John Williams | Author, Speaker, Founder&President | Life that Counts | Instagram @therealjohnwilliams

I travel a lot

championing the cause of helping to build future generations, leaders, and world changers- but what if I did it at the expense of my wife and kids?

We’ve got a full agenda this summer, for more on that, visit here.

Life that Counts - Boy looking out of a plane with binoculars.

Joshua, the youngest son of John Williams, founder of Life that Counts, traveling with his dad to a youth speaking event in California

For each trip which requires “seats and tray tables in there upright and locked position,” one of the boys or my wife ventures along for the ride. I never traveled more than an hour beyond my hometown of Gadsden, AL before my 14th birthday. Dad never was in the picture to do family vacations or have us tag along on business trips. Ladies and gentlemen, my disclaimer is that I’m an advocate for on the job training. I may be doing this all wrong. Many may find it absolutely bonkers that I would prioritize scheduling to accommodate those who are supposed to mean the most to me.

Here’s the thing, and I’ll sum it up with a story. I was in Denver last week for an OJJDP National Mentoring Conference. We brought in around 400 from across the country. Keep in mind, these are the kids who’ve volunteered to mentor and to lead their peers back in their own schools. Dress code and profanity were a constant all week. It’s not that the students were outwardly defiant. Wasn’t that at all. They were actually quite fantastic!

They didn’t know better. That’s the God’s honest truth. One Latino young man kept on thanking us for the guidance we were providing him as he served students his own age as a group leader. Another young lady of color did not have enough t-shirts to get her through the week. The rules said no single string tank tops. She wore a sweatshirt with a hoodie, not by choice, in 100° degree Colorado heat with the sun beaming down. When I asked her if she needed to go change, she explained it to me. I noticed a half dozen others in the same attire. We had them a change of shirt within 5 minutes time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I love you and I want to ask for you something, here. Sometimes I wonder if we’re making a dent in the social and cultural conundrum our students are inheriting. Ancient wisdom teaches that it is a good practice to raise our kids on the highways and byways of life, in the market and in the fields, face to face and as they observe.

Our children are our legacy and our greatest contribution to humanity. What are we molding them into?

From 37,000 feet,


About the Author

John is a veteran youth worker who loves students and is passionate about helping transform youth cultural.  He is married to his high school girlfriend and together, they have two teenage boys.  Click here for more on John.