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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Self-Preservation

Self-Preservation

From a very young age (5 years old in private school) I already knew that I wanted to be the best.  Not just at one thing but at everything.  I don’t think that you can have a chip on your shoulder at that young age, I simply wanted to excel and be the best that I could be all around.

Even at age 5 I already had a gift for gab.  My personality was very outgoing, and I received all the attention that I could possible desire from my parents and my maternal grandparents.  They instilled in me not only that I could be great, but that I already was.  I was an only child, and they heaped love and praise on me.

I remember that at the private school where I was enrolled, I would sneak away from the classroom before lunch (while lunch was being prepared in the kitchen for the students and faculty), and walk right into the kitchen, I would impress the food preparers (ladies), first by complimenting their culinary skills based on the aroma alone, and then I would share some poetry that my grandmother had taught me.  Within a matter of seconds one of the cooks would prepare something for me to eat (appetizer if you will) before lunch was served to everyone else.


It was that kind of experience and rewards that encouraged me to improve and sharpen my oratory skills (gift of gab).  My ability to properly respond to any situation is what got me ahead because the teachers felt that additional time spent working with me one on one, was time well spent.  As a result of this kind of privileged treatment I was a B+ student through sixth grand, and then starting with Junior High School and all the way through college I was a 4.0 GPA.

Much of the academic accomplishment can be attributed to consistency in study habits (if not good old fashion hard work) and clean living. I didn’t party or even drink or smoke.  While many of my peers did all that and more (weed, speed, LSD etc.), I participated in school sports and even worked a 30 hour week including after school and weekends.


I never wanted to admit it even to myself (perhaps especially to myself), that the reason I wanted to be better is because I was a minority (raised in South Texas); bias and racial discrimination was all around us.  Some of my friends either ignored it or were used to it and didn’t acknowledge it.  I on the other hand didn’t dwell on it but was constantly aware that the snake could rear its ugly head when you least expected it.

I never once thought of discriminating first as a preemptive strike, because I believe in the good in everyone’s heart, and I was willing to accept being the target of someone so compelled.  I am not aware of any incidences of racial discrimination (in the work place) in my life time probably because I am astute enough to recognize problem areas and stay out rather than test the waters.  I do know of one incidence of discrimination against me in the area of consumerism, but rather than feel bad for me, I felt bad for the merchant because of the hatred that he carried in his heart and the fact that he was stuck living with himself.  I was only 9 years old at the time, and unwittingly crossed over to the wrong side of the tracks (didn’t literally cross the tracks).  As life often does, and in retrospect my life turned out many times more successful in every way than the life that the merchant was already living in his late 50’s.


I pray early and I pray often, more often than not it’s to give thanks for the abundant blessings in my life and family.  I know that just as we begin to make progress on one social issue another one seems to get out of whack.  Despite all the technological progress that we make, we only seem to magnify the negatives in the world.  Don’t give up hope, and stay involved, the best is yet to come………..

2 comments:

  1. It is called a proper rearing by parents and grand parents that care enough to instill, manners, respect and most importantly curiosity! As I know you it is obvious you had a good start on your journey!!

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  2. My maternal grandmother was as strict as anyone I've ever known (bordering on mean). Yet when she hugged me my world seemed much safer and bearable. She didn't do much hugging, but it carried great value because you knew that you were special and almost unique if you were in her good graces. Unlikely as it may seem from her I learned the value of love and tenderness.

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