Jocelyn and Shane Sams weren’t anticipating significant life changes as school teachers. They lived a pretty average American life with good jobs, a decent salary, and some security. But after finding out about a devastating situation involving their son at his preschool, the Sams decided to work towards change so they could take back control of their lives.
This week on Overcome With Auntie Anne, I’m talking with Jocelyn and Shane about “overcoming the norm” and the notion that we should do what everyone else says we should be doing. We talk about taking the path less traveled and how that’s brought incredible freedom into their lives.
It’s an encouraging and inspiring conversation, so listen to the podcast or keep reading below for the highlights.
Living the “American Dream”
As teachers, Jocelyn and Shane were living what they call “that good enough life -- that American dream that we kind of get sold as we’re growing up.” Shane was a US History teacher that coached the football team, and Jocelyn was an elementary school librarian.
“We were living that 2.2 car, 2.2 kid lifestyle, on that railroad track to retirement,” Shane says. “We had our health insurance, everything was good, had a roof over our heads.”
And even though they were paid decently as teachers, their paychecks ran out every other Thursday before payday on Friday. “I can remember many times having to pull out that credit card and float that grocery bill for a day or two until the next paycheck,” Shane says.
In fact, Shane thinks they’d still be on “that railroad track” if the issue with their son’s preschool never occurred.
As teachers, they put their kids in daycare while they worked. And the daycare they used was run by a woman they loved. They describe her as “just like the town grandmother.” But eventually, this woman decided to retire and sold the daycare to one of her employees.
Knowing that it was still the same people involved, Jocelyn and Shane kept their kids in the daycare. But what they didn’t know was that the new owner wasn’t prepared to run a business. She was getting rid of former employees and bringing in new, untrained employees. “Some things were happening,” Shane says.
One morning, they found out about these things when Shane went to drop off their son, Isaac.
Isaac refused to go in and started screaming, and Shane, a teacher with a classroom and students he’s responsible for, was getting frustrated. But then his son said, “No daddy, no daddy, she scares me.”
This stopped Shane in his tracks, and when he asked who it was that scares him, Isaac mentioned the name of one of the daycare employees. When Shane asked why, three-year-old Isaac said, “She locks me in the bathroom, daddy, and turns out the lights.”
In time, they found out there was a lot of abuse happening at the preschool. For instance, one employee would “throw kids down on the ground and put a beanbag chair on top of them and sit on them until they would behave.”
Knowing his son and knowing this was different than just not wanting to be away from daddy, Shane decided he needed to look into this immediately. But he still had a job, a classroom, and his students that he had to attend to. So he was stuck in the position of trying to balance work and family. His son needed his attention, but he could get fired if he didn’t show up for work.
Shane couldn’t get in touch with Jocelyn, who was already at work at her school, so he took Isaac to the preschool where his younger daughter went. Isaac was beyond the age of this preschool, but the lady who worked there had taken care of Isaac when he was younger. She agreed to watch him for a bit but said that since he wasn’t on the roster, he couldn’t stay there all day.
Shane raced to the school and went to talk to his supervisor about the situation. First, he explained what Isaac said to him and that he wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. Then, he asked if someone else could cover his classes for the day so he could figure it out.
But because his son wasn’t in immediate danger, the supervisor said, “I know your son needs you. Your job needs you too. And you’re gonna have to handle your personal problems after work.”
Family is more important
Shane says that at that moment, he started getting mad but not at who you’d think. “I wasn’t mad at my boss. I was more mad at myself because I had put myself and my family in this situation where I had traded so much of my freedom for a paycheck -- that they thought they owned me, and they thought that they controlled me, and they thought they were more or equally important to my son.”
So Shane looked at his supervisor, said that’s unacceptable, and asked what would happen if he left. After being told he would either be written up or fired if he left his class all day, Shane decided to take the chance and drove back to get Isaac.
Shane says that this was the beginning of a couple of journeys for him and Jocelyn. First, to figure out what was actually going on at the daycare center. Long story short, social services got involved, and it got shut down.
And second, “the journey to find something else where the next time my son or my daughter or my wife needed me, I would never have to say no, and I could be there for them and have total control of my life.”
Into the world of online business
For Shane and Jocelyn, that freedom to be available for their family and each other whenever they needed -- the freedom to not be tied to a paycheck and a job that forced them to put the needs of the job ahead of the needs of their family -- came in the form of online business.
After the incident with his son, Shane wanted to quit his teaching job right away. He only got written up, not fired. But he was still held to the job. So he became obsessed with finding out how to make this freedom a reality.
He even considered things like lawn mowing. He figured if he could do 50 yards a week for $50 each, that would give him and Jocelyn the money they needed to live and the freedom to be available whenever their family needed them.
Eventually, Shane listened to a podcast by Pat Flynn “about making passive income from home.” Pat had done the very thing Shane was seeking to do. And once Shane got on this idea of making an income through an online business, he did whatever he could to receive the training he needed.
“I was just emptying rooms on the weekends, trying to have yard sales, selling stuff, just to [pay for] the next piece of training.”
Jocelyn was used to Shane getting obsessed with things. And knowing his tendencies, she was waiting for this obsession to pass. But it never did. This led to frustration since he was putting his time, money, and energy into learning about online business but was having no success.
One night, Shane was so down about the whole thing that he went into his bathroom and didn’t even turn the lights on. But as he was standing there in the dark bathroom, he remembered that he was doing all of this and putting in all of this effort because of what happened to his son, Isaac, when he got locked in the dark bathroom at school.
Shane says he got emotional and surrendered everything to God at that moment. He prayed for a fork in the road. If this online business thing is possible, he asked God to show him. But if not, he said he’d be content just continuing to be a teacher.
When Shane left the bathroom and returned to his computer, he opened it up and saw that he had made his first eleven cents. Just eleven cents. But that eleven cents was proof that they could earn income online. And from that, Jocelyn began to buy into the idea too, and they started working together. They continued working at it, and over time the business grew.
The dream realized
Today, Jocelyn and Shane are no longer teaching. Instead, they earn an income through online business and help others learn how to do the same so they can experience the same freedom Shane and Jocelyn are experiencing -- the freedom to be there for their family when needed.
And be there, they have. For instance, when Isaac flipped off of a trampoline, and there was a fear he had broken his neck, Shane could stop what he was doing and be with his son in the hospital right away. He wasn’t tied down or scrambling to find help. His new lifestyle, which he’d been working towards, gave him the freedom to be there for Isaac, just like he wanted all those years ago.
Thank you, Jocelyn and Shane, for sharing your story. I know it will encourage many people who maybe feel stuck and want to take the step you took to get unstuck. And I love how it all started because you wanted to be intentional with your parenting--what a great message.
To hear more from Jocelyn and Shane, check out their podcasts, Flipped Lifestyle Podcast and The Shane Sams Show. Or check out their website, flippedlifestyle.com.
The post A Flipped Lifestyle After a Devastating Situation With Jocelyn and Shane Sams appeared first on Auntie Anne Beiler.