For Anthony Trucks, the best gift he ever received was a terrible childhood.
- If he hadn’t spent part of his childhood in a series of foster homes, would he be the family man he is today?
- If he hadn’t been exposed to starvation, beatings, domestic violence and alcoholism, would he be the healthy parent he is today?
- If he hadn’t experienced rebellion, anger and distrust of adults, would his inspiring message carry weight with foster kids today?
It doesn’t really matter because Trucks isn’t dwelling on the past. He’s dreaming dreams and living life and using his hardship as a stepping stone to better things.
Trucks brings his message of triumph over loss to Dallas CASA’s Cherish the Children luncheon April 9 at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
Removed from home at age three, Trucks cycled through five foster homes. He was separated from his siblings, scared and desperately wanted to go home. Through the clouds of confusion, he saw only one clear path home – act up enough in foster care to get sent home.
“I was bad, and I worked hard at being bad,” he says with a laugh. “My thought process was if I’m bad enough, they’ll finally send me home to my mom. I needed to be rambunctious enough to get thrown out.”
For Trucks, adults were people who came in and out of his life, didn’t follow through on what they said they would do and didn’t warrant his respect. It was his final foster mother, who later adopted him, who taught him that adults could be trusted and that he had a place in this world.
“She loved me through the crazy,” he said. “She showed me in actions that she loved me and no matter how bad I was she just would not give up on me. I finally realized ‘This lady’s legit.’”
For Trucks, adopted at age 14, a defining moment the following year set him on a new path. He heard a former foster child and friend of his say she was bad because she’d been in foster care.
“That just flipped a switch for me,” he said. “I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life saying that. I had two choices: keep on this path or start working to get better.”
He started putting real effort into things, first football and then academics. Through starts and fits, baby steps forward and frustrating steps backward, Trucks set himself on a new path.
“I fell in love with trying to do better,” he said. “I discovered that hard work could get me what I wanted. It’s so cliché and simple, but for me one of the greatest gifts was hardship in my life. When the sea of life gets rocky, you have to learn to sail.”
Trucks turned his difficult childhood into an NFL career, a rewarding family life as a husband and father to three children and a career built on entrepreneurship and thinking outside the box.
“Life for me I’ve realized, is comprised of a bunch of individual moments, some good and some bad,” he said. “I’m just trying to make more good moments than bad moments.”
Make a good moment for yourself and join Dallas CASA for the Cherish the Children luncheon April 9 at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Trucks will inspire us with his positivity, his love of life and his ability to make good from bad.