NP alum Ron James teaches ‘Power of Choices’

NP alum Ron James talks about the power of the choices we make.

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NP alum Ron James talks about the power of the choices we make.

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TOWAMENCIN- This past Monday, North Penn Class of 1981 alum Ron James came back to the hallways he once walked to preach ‘The Power of Choices’. In two presentations to the student body and one to the North Penn community, James told his story, and what he learned from years of unhealthy relationships and toxic behaviors that led to him spending 25 years in and out of prison. James strives to emphasize the true power of every person in the audience’s next choice.

James grew up in West Philadelphia, and moved to Montgomeryville when he was in second grade. He attended Montgomery Elementary, Penndale Middle School, and North Penn High School.

Through his adolescence and on into his adult years, a pattern of making bad choices led him into a life of crime and years of extreme drug use. James went on to write his first book, Choices, in 2014. He has published 2 more books since then and is currently working on his fourth.

James’ presentations are filled with moving stories and powerful moments to remember, but one of the lines that I have continued to think of days after his speech is the poem his mother used to tell him often:

‘Good Better Best

May You Never Rest

Till the Good Gets Better

And the Better Best’

I had a chance to speak with Mr. James after his visit to North Penn. Here’s what he had to say.

Why is it important to tell your story to high schoolers?

It is important for high schoolers to hear my story because they are at a pivotal point in life. They are getting ready to step into the real world, and the potential consequences from their actions will become more severe. When we are little we are told to go sit in ‘time out’, but as we age, the consequences can be harsher, such as juvenile detention, jail, or even death.

How did you find success after prison?

It all starts with one choice. I always think it can be compared to a flywheel; it is very hard to start moving, but once you pick up that momentum, it is hard to stop. I had to make lots of difficult but ultimately positive choices to be where I am today.

How did you manage to kick your addiction?

I slowly began to do some self evaluating, and saw just how negative of a person I had become. I knew that if I wanted to reverse my course in life I had to make more positive choices. So simply, I had to stop my drug use. It was a challenge, but once I was able to stop, I no longer became incarcerated.

What made you want to tell your story?

I saw myself as someone who had the ability to help others through sharing my story. I knew I could create a platform for myself and use it to help others from going down the same negative paths that I went, and making the same poor choices that I made.

What is the one thing you want listeners to take away from your presentation?

For the listener to realize that they’re amazing. They are amazing because they say so. No one else can come into their lives and just tell them what to do or what to think. And to make your next choice your best choice.

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