We should all learn from our mistakes.

Originally printed in the Shreveport Times – March 4, 2015

My life has been very restricted. I’ve never been on an airplane nor Greyhound bus. One year in August, I rode to California with the driver not turning on the air-conditioning (liked to have passed out)! I was given a paid train ride back in the private sleeper car; liked to have frozen to death.

In the ’80s because of family issues I visited Dallas more times than I care to recall; Dallas traffic gave me panic attacks. I visited New Orleans twice, Hot Springs, Arkansas, once, and very few places in my home state of Louisiana.

Hindsight is always 20/20.

I wished I could go back to my school-aged days. I would study harder, go to college, graduate with a degree (probably in psychology or sociology).

I wished wisdom came before age; I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes in my younger days. Reality: I have many regrets. However, because February was Black History Month, I don’t want to have the regret of not encouraging the younger generation to be all that you can be. Life is not a dress rehearsal. You only have one!

Stay in school, get an education. If possible, go to college. Have a goal in life other than just surviving. In the words of the basketball sport commentator Kenny “The Jet” Smith, “black people need to get out of the surviving mode and get in the striding mode.”

And it starts at home. I’m not saying that out of arrogance but out of humility, because one bad decision can cause a lifetime of regrets. I’m one to speak in that I’ve made many. Having raised two sons in a destructive home environment, half their adult life had been spent incarcerated. One is presently awaiting sentencing on a drug charge with the possibility of life. As it is said, “The choices that we make, can dictate the life we live.” I can’t undo my past, but I can encourage parents to be a strong role model for your children. Have integrity. Lead by being an example. We all make mistakes but learn from them.

A recap: I haven’t had an adventurous life, but I have an abundant life — a part-time nanny with a generous family, a member of a fitness center, where I’ve made acquaintances with many people and a very special young man whom I call “My Jesus Friend.” And best of all I have my health and strength and half of a mind. At 70 years old, I’ve learned to appreciate life’s simplest pleasures.

Stay in school, get an education. If possible, go to college. Have a goal in life other than just surviving. In the words of the basketball sport commentator Kenny “The Jet” Smith, “black people need to get out of the surviving mode and get in the striding mode.”

And it starts at home. I’m not saying that out of arrogance but out of humility, because one bad decision can cause a lifetime of regrets. I’m one to speak in that I’ve made many. Having raised two sons in a destructive home environment, half their adult life had been spent incarcerated. One is presently awaiting sentencing on a drug charge with the possibility of life. As it is said, “The choices that we make, can dictate the life we live.” I can’t undo my past, but I can encourage parents to be a strong role model for your children. Have integrity. Lead by being an example. We all make mistakes but learn from them.

A recap: I haven’t had an adventurous life, but I have an abundant life — a part-time nanny with a generous family, a member of a fitness center, where I’ve made acquaintances with many people and a very special young man whom I call “My Jesus Friend.” And best of all I have my health and strength and half of a mind. At 70 years old, I’ve learned to appreciate life’s simplest pleasures.

 

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