#PRESENTMAN – BRANDON PASCHAL
This is the story of a man who happens to be a teacher. I was a colleague of this teacher. I have never sat a single second as a student in his classroom, but the respect I have for this man as a teacher is very esteemed.
However, the respect I have for him as a husband, father and man, make the respect I have for him as a teacher extremely inadequate.
I first met Brandon in the fitness center prior to my working for Plainfield Community School Corporation as a School Resource Officer. I have a friendship with another teacher, Rob Rigdon, and he invited me to work out in the fitness center after school with a group of guys.
I was immediately drawn to Brandon and how quietly he commands respect. I instantly respected him because of his encouragement, work ethic, and how ferocious he was about becoming better at whatever he is doing.
As our friendship grew and my respect followed suit, he introduced me to his beautiful family.
The reason I wanted to tell Brandon’s story is because it drips with admiration, gratitude, pain, and frustration.
All of these traits in my opinion make the model man. The way he navigates it all with his presence is extremely special to watch.
Joshua Koch: How long you been teaching. What subject do you teach?
Brandon Paschal: I have completed eleven years of teaching. All eleven of those years have been teaching Engineering and Technology to 7th and 8th grade students.
Joshua Koch: Describe your family…
Brandon Paschal: I have been happily married for fifteen years to Megan. We have three children – Aubrey (13), Adelynne (11), and Nolan (10).
Joshua Koch: What does manhood mean to you?
Brandon Paschal: For me, manhood is all about modeling and leadership. Although I fail daily, I constantly strive to provide direction, inspiration, and safety for my family and hopefully others in my life.
I believe men have a God-given charge to lead their homes and teach them to love God and love people. For me, example is much more effective than talk.
While effective communication is important, it is my goal to lead through action. I have found great value in building strength both in my body and in my mind, by constantly growing and strengthening myself.
I feel better equipped each day to serve those around me. I guess I would sum up manhood as continually growing and strengthening yourself, pursuing God, and showing others how to do the same.
Joshua Koch: What does “presence mean to you?
Brandon Paschal: Presence is something I am very aware of and constantly trying to be better about. To me, presence means being awake and alert to the minutiae of life.
Far too often, I find myself distracted, aloof, or lost in an irrelevant thought. By being so, I miss some of the beautiful moments in front of me and likely opportunities to connect with people.
Life is hard and can be exhausting, so naturally some moments will be lost, but being mindful of this and striving to be present more can be greatly rewarding and valuable.
Joshua Koch: Who has inspired you to be the man you are?
Brandon Paschal: I have had many manly influences in my life. First and foremost would be my step dad. He is the epitome of a hard-working provider. He stepped into my life when I was around eight and he immediately treated me with the love of a father.
He was there: Ball games, practice, vacation, you name it, he was there. He taught me how to work hard and how to play hard. He encouraged me, disciplined me, and demonstrated his love for me.
Since leaving home, I have learned a ton from allowing myself to be influenced by other men in whom I see admirable qualities. It is important to always be growing, and one way that I try to do that, is by being surrounded by other men of strong character.
Joshua Koch: Can you talk about the excitement and difficulty of raising Nolan. I absolutely adore your stories about him on social media.
Brandon Paschal: Being the father of a son with Williams Syndrome is truly a roller-coaster. My son was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome right before his 1st birthday.
However, the struggle began the day he was born. There has always been a new challenge. Early in his life, it was health issues requiring surgeries.
To date he has been under full anesthesia for six different surgeries. There is always the potential for more as he ages. As he grows, his developmental delays and struggles associated with Williams Syndrome become more front and center.
He suffers from anxiety and lack of social awareness and appropriateness, but at the same time deeply desires love and friendship. He needs human connection above all other needs beyond basic sustenance.
However, his social awkwardness can drive people away, especially his younger peers.
The one thing he needs most, he cannot effectively sustain and nurture, meaningful relationships.
With all of that being said, he is the most loving and joyful kid I know. His unfiltered love for people and outgoing nature has connected our family with countless others.
He is an amazing and fascinating creation. Though he cannot typically maintain appropriate communication and social interaction for long periods of time, he will introduce himself to literally anyone.
I cannot count the number of people who have been touched by our boy. Along with that, having him has allowed our two daughters to develop compassion and empathy that I never knew was possible, let alone in children.
These girls have a lot to teach the world about caring for people and treating those that seem different with equality and kindness.
MY NOTE TO YOU
Brandon, I do not know if I ever told you, but you are the reason I navigated into this writing venture.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your writing and you pushed me into using this medium as an outlet.
You are very deflecting of praise which I appreciate. However, this is my medium to speak into you. I absolutely cherish every conversation, workout, minute we spend together. The way you love your family is very special.
You not only inspire me as a man, but you inspire me a human.
Thank you for your encouragement.
Thank you for your quiet respect.
Thank you for your friendship.
Thank you for your love.
This little piece is a small token of my appreciation and respect for you.
I want everyone to know the man I truly do consider a brother.
I love you Brandon.
As you may recall I wrote a highlight on Coach Woodard: Read it here: Coach Woodard.
I also wrote a piece on my boy Big Chap! Enjoy that here: Big Chap.
EBOOK ‘SIMPLY, GIVE A CRAP ABOUT PEOPLE’
We are excited to announce that the writing process has begun for our first eBook. This eBook, titled: ‘Simply, Give A Crap About People,’ will be available to all of you free of charge. You will be able to download it across numerous platforms.
Whether you have been on this journey with us since the beginning or a couple of hours: Thank You.
One way we would like to thank you is by sharing some of your stories in the eBook.
In order to make this eBook impactful, we need your help.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to share how someone has cared for you.
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In His Grip,
Joshua Koch – Contributor