Raising Sons? Meet Clayton Lessor
Would you like to know who I am and why I do this work?
A Sad Little Boy
My childhood in quiet suburban South City was anything but quiet. I lived in fear of my dad. I spent most of my time at school tired and scared because I’d been awake most of the night before scared to death. So many times, I wished that someone (a teacher, neighbor, pastor, family member) would notice or help, but no one did so I had to learn to handle my circumstances to survive.
Growing Up and Getting By
I realized that “growing up” didn’t mean the pain of my childhood would automatically go away, in fact, it began to worsen. I had no real direction in life except to get away from my home. I remember telling my dad when I was 11 years old that I wanted to be a doctor. He told me to “forget it…I wasn’t smart enough.” I was smart enough I tested with an IQ of 129; I told myself someday I would prove him wrong.
Enlisting in the United States Air Force was an easy decision for me. I was lost with no direction in my life. My buddy and I had a lot of adventures and this would prove to be the biggest and the best! Sure, I was scared, but I’d spent most of my life scared. I did my basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I was good at it. With an abusive Dad, I learned at a very early age how to follow directions and orders to a tee. I completed every task perfectly. The Air Force became my new Dad and mentor.
A Family of My Own
I met my first wife just out of high school. We dated a couple of years. At the age of 20 I was excited and in love, I couldn’t wait to get married and share my life with someone. Unfortunately, the abuse from my Dad didn’t end. I visited my Dad (who had spent his day drinking) while home on a military leave to tell him I was getting married, he went into a rage and began choking me. I could have died. I did get married, I remember being in a state of shock during what should have been a very special time. I wondered if this would ever stop. I rarely spoke to or saw my dad after that. Sadly, after six years my marriage ended; we just didn’t have anything in common anymore.
I did what most newly divorced guys do, I searched for love again. I met my second wife after six months and fell in love again! I received my Officer commission, and I was at the highest point of my life. We married on Veterans Day in grand military fashion with full military honors! We had fun but when life brought some serious issues our way we just couldn’t work through them. Two years later I was divorced yet again.
I realized that I needed therapy. I wanted a male therapist, a mentor, someone that I could relate to. I needed someone who would make me work on myself, not just show up to talk. Males NEED “to do!” I found a counselor who specialized in work with men and he was exactly what I was looking for. He put me to work, hard work to heal the deep wound that was burdening me and my life. I spent an entire year “re-parenting” myself by research, reading parenting books, retreats and a regimen of homework from my therapist. I learned to do and give myself what my parents didn’t.
I began to heal and put meaning to the suffering. I realized that my troubled past would guide me to a decision.
I wanted to help others, especially young boys carrying wounds from their fathers. I accepted that my dad was a gift in my life. His abuse and inability to be a good father would make me want to be a better man and teach other young men.
My entire life and career would change. I discovered and formulated my mission: to create healthy lifestyles by teaching, facilitating, writing and example. I returned to school to get my Master’s degree in Counseling. I felt better than I had in years. In my quest to heal myself, I found I could help others and that was rewarding! I spent enormous amounts of time doing research and development. I traveled the country to meet with and co-facilitate various teen programs, constantly learning and growing.
My End Game
And my legacy? The answer to that question is The Quest Project® where I’ve helped over 2000 boys heal. I authored a book entitled “Saving Our Sons” A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success. It has been a journey and experience I’ll never forget.
I am happily remarried with two amazing little miniature long hair dachshunds, Pinot-7 and Tawney-2 years old! I live in a suburb of St. Louis with my family. I AM a PhD and very proud of it (you may remember my dad said “forget it….I wasn’t smart enough”)!
And don’t tell my wife, but I’m not finished yet!
Here’s what I’m thinking, facilitating The Quest Project® weekends, a second book and a documentary-there’s still much work to be done and I’m just the guy to do it!