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Interview with Terry Bradley

Bradley, Terry
Britt, Erica
Date of Interview: 
childhood adventures; stories and storytellers; relationships with people and places
Terry Bradley tells stories about Christ's life and lessons and details how those lessons have affected Terry's life.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Erica Britt interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
EB (Erica Britt): What was your favorite childhood story when you were kid? [Pause] OK. I can come back tomorrow if you wanted to, if you wanted to think [laugh].
TB (Terry Bradley): I'll go with it. Uh, favorite childhood story, um, [long pause] oh, the story of Christ.
EB: Oh, OK.
TB: Yeah. Um, that's probably, um, one that probably that kind of sticks out in my, in my mind in terms of, um, not only having it read to me but also hearing it, hearing about it in school as well. It's just, um, during Christmastime being one of the kind of stories that you might hear.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: So I would say, you know, His birth, um, being the son of a carpenter and how He, uh, grew up and the work that He did.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: ( ) If I had to reflect now I would say that'd probably be one of my favorite stories.
EB: What did people tell you about Him as a child? What were the things that stuck out to you about Him?
TB: Um. And the odd thing about it, I would say, just Him as a child, which I have yet to read in the Bible, you know.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: You know how He kind of hung around His dad and, um, and worked with him as a carpenter and things like that. But I guess the most significant things that I definitely remember is Him just going about being Himself and just kind a remembering now that He's probably a very charismatic person.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: Because everyone just followed Him.
EB: Right.
TB: And I just wondered what type of person was this that, you know, attracted people towards Him and He was just a natural leader.
TB: Yeah.
EB: OK. And His leadership, do you see that in your, affecting your life in any kind of way, the story as a child, do you see effects of that-.
TB: Uh-huh.
EB: On your life?
TB: It was, it's something I would try but haven't been successful at anyway.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: I would definitely, in terms of, um, leadership style choose His style.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: It was very, um, non-confrontational and I guess just, it just, from what I'm reading, I'm thinking that He learned that a leader is not al-, not always the person that's dictatorial or just telling a person what to do specifically, but He gave good examples by being more of a servant to people.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: Getting out in the trenches and actually doing the work, and persons would have actually a model to kind of see and kind of follow and know specifically what they need to do.
EB: Right.
TB: Now I am not as proficient but I try to kind of, you know, use one of those styles to develop myself. Not to be, specifically to be a leader, but if I were to be classified as a leader, um, take bits and pieces of it and try to apply it to my day-to-day living.
EB: Do you plan on teaching that to your children, those stories, the lessons you have learned?
TB: I don't know if I plan on teaching it. I don't think I'm going to teach. I'm just going to be one of those persons that they see me dealing with certain things and if they have questions that eventually maybe they'll ask or, you know, take up on that. But I'm not going to be like one of those, "This is what you have to do." I try to kind of, um, just lead by an example. Um, just walk it, live it-.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: -Be as opposed to, you know, saying certain things. Um, and it's odd now that you would, you know, kind of say that because I would sit at the table, you know, with my wife and my daughter and, and she's like 13 months now, and, um, we would say prayers and we were saying, you know, grace or something like that. And every time we'd look up she's like looking at us like, "What?" you know, it's like, "What are you doing?" But that, but yet that's a good thing, you know, it's like, you know, she's not saying anything but she's just like kind of staring at you and observing stuff. So, you know, and you realize that they do learn things, you know, at a younger age so, um, I think that if I just kind of keep following and doing certain things that she would probably just pick up on them anyway.
EB: Did you learn that way as a child or was it more of a telling you how about things? How would you describe the way that they taught you?
TB: I think I was really, uh, I think so. I was, even though I think I was kind of rebellious, you know, rebellious things now at an older age come back to me, I kind of, I kind of know why I do certain things-.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: -Now because of certain things that I saw and the way I kind of, I kind of view certain things, um, I'm thinking it's probably because my dad probably did, did it that way.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: And the things I kind of expect about how it was done in my, my household and persons that I, I kind of looked up to growing up, um, I think that, um, coming up and not really thinking about it in the past-.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: -Or you know just having to think about it now, I see why I do certain things and-.
EB: And did you, were you actively involved in the church as a child? Were they, so you got the message from your parents or from your family?
TB: Well, I knew that. I don't think I really got it from in church.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: Um, and my family believed in going to church on Sundays you can play or do whatever but, um, you know, on Sunday you went to church. I didn't really get a lot out of it or it was something like you had to do, but now, you know, I'm, I'm, I guess within the last two or three years I'm having my family go to church, you know. You know, so it's like, um, maybe not really knowing the basis of why we're going to church, just going through the motions. Things kind of come back and, uh, I'm doing it more so now and, um, I think, um, I never really took an active role and it still happened and I think that if I had, had have taken an active role then I probably would not. And same thing, if I had probably seen my father, you know, probably being an usher or something like that, I probably would have taken. Now I'm having to find out what it is that I need to do and how to be, find out how I need, how I, I can be more active in church and it, it was more complicated that way as opposed to if I had maybe seen it or did it at a younger age and now having to come a do it at this point and time.
EB: Right.
TB: Yeah.
EB: So what do you see in your children's future as far as the way you're learning and expecting to teach them about passing the traditions that you're giving them?
TB: Well, certain things are going to be, um, I guess it is going to be a combination of different cultures and different religions. You know, my wife would have her own set of, uh, traditions, I would have my own set of traditions But it's just a matter of us coming up with our own traditions now.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: And I kind of see um, um some things coming into play now we never really talked about it which is kind of odd because I, a good example is, um, we just recently before Halloween came up with the decision that we wouldn't, we wouldn't celebrate Halloween.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: You know, for our own, you know, personal reasons, you know, not coming, I guess having a better understanding of what it is all about.
EB: Yeah.
TB: And, um, kind of not really wanting to expose our daughter to it. So-.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: Um, I think that, you know, we're going to probably, just as a learning experience for us as a family, but I guess we're just trying to show, uh, not really trying to show but trying to develop our own set of traditions and hopefully from that, you know, take that and probably take some of it and, but I'm quite sure that she would, you know, have her own set of things that she would like to do or like to see and ( ) as a person.
EB: Right. And do you have any other stories that stick out in your mind as a child any other things that influence your life now maybe going along, along the lines of, um, the story of Christ or maybe something totally different that you remember that goes as significant as that?
TB: Um, something that's significant, hmm, I'm trying to think of, hmm.
EB: I mean that shaped, shaped the way that you are now as well.
TB: Well, that's kind of a hard question, simply because I think now I'm at a point in my life that, um, I'm really just trying to find out who I am.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: And this might sound strange but I have very detailed memories of, you know, things, you know, within my past, but I never really have focused on it. And I'm just coming to realize that I never have determined what it is that I had a, have a passion for and what it is that I specifically always wanted to do.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: But I just kind of I guess think that in life I just kind of went along with the flow and now I'm playing a little bit of catch up 'cause there is nothing significant. 'Cause I enjoyed everything. I just kind of went with it, you know.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: And, um, and nothing sad about it. Nothing, um, too exciting but it's just, just going along and then getting to a point where, to where to I'm at, am now where I'm having to think in retrospective, "Hmm, how did I get here and what do I need to do to move forward?" So, I know I haven't answered your question in terms of specifics but I, I think I'm answering in terms of I, I don't have a specific, um, story or anything kind of comes to mind that I think that may have, uh, shaped me, at this point.
EB: You're a combination of life and experience?
TB: I think so, good and bad.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: That uh, just, just taking everything in and if I, if I, uh, learned if I have learned anything, I think that, um, you really have to observe, pay attention and try to remember the lessons out of everything that happens to you, whether it's good or bad.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: And even in those bad situations you have to take the best of them and move on. I think that it comes back to you but in a lot of cases I think you allow yourself to ( ) where you know you moan and complain about them but you know you have to really take them and find out what those lessons are. And now I'm I, I think I'm going back to kind of find out what those lessons were and I think they are a little bit more difficult when you have to go back and think about it as opposed to when it happens focusing on what, what the lesson is so. But I think it was definitely a good thing.
EB: Uh-huh. Would you describe yourself as well-rounded now, as a result of what you have been learning or are you still, still working on it?
TB: I'm very open minded so I, I, um, well rounded? Well, there are a lot of rough edges so [laugh] um, [pause] I'd like to think so. I'm open to new concepts, new ideas, I bring a lot to the table with, um, um, if I asked my opinion, um I, I think that a person who, uh, typically goes out and says they know everything or say that they know-.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: -And doesn't really know. And those who don't say that much they may be the ones to kind of look at you know and, um, observe uh, uh those that, those who tell usually don't know and those who don't tell usually know.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: And, um, in terms of being well-rounded I, I think that if you see some things in me you typically asking but you don't see that you wouldn't bother so I don't profess to, to know a lot or anything but I think that it's, um, about where a person's walked, lived and to do certain things.
EB: Uh-huh.
TB: Maybe, you know, tell you a little bit more about them than if you just asked that person that question.
EB: Well great. I believe it's been 15 minutes [Laughs] and that was-.
TB: Think so.
EB: I think so.