? So he was getting an adult medicine, for his body, which was already pretty intense, right? It was a mild dose, but it was still a lot. Secondly, his extra chromosome, and this is why I say use your gift to make the shift. His extra chromosome gene was actually the thing that helped save his life even more to give him even bigger chance. Here's why, Joe, if me or you were to have the same exact cancer that Kristian had, me and you would have a 30 to 40% survival rate, because of that extra chromosome gene, it was already linked to that particular cancer. So Kristian had an 80 to 90% survival rate because of the extra chromosome gene that was already placed in his body at birth. Super crazy.
Joseph: Come on, God.
Kenneth: So it's already what's in you? You already have it. God already placed it there and you wanna talk about a hedge of protection. That extra gene was a hedge of protection around my son as cancer tried to infiltrate and enter and take his life.
Joseph: Wow. Which God has gotten the glory. Not only did he get the glory from you and your wife and and your kids, but radio shows, TV shows, news outlets. They had no choice.
Kenneth: They had no choice. And now we're, I'm a leadership coach and I'm coaching other people, coaching firms, coaching CEOs, you know, politicians, even like, I never thought going, being a dancer, dancing on stage for 20 years, and then transitioning into something like this would, you know, God just blew my mind, you know, I pretty much just traded in my career for my calling.
Joseph: Yeah, wow, trading in that career for the calling. That's powerful, brother, man. Oh man. For those that are out there listening, I mean, you know, whether you're driving your car and I can't not reiterate that the pain that we go through in life all has a purpose, and if I can encourage you, is just know that, just know that you may not understand why at the moment, okay? There's no doubt that when your son was born and you found out that he had Down syndrome, that this epiphany came that, oh my God, okay, there's a reason for it, right? Even in the midst of the death of my wife, I'm like, all right, God, I know there's a reason. I just don't know what it is. You know, and I know you're going to, you know, my focus had to be on God because if I shifted my focus on the problem, right, of my wife being diagnosed with cancer, and what's crazy is we didn't even know about the cancer if it wouldn't have been for her becoming pregnant with our third child. They think that she had had cancer for five to 10 years without ever being even noticed. Had no clue. But it was because of my son, you know, and yeah, there were other things, and of course, losing my wife, I would never want that to happen. But the thing about it is I still don't know the magnitude, that what, how God is going to use that painful situation, but it's crazy that like, I am a firm believer that God will use circumstances to bring out what we need to be doing.
Joseph: Because the calling of God is irrevocable, that's right, you know, Moses still had a call of God on his life, regardless if he was a stutter or a murderer. And even though he tried to run at different times. Look at Jonah, Jonah's prime example. Jonah at the time of being called to Ninevah, was closer to Ninevah than he was to where he went.
Kenneth: Yep, absolutely.
Joseph: He ran further away, than where he was called to be, you know, and, but yet in the midst of being swallowed by a fish or a whale, whatever that you want to call it, okay, you know, God still had a plan and a purpose for us, he had a plan on purpose, you know, and you know, you, you, you said operate in your gift, use your gift to make this shift, right, to make your shift, you know? The word of God also says your gift will make what? Room, room for you. And I truly believe, ‘cause I'm living it right now, and even with you being 20 year dancer to now, you would've probably never thought that you would've been traveling and speaking on leadership.
Kenneth: Never, yeah. You know, I was the quietest kid ever.
Joseph: But the gift was already in you, brother, it was already in you. And that's the crazy thing is I look back at my wife and I'm like, I told her to begin with, and when I watched that video and I understood about the power, the purpose through pain, I'm like, babe, you're going through this because of, she was never called to speak. That wasn't her gift, it was mine, but yet God used that circumstance to get me out of what I was doing into what I was called to be doing, you know? So if I can encourage those that are listening, is going back to what Candace said, is use your gift to make a shift, use what you are passionate about, use because you wanna find your purpose in life, follow your passion, follow the gift, because follow the passion, the gift makes room for you, hat's biblical.
Kenneth: Yeah. Or even this, what's the thing that upsets you the most, right? Sometimes the thing that upsets you the most is the one thing that you're, you're called to help fix, to change, right? To change, and for me it was like, I don't, I look at leadership, you know, a lot. I think that there's leadership, bad leadership around in our country and a bunch of different facets, right? So, change doesn't start in the White House, change starts in my house. So therefore, if I want better leadership, then therefore build better leaders, right. And that starts with the sons that I already have, starts with the daughter that I already have starts with, it starts there. I'm not gonna go to, you know, the executive of Amazon and everything and say, Hey, you need to change your leadership now. I'm gonna build new leaders, because then things will start to change in time, nothing is going to really change right now necessarily, because guess what? Some people are just setting their ways. But, and that just brings up an interesting point, even with, you know, with Jesus and the disciples, and I'm not sure if anybody really understands this or knows this, but even the disciples were young men, like they weren't, you know, these old guys, that you see on a lot of these shows, they were really young guys, they we're talking about, you know, 17, 18, 19, 20 years old. And just to back that up, you know, there was a point in time in life where you know, Peter was asked, do you and Jesus pay the temple tax? And Peter said, yeah, of course we pay the temple tax. Peter, then I'm paraphrasing, but Peter then goes to Jesus and say, well, the Pharisees wanna know if we pay the temple tax, and you know, Jesus is like, well, why would I really need to pay the temple tax? But for you, Peter, go to the lake, there'll be a fish inside the fish, there'll be a pearl, right? Bring that back and pay the temple tax for you and for me. He said nothing about the other disciples that were using in the temple as well too, why is that? Because at that time, the law was if you were 20 and under, you didn't have to pay the temple tax. Anyone that was 20 and that was over 21, had to pay the temple tax. Peter was the only one that was the same age as Jesus, because he was the only one that had a wife as well too. So you really wanna talk about, you know, starting young when Jesus changed the world with a youth group, you know, when you really think about it.
Joseph: He sure did.
Kenneth: You know what I'm saying? So that, and just for me, I just think that, in my story, my wife and our children, it was really, it's really about, I love leadership. So for those that are looking to find your passion and find a thing that you really, really wanna go after, it's either (A) the one thing that bothers you the most, and I would say go after it or (B) what are you really, really passionate about? What do you love the most? What will keep you from eating is what you're probably passionate about. If you can go without food, then that's the thing that you need to be doing, and the second that you can just give it up at any point in time, then maybe that's not your calling.
Joseph: Wow, that's powerful stuff.
Kenneth: Yeah, absolutely brother.
Joseph: How are things now with Kristian? How old is he at the moment?
Kenneth: Kristian is awesome. He is running the house, we are in the, so he's five, he's gonna be six in a few months, he'll be six, and it's just amazing to see where he's at now, and we're, you know, with Down syndrome, it's a little different than raising, you know, your other kids, because Kristian, he verbally, all the way there just yet, he can speak, he can tell me what he wants, if he wants to eat, if he wants to go outside, if he wants to get down, he's learning new words and stuff like that. So his speech is not all the way there where he, we can have full blown conversations like me and you are, however, he does understand me fully, he just can't get that out just yet. We're in a potty training phase as well too, still. So, that's been quite the difficult task with, raising a son with Down syndrome that normally my kids are potty trained, you know, by two or three years old. But Kristian is taken just a quite a bit longer, with that, but other than that, man, he's dancing every day, he's learning every day, he is like just a ray of light, an ray of sunshine in our home and in our family. I think that the most special thing about him is that when things get rough, when things get tough, where he sees mom maybe having a bad day or if he see's dad having a bad day, he can sense it so well that he'll come and he'll just love on you and give you that love and give you that compassion, and he's very empathetic, in his walk. And he doesn't even have to say anything, like even people, just may look sad in public, he will literally like, you know, rub their face or give them a pat on the back or something like that and just say, Hey, it's gonna be okay, without even using his words, just his actions. So, it's amazing to see…
Kenneth: He's changing his atmosphere.
Joseph: Yes. And I think that the one thing that I've learned the most about having Kristian and being his father and raising him, it's seek to understand before seeking to be understood. And that's a John Maxwell quote, but that right there really, really is you know, stuck out to me seeking to understand before seeking to be understood. Because I could sit there and say, well, Kristian, you know, you have Down syndrome, so you need to try and understand me. No, I need to understand him, I need to understand his language, I need to understand how he thinks and how he moves, you know, versus, him trying to understand me, and I think that that's one lesson that we all can take is in any relationship that you're in, seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
Joseph: Yeah, wow, that's powerful, brother.
Kenneth: That is, yes, absolutely.
Joseph: So I know that you do some, I've seen some videos of you dancing with your daughter. Do you put stuff up there with Kristian as well?
Kenneth: All the time. He has the most dance videos, me and him.
Joseph: Yeah, but you choreograph stuff with your daughter?
Kenneth: Yeah, okay, for sure.
Joseph: Are, are they choreographed with Christian? Do you still choreograph things?
Kenneth: Yeah, I try to choreograph for his memory, it doesn't really work out like that too well, so it's a bit of a struggle. So normally we just freestyle, but he's got up down lock, he's got that, he's got the funky chicken down, so he is got a couple of things, couple moves that we could do together.
Joseph: That's awesome. The first time I saw you and your daughter, I'm like, man, I wonder if I could do that with my daughter. I'm like, she wouldn't do, she wouldn't let me. she wouldn't even do, she doesn't think I have rhythm, you know? And which I got a little bit, you know, I'm, God does have make a joyful noise, so I'm better at making the noise than I am the rhythm. But I can still do it, but she doesn't think, you know, this day and age, she's 15 or soon to be 15. She don't think I know anything, you know, so.
Kenneth: Oh yeah, of course.
Joseph: I'll purposely mess something up, just so I just keep on believing her that or she believes that I don't have it.
Kenneth: Absolutely, yeah, of course.
Joseph: But brother, you have a coaching program?
Joseph: You travel and you speak on leadership, and you coach people. Tell us a little bit about that and how people can connect with you.
Kenneth: Yeah, so we just launched the Unshakeable Coaching Platform on my website, which is at KennethAllenThomas.com. Right now we are, it's in a few phases. The first phase is the unshakable self-care blueprint, there'll be a e-book that's gonna be dropping this month, I'm sorry, next month, there'll be a ebook that's gonna be dropping next month on that. So if you wanna pre-order it, the pre-orders will start, on the 17th of January, you can go and pre-order the blueprint to that. That'll also be linked to an online course that we have, which is the Unshakeable Self-Care Blueprint course. It'll be an online course that we have geared up for you guys and that right there would just, you know, simply evergreen, people wanna, you know, jump in, within that course I'll be teaching once a week and doing Q and As in our private groups, things of that nature and connecting with the community, and you guys will get access to me, have any questions that I can answer, as far as your self-care goes, here's the stat that I want to give you about the self-care thing, you know, here in America, about 78 to 80% of just women alone believe in self-care, but that seven, that that same, 78 to 80% of women, serve 10 hours a day, you know, to everyone else other than themselves, right? Which is a crazy stat. You believe in self-care, but you serve everybody else 10 hours a day before you even serve yourself. I believe in the whole, you know how it goes, when you're on the plane, put your mask on first before you help someone else. I truly believe in that because we gotta take care of the temple that we have.
One of the exercises that you guys will see if you go on my website, there'll be a landing page there as well too, you'll be able to see one of the teachings that I have, and on those teachings, it is the wellbeing tracker, that Wellbeing Tracker helps you understand where you're at right now in your wellbeing, okay? We'll take five words from work, spouse, friends, and family, you, and then we'll also take your, and, we'll take these words here and then we'll put them all together, okay? And then you'll rank those things you'll work, spouse, friends, and family, and get, and you'll work them things from top to bottom and rank them, you know, in your life, kids as well too, of course, is one of them, and as you rank those, you know, what comes first, what comes second, what comes third? What comes fourth and self is the fifth one. You'll throw that in there, where do you rank? Those five words are those five categories, your spouse, yourself, your family and friends, your work and you. Where do you rank those at, currently? And then you'll go to, ideally how will they look? What do you want them to look like? Do you wanna put yourself first? Most people, I'm being honest, if they were to take this quiz, they would take this test, they put themselves third or fourth, maybe even fifth, on the list. And the question that I would have is, if you put yourself last on the list, God forbid something happens to you, who's gonna catch you? If you're pushing everybody else forward, how, what happens to you? So it's, you know, my recommendation to, you know, always put yourself first. Always put yourself in the, and not being in the selfish sense, but making sure that you take care of your own wellbeing. Because the better you are, the better world we have at the end of the day. And I believe that if we, take care of our mind, take care of our spirit, take care of our bodies, and be appreciative of those things, watch how the world can shift, watch how your world can shift, watch how things can shift in inside of, you know, just one day, right? We can do that. So, yeah, so that is the gist of part of the, the unshakable self-care blueprint. And then we also have some one-on-one coaching that we do. And if anyone wants to bring me out for a keynote or anything in that nature, that's also on the website. As soon as you go on there, there'll be a small form to fill out, and those will be your three options, one-on-one training, online courses, or keynote speaking. You can pick from those three on how I could serve you best.
Joseph: Wow, love it brother. And his website guys is KennethAllen Thomas.com, is that right?
Kenneth: That's right. Yes, sir.
Jospeh: Do you guys, don't hesitate to reach out to him, he's got an amazing, if he lives his life transparent on Instagram, definitely on him, and so he's a phenomenal individual and I've been following him for a while and that's why I wanted to bring his value to you guys. So guys, don't hesitate to reach out to him. And Kenneth, thank you so much, I'm truly honored, brother, that you would come on here and just give us some profile and wisdom on how to live that unshakable life, brother, I greatly appreciate you.
Kenneth: Yeah, man. I appreciate you man, everyone, thank you so much. And remember when we changed the mind, we changed the game.