It’s never a bad time to extend a special thanks to those who were instrumental in ones development. Today I want to pay homage to my hero who inspires me most.
There are a few people whom I truly admire for their accomplishments in society and in the realm of sports. Muhammad Ali is my all time favorite in sports. He said he was the greatest and he proved it.
Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Curt Flood, Arthur Ashe, and Jackie Robinson are others who I admire. They stood tall while at the apex of their athletic careers. They sacrificed and battled racism to make things better for us all.
In terms of activism the likes of Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, and Martin Luther King were great but Malcolm X was the best. He provided the best blueprint that could liberate the minds and souls of African Americans during the turbulent 1960’s and beyond.
I’ve had several teachers and professors whom I respect for their wisdom. Their collective efforts have helped shape my world.
While the latter athletes, activists, and educators have a special place they don’t measure to my ultimate hero. When I’m at my lowest I often think of my hero and how they taught me from day one how to live and never give up.
Who is my hero?
My hero is the person who brought me into this world-my mom.
I came into the world a blank sheet of paper unmarked. The first etchings of knowledge came from the wisdom mom provided. For me the best life lessons weren’t learned at L.C. Ward, Weisser Park, Shawnee, Northrop, or IU. The most valuable seeds of knowledge were planted on Smith Street as an infant, on Robinwood Drive as a child, and Oxford Street as a young adult.
Mom did for me on an individual level what Malcolm X did in society and that’s to stand tall. Like Ali, mom taught me that its’ fine to speak your mind. I know there were times she thought I wasn’t listening but I was. Her words of wisdom mean more to me than anything. The simplicity of her knowledge radiates within me and I will live by her wisdom until my casket drops.
Mom never needed to be validated by utilizing the sophistication of technology. My mom has never been on a plane, never smoked a cigarette nor ever took a drink. She’s never owned a computer or used a cell phone. Yet many of the people depend on such technology can’t hold a candle to the type of intellect my mom has-myself included.
Mom lacks the formal education many of us have but that’s OK. Mom only went up to eighth grade just like Malcolm X. Mom quit school to raise the five children her mother reared but refused to properly care for. What a sacrifice to make.
Like Malcolm X, the world was her classroom.
Despite many bitter cruelties along the way she was able to run a small business by herself and make it work. She raised three men who weren’t burdens to society. More important she provided wisdom for us to live by.
A college professor would teach from a book on how act civilized and following societal norms. We’d read about how to be responsible and always do the right thing.
Mom would simply say, “Can’t do wrong and think right is gonna follow you.”
Malcolm X expressed the importance of standing tall and one shouldn’t apologize for being who they want to be.
Mom would say, “Don’t throw your rock and hide your hand.”
For many who have problems we seek therapy or turn to drugs to cope. Maybe we’ll read self-help books or watch Dr. Phil to help deal with the havoc and stress we face in the world.
You’d simply say, “Don’t worry, every road has an end to it.”
Or she’d say, “Pray.”
With this being an election year I’ve witnessed a lot political chicanery. Politicians, especially the Clintons, try to look good in the streets for votes but the story is different in private.
To truly know someone mom would say, “You wanna know how somebody is follow em’ home.”
In short, thanks for packing my school lunches as a child, for washing my Little League uniforms, for coming to my basketball games in high school, for writing me letters in college, and for just being there. More importantly thanks for the wisdom.
So, to the smartest person I know, I say with love, thank you.