Welcome to Beards Behind The Brand. Our goal with this new series is to feature empowering stories from our community to encourage and inspire each other to be the best we can be.
It's all about doing better every single day, and these stories unite us in that mission. This week we're featuring Andre Matthews and his be the best father possible and show his son regardless of what happens, he can live his dreams.
It’s been said that nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is as gentle as real strength. There is, perhaps, no better way to describe our brother, Andre Matthews.
Andre is as real as they come. He is the owner of Before and After Landscaping in New Jersey and is an active member in the Live Bearded Brotherhood.
On Andre’s surface, you’ll see an absolutely perfect beard that countless guys aspire to. He has that “cool” factor that makes you want to be around him.
Simply put, he’s just an all-around “man’s man.”
Underneath all of that, though, Andre’s most important mission in life is being a father.
But it hasn’t always been easy.
His son, Billy, has Autism. And not only is Andre the primary caretaker for his son, he is the founder of Billy’s Journey LLC - an organization created to provide awareness for Autism and entrepreneurship for Billy.
That means Andre is heavily active in his community spreading awareness and sharing his experiences of parenting a child with Autism. Over the years, Andre has noticed there is an amazing amount of misinformation and overall misunderstanding in regards to those with Autism.
Andre wants to change that.
“My mission in life is clear,” Andre said. “It’s to help my son establish life skills as he transitions into adulthood, as well as help others become more aware in the community.”
As any parent of a child with Autism can attest to, there is a steep learning curve. But Andre has demonstrated grace and the willingness to learn… something we all could benefit from.
“One of the biggest challenges was learning to have lots of patience,” he said. “I had to adjust my schedule to work around Billy - going to therapy and interacting with different specialists to accommodate his needs. Sure, I had to change my lifestyle but it made me better because I learned patience.”
We all face battles in life. Whether it’s mental, physical or just navigating through every day challenges, Andre has approached things the exact same way… by never giving up.
“If I could offer advice to those looking to help their kids ‘Do Better,’ I’d say to maintain good communication with their children and understand them,” Andre said. “Let them have their own voice. Be involved with their education and be supportive. Whatever goal they would like to accomplish, support them and teach them to never give up.
“Never say the words: ‘I can’t.’”
Because of that never-say-die mentality, for Andre, defining success is easy.
“I want to make sure my son has everything he needs when I’m here anymore or when I’m not around,” Andre said assertively. “To me, success is being able to live a comfortable life and be able to leave a legacy for my children.”
Check out this video Andre made for us. For more information on how you can support Billy’s Journey, click here and checkout there website.
At Live Bearded we believe Brotherhood goes beyond the beard. We believe it is our responsibility, as men, to do better every day, to learn from our mistakes, grow through our failures, and strive to be the best we can be.
Through sharing stories of the men in the Live Bearded Brotherhood, we're continually learning and growing from each other. If you are interested in being considered for a Beards Behind the Brand story, send us an email!