Inspiring Okeechobee: Daniel Kidd believes no kid is a lost cause

OKEECHOBEE — Daniel Kidd has changed a lot now that he has grown up. He said a friend asked him who turned him on to God. But really, no one turned him on to God, because he grew up in a church, but you know how you read that the pastor’s child is the worst child? Well, his dad was not a pastor, he said, but it was kind of the same situation. He was very sheltered, and he was a good-looking kid. All the girls liked him in high school. He was good at sports, and he just had a selfishness about him, he said. It got to the point in high school where football was his god. Even though he went to church every Sunday, he idolized football and idolized the attention.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Daniel Kidd is pictured here with his wife, Ashley, and son, DJ. He believes at the end of the day, everyone has a choice to make in life.

He was so popular, he could be in a room full of people who felt like they knew him and called him friend, but he felt like he was all alone. He thinks in life, everyone has a void and often they try to fill it with things like lust or greed or money or cars or relationships, things like that, even friendships, not all bad things. When you only fill it with those things, those are supplements. It’s not the real things. He found himself being thirsty for the attention. He would get it; it was good, but then it would go away. The same thing happened with relationships. He would have them. They would be good, but then they would end. Each time the things left, he was more thirsty.

He knew what he was thirsting for, he said. He grew up in church, so he knew. He believes the enemy is not going to come to us with a big red tail like we grew up hearing. He is beautiful. Sin feels good. That’s why people get strung out on drugs, because it feels good in the moment. There is a high. But, just like anything else, it goes away.

When the friend asked him who turned him on to God, he told her he didn’t think anyone turned him on to God. He had just been distracted by lust, greed, money and other things he thought would grant him happiness. He thought those things would bring him a life full of joy, but in reality they only gave him a temporary satisfaction.

He believes everyone has a calling to serve, not only themselves but the world with the gift that God gave them. He believes everyone has a gift. He finally understood that God loves us so much that sometimes He allows us to lose everything that we put above Him, everything that is a distraction, to the point that all we have to choose between our own stubbornness and Him. “At the end of the day, everyone has a choice,” he said. “God is a gentleman. He’s not going to come into our lives, and just BOOM! You’re going to serve me!”

In elementary school, Mr. Kidd was labeled ADHD. He often goes out to the high school and speaks to the kids now. He tries to mentor them because he has a background that makes it easier for him to understand the things they do sometimes. He remembers being in their shoes. He said, when you are in high school, you have tunnel vision. You only focus on one thing at a time, but the world is wide open. If you aren’t prepared for that, sometimes you fall hard. Some get up running, but some aren’t so lucky. They stay down. He graduated in 2009, and he sees some individuals who were out there doing the same things he was back then, and he looks at them now, and thinks, “Oh man! You don’t look like we could have even gone to the same school.” Life just takes a toll on some people, he said. Living that type of lifestyle and doing those things, drugs and partying. You can’t keep trying to feed yourself off those supplements.

His wife, Ashley, is an ESE teacher, an inclusion teacher at the high school, so he has a new-found respect and love for anyone in education, because he hears the stories. When he was a kid, he had no idea what the teachers were trying to do for him. He had that tunnel vision he talked about. Now, he tries to be a mentor and a light for the kids. A lot of times when people see the label of ADHD or other labels, they don’t want to deal with that kid.

“With ADHD, your mind runs 130,000 mph,” he said. That’s why kids are bouncing all over the place. “When I look at a truck, most people think, oh that’s a nice red truck. I think, oh that’s a nice red truck. The engine probably has this in it. I wonder what the pulley does to it to make it move. I wonder who made the pulley. Why is it shaped like that? Maybe it’s shaped like that because of this. Oh that’s why the belt….”

He found that having ADHD allowed him to hone in on his creativity. He loves to create, and he believes God created him to be a creator. If God is his father, then he also has that trait. He is like his dad. He enjoys and is good at photography, graphic design, painting, drawing and music. He loves anything like that. He is blessed to own his own business called Black Bull Media Films and he tries to give back to the community as much as he can. He takes pictures at the parades and at the high school and throughout the community, without charge. This goes back to what he said earlier about God giving each of us a gift. If you don’t produce your gift to the world, you are robbing yourself and the universe. He believes that is true of everyone. “If you can cook pies, and you are amazing at it, then you are robbing the universe if you don’t bake them,” he said.

He wants kids to know he used to be one of those throw-away kids. He wasn’t a bad kid, but he could definitely be a hindrance to a teacher trying to do her job. It got to the point where every time he entered the room, he was told to go to the dean’s office. Times change, he said, but the antics stay the same, and he knows the kids are still doing the things he did. They think they can’t do anything because they have too much against them or no one believes in them or they have some issue in their lives, but he likes spending time with the kids because he wants them to feel like they can reach out to him and know there is hope, and they can reach out to someone. He doesn’t want them to feel like they have been dealt a hand of cards, and that’s all there is to it. He knows what he is called to do, and he is not running from it anymore, he said. He is called to tell his story, to tell what he saw, and to tell what he knows, and that is that Christ saved him, and he went through some mess, but he knows the things he endured were all for the glory of God.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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