by Jeff Johnson, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com
This summer, despite a grueling schedule, I have my 18-year-old goddaughter staying with me. She is in Baltimore as a layover between graduating from Rogers High School in Toledo, Ohio and beginning the pre-med program at Xavier University in Louisiana next month. It goes without saying that not only do I love my goddaughter with every breath I have; I am immensely proud of her and want this experience to be a springboard to the life she wants. I remember what it were like to be 18. Do you? Most of our mistakes were in front of us. Life was almost ALL about potential. We had not really accomplished anything yet, but we believed we could. We were young, full of energy, vision, desire and passion. We were invincible – even in our haze of youthful ignorance – and the world was ours. On the flipside, I am preparing to go to my 20th high school reunion at the end of this month and have talked to several of my former classmates. Some have not talked about the jobs they have, the kids they have been blessed with or the things they have been able to see – but, in retrospect, what didn’t they finish, failed to follow through on and just outright quit. One friend in particular, who I remember to be an incredibly optimistic high school graduate, said “What is the point of even going back to finish what he had quit at this stage? I don’t even need it anymore.” And I began to think, while he may be right, he doesn’t need to go back. Who could he become if he would just start what he had given up on, let alone finish? How could we all be transformed, for that matter, by realizing that it is not too late, not to go back, but restart and move forward? So I am talking to every single person, who started something that they wanted for their life and stopped, quit, was derailed by one of life’s realities or even knocked down by one of life’s tragedies. I am here to tell you that it is not too late to start what you never finished. The fact that you woke up this morning means that you have been given another opportunity to jump-off that thing you stopped doing last month, last year or even during the last decade. The fact that you survived this last mistake or made it through this last trial means that you are poised to make the next move. There are some of you out there right now that are singing your testimony: “After you’ve done all you can, you just stand.” And some of you are standing in the midst of it all. Yes, you too. But you don’t have to wait ’til the pain is gone to start moving. Sometimes it’s the moving during the worst times – starting again what you stopped – that brings the healing you need. I want each of you to think of the one thing that you will take the first step on today. This doesn’t have to be a big step, so don’t psyche yourself out before you start. Hell, if you’re so weak that you don’t know if you can step forward today, just lean a little – ’cause falling forward on your face is going to move you closer to your goal than standing still on your feet in fear. So, I need you to do four things: 1. Choose the one thing that you’re going to start. 2. Decide the first step. Don’t worry about the whole thing yet because that will overwhelm you. Just take Step One. 3. Find a partner or team of accountability, a group of family, friends or even classmates or co-workers who commit to helping you push yourself through this process. 4. Jump. Go. Do it. Whether your’re 18 or 88, take the first step. Start working out; just walk the stairs in your house. Start. Go online and register for one class towards finishing your degree. Go, and just file the paperwork for the business. Pray right now. No matter how long it’s been, God always wants to hear from you. Call or send a card today. Your child is one day older; don’t miss any more. Today is the day you tell the world and yourself “it’s not too late for me to start what I never finished, not too late for me to become what I convinced myself I wasn’t, but God keeps telling me I am.” Jeff Johnson is a contributor to “The Tom Joyner Morning Show.”
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