Protect Your Being: Take care of what you are allowing yourself to hear, read and watch. The mind is a terrible thing to waste and ultimately the major power in this struggle of resilience. Watch what goes into your mind. Keep your mind clear. I had to learn to meditate to clear my mind when trials come up against my daughter and she becomes ill.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Delasber Griffin Sanders.
Seeing a need for support for moms dealing with their insecurities about having a special needs child, Delasber dedicated her life to helping those moms make a difference. She founded No Greater Love, Inc dba Amoree’s Journey to support families touched by autism by becoming their Sunflower and their light teaching them the art of resilience. A wife, a mom, a teacher and special needs advocate, Delasber Griffin Sanders, who can be contacted at https://ngl-family.com, spends her days working to ensure that no mom is left behind.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Hailing from the small city of Winnsboro, Louisiana, the adopted daughter of a minister/teacher and wife, I grew up being surrounded by education. So, it was no surprise when I became a teacher for fifteen years and church musician for thirty-one years. I thought my life was perfect UNTIL… It was turned upside down with the birth of my daughter and I became a stay-at-home wife and mother to who is now an amazing nine-year-old child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy and myasthenia gravis.
I am a #1 best selling author of No Greater Love: Parenting Through Multiple Diagnoses and No Greater Love: 21 Days of Resiliency. A Journey of Hope: A Medical Planner for Special Needs Families will be released in July 2021. I pray that this will be a blessing to families struggling to keep all the information needed for their child’s medical safety at their fingertips.
My life is centered around my daughter, and I founded a 501(c)3 nonprofit No Greater Love, Inc dba Amoree’s Journey which supports families touched by autism and other medical diagnoses in making soul connections through resilience training and soul connection art parties.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career?
I taught for fifteen years in what would be considered low-income areas with ‘at risk’ students. Even though I lived in a little country town and I was surrounded by hunting, fishing and mudhoggin’, , I was far from a country girl.
If you knew me, you would know that I have absolutely no interest in eating Bambi or his parents and I am not about to go and ride in the mud for the fun of it. Well, I taught children who did this type of thing every weekend for play.
I will never forget this day. I walked into my classroom one morning and there was a package on my desk. I opened the card, and it was from a student. Such a sweet card written very eloquently saying how much they appreciated me, and they had killed their first deer and wanted to share with me. I should have known better than to open the package at that point. Well, I did not, and I opened it. It was something fleshy. LOL
When the child came into my room, he asked me if I had received the package and I said yes and thank you so much but…. What it is…? He said PROUDLY… it is a deer heart, Miss Griffin. I gave you my first deer heart.
I must have had this look of terror on my face because another student spoke up and started to tell me that meant good luck and basically peace be upon you. I hugged the little boy and took the deer heart home to my father, and he placed it into the freezer.
I had forgotten about that deer heart until my father passed and we cleaned out the freezer and I found it. He had kept it for me for three years. My father knew the significance of what this little had done.
Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I learned many lessons from that experience. One may never know what another person is thinking about you and even if they are thinking of you. Treat everyone with respect, love, and joy. Never shun anyone because they do not have your personal values. I did not understand the heart of the deer but, I understood the heart of my student. The heart is the most important organ of any being. Take care of the heart and the rest will follow. That is my biggest take away from that day. From that moment on, I made sure to take care of the hearts of my students, my family, my friends, and most of all, myself.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What do I think makes my company stand out? I believe it to be our personality and reachability. There are many companies that work with autism and the effects of autism on families. However, there are not many who use their reach to literally touch the families. We get to the know the families. We work one on one with the families to help promote connections within the family. When a family reaches out to No Greater Love, Inc Amoree’s Journey, that family gets Delasber or another board member. There is not a lot of paperwork to go through to get to talk to us. Our phone line goes straight to my cell phone and if I am not available at the time, it is forwarded to a board members’ phone.
Not long ago, during the pandemic, my phone rang, and it was a call for No Greater Love. The person on the other end of the phone literally broke down when I said, “No Greater Love, Amoree’s Journey, how may I help you?” This was a grandmother of a child on the spectrum, and she had just been evicted from her home. This grandmother was ill and having a hard time working to pay the rent. I took down all her information and asked her to give me five minutes to contact my board. It took me three minutes. My board approved getting her a week in a hotel so that she could find a place to live for she and her grandson. I called her back and I was able to get on the phone with the hotel and book the room and pay for it so that they could have a place to stay for a week. That was all the time that the grandmother told me she needed to get herself back on her feet. After that week, the grandmother had a new home and was settled. This is one thing that I believe makes us stand out. The ability to work immediately for families. Now, we cannot do this for everyone but, this time we were blessed to have been given the donations to make that happen for that family.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
This answer might seem a little strange but, if I were to thank a person who helped me to get where I am today, I would have to thank my biological mother. She gave birth to me but, she realized she could not take me where I was destined to go, and she left me. Now, it has taken me a while to be able to forgive her for how she did it. But I am incredibly grateful that she did. If she had not made the decision to walk away from my life, I would not have been adopted by (in my eyes) the greatest parents to ever walk the face the earth. My life took a forward trajectory when my biological mother walked away from me. I do not have many stories about her because I only met her three times. But, in my later years, I have learned to give honor to whom honor is due and she deserves this honor. This woman birthed me, but it was not until she walked away from me that she gave me life. And for that, I shall be eternally grateful.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience?
I define resilience as the power to rebound from adversity and or trauma with passion and fire to fight another day.
What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilient people see reality as it is but, they give their reality a sense of purpose. Resilience shows up differently in different people, but all resilient people can bend and be flexible with the reality of their lives.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind?
When I think of resilience, my daughter, and other people like her come to mind. People who fight trial after trial after trial and never stop fighting.
Can you explain why you chose that person?
My daughter has many medical diagnoses, and she has been on life support (ventilator) eight times in the nine years she has been alive. But, this little girl, keeps coming back strong. Older people have a saying that I will use here. “I am so glad I don’t look like what I’ve been through”. That is my daughter. She is the one who taught me what true resilience is. I watched her with a friend named Maddie. Maddie’s issues can be seen to be a little worse than Amoree’s but, they both are the life and light of parties. It is that true grit that makes me get up in the morning because I feel if they can do it with all that they deal with… then who am I to complain about my little stresses in life.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway?
I have had people tell me that things cannot be done or that I should not be doing them. Yes, that has happened to me. I laugh in the face of doubters. LOL
Can you share the story with us?
This question kind of made me chuckle to myself.
I think my greatest story about this would have to be when I first decided I wanted to be a teacher. It was my first year and I was working on my certification because I did not get my undergraduate degree in education. Thus, I was a transported teacher from the field of social sciences.
Well, this supervisor came to observe my class. This was a major event for a new teacher because it is stressful. I felt that I did an amazing job teaching these students and they were catching on to the concepts rather quickly. I was proud of myself and my students.
After the class was over, the supervisor stopped to talk to me. She informed me that I needed to find another profession. I was not educator material and I had not done a good job in her eyes. In fact, she was not even passing me on my observation. I was going to have to go through this again. I was so hurt even to the point of angry.
Let us just say that I took what she said, and I ran with it. Before I left the school system, I had been elevated to one of the top eight teachers in my state and was honored by the state department of education as such. That woman had to eat crow because the same way I taught when she observed me is the way I became Teacher of the Year for the largest region in my state.
It was not good to mess with Teacher Delasber.
I did what she said I should never and could never do…
I became a teacher!
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I believe that my greatest setback was the story that I just mentioned.
However, I did have a major setback in my self-esteem when I received the diagnosis of autism for my daughter. You know one does not want to admit that probably the first thing that runs through your mind when you find that you do not have a perfect child is why me? What did I do to deserve this? I am highly intelligent, and her father is smarter than I am. How did we get this child with issue?
Now, that is not to say that I feel I am better than anyone but, those thoughts ran through my mind. Autism and or developmental delays did not run in my family (or so I thought). So, I never imagined that my daughter would have any issues like this.
Autism rocked my world, and I did not know what to do with it. I had to learn. I had to pull myself up and realize that she was here and that I had to fight for her. I started fighting and I fought everyone. I fought the teachers. I fought the doctors. I fought everyone who was not willing to fight with me.
I am a much stronger woman because of my daughter’s diagnosis. It made me learn the true meaning of fight! I am a warrior mom now because I have a warrior princess for a daughter, and she is not ready to give up the fight. She taught me that fighting was a lifestyle when done correctly.
Now, I fight for other moms and children who do not have voices to speak for themselves or they do not yet know how to use the voice they have.
I am stronger now than I have ever been because of my daughter’s fight.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
I was abandoned at 1.5 years old by my biological mother. I grew up believing that I would be left by everyone who was supposed to love me. Thus, I never really trusted anyone. I learned to lean and depend upon myself instead of other people because other people may let me down.
I had no idea how it affected my life story until a few weeks ago when everything was brought into the open for me and I had to face my true demons.
Being left by your biological parents takes a toll on some that never gets repaired. I know that I had to be resilient to continue to live where I felt I was not loved truly. How can anyone love someone whose own Mother did not want them?
I was blessed to be cared for by my grandmother and then later adopted by my aunt and uncle but, I never really healed from the trauma of being left by the one person who was supposed to love me forever. That built my ability to overcome and stand amid adversity. She made me who I am by that one huge step.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
In order to truly be resilient, we must unlock the power within ourselves. I see the steps as keys that I use to open doors for myself every day.
Do you remember there was a game show that would ask the players if they wanted door number one or door number two? That is kind of my game plan for life resilience.
I have 5 keys which are used to unlock different doors I need to enter to regain my power.
Key 1: Protect Your Being: Take care of what you are allowing yourself to hear, read and watch. The mind is a terrible thing to waste and ultimately the major power in this struggle of resilience. Watch what goes into your mind. Keep your mind clear. I had to learn to meditate to clear my mind when trials come up against my daughter and she becomes ill.
Key 2: Own Your Ish: Know that there are parts of you that are not good and there are parts that are. Work on the not so good parts and know that many times in this life we blame things on other people and other environments and other circumstances that need to be rerouted to our internal issues. Own your fears and your insecurities. But also own your magic, your light and your love to make a change in the world.
Key 3: Work Your Goals: Make a goal for your life. After you decide upon the goal, plan three and four different ways to achieve your goal. Remember, your plan may have to change but, your goal does not. Make many plans. Change the plan and keep your goal. You can do it.
Key 4: Elevate Your Thoughts: This is huge. You cannot stand down in the dumps if you are going to build resilience. When stresses come upon you. Stop and think of good and happy things to bring your light into your heart and head. If you elevate your thoughts, your resilience meter will rise.
Key 5: Regain Your Dreams: Remember that you have dreams that you need to accomplish. There will be doubters. There will be turmoil. There will be distractions. BUT you must not give up on your dreams. Regain them!
If you use the 5 keys to unlocking your power of resilience interchangeably, you will reach heights you never imagined possible.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
There is a song that says what the world needs now is love sweet love. I believe that what the world needs now is hope.
If I could get just one person a day to have hope in a future that is bright for ALL that would be my goal. I try my best every day of my life to let one person know that whatever it is that they are going through is simply a bridge to something else.
I try to spread hope because without hope we are all lost. I would love for everyone to tell at least one person a day a hope that they see for that person. Find someone who needs a little hope. Give it to them. Tell them that you see a bright future ahead. If you dig deep enough, you can see that for everyone.
We do not all burn with the same brightness. But we all have a light.
Share your light!
Share your love!
Share your hope!
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
There are so many people I would LOVE to meet but, if I had to choose one, I believe I would want to meet Holly Robinson Peete. She is an icon who has done so much to help different communities all over the world.
My community of autism families need someone to help them.
We have people trying to help themselves by using the autism name but, there are very few major organizations and or people working to help the autism family make connections within themselves.
We need the research, do not get me wrong. BUT we need organizations and people of clout who are willing to stand and offer the support to help struggling families make connections within the family units.
Holly is doing that with the HollyRod Foundation. I want to do that with my No Greater Love, Inc Amoree’s Journey nonprofit.
I would love to sit down with her and discuss how we can combine forces to make life better for our families.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I can be reached across all major social media networks. Most are simply Amoree’s Journey. I am currently working on a YouTube channel. Join us so that you can get information about our next moves. We would love to have you become part of our family and walk this journey with us.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!