There is an old African Proverb that reads, “if a child doesn’t receive love from their village, they will burn it down in order to feel it’s warmth.” I’ve often wondered what happens to the loveless child. I wondered until I became one. Thus, the word became. Once upon a time, I had the love of a family member. Today, the love that was poured into me flows through my veins and not only continues to nourish me, but also those that I encounter. If my soul had a name, it would call itself love. Love is the thing that keeps me longing, believing, and pushing. Love. As I have written about on more than one occasion, I am quite proud to be an Educator. I’m not quite sure if I’ve ever said this, but I actually went to school to become an attorney. As a child, I wanted to change the world. At the very least, I wanted to make life better for people that looked like me because their lives always seemed so hard. As I began my study of law, I realized that that as an attorney, more than often, I would be reactive more than I could ever have been proactive. Therefore, I chose to become an educator. I found my calling, and the students that I serve, and have served, needed to hear my call. When I began teaching, the world was a very different place. It seemed, as I stated last week, that there was room enough for all of us. Today, the world seems very different. Honestly, I feel as though we’re going backwards in the name of progress. I’m both afraid and hopeful. I’m afraid that it’s too late, and I’m hopeful that it’s not. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with some of my colleagues about the challenges that urban students are facing today. Tragically, more than one of them refrained from speaking the truth because they were afraid of committing professional suicide. Professional suicide. Professional suicide, for the minority, means that your truths will inevitably compromise your comforts. Professional suicide means that your integrity is clearly less valuable than your title. Professional suicide, in my opinion, means that you actually are willing to stand for something while those around you may be well dressed, but their knees are more comfortable with the floor than their truths. I have not, cannot, and will not ever fear being guilty of committing professional suicide. To me, the antithesis of the fear of professional suicide is the silent willingness to commit spiritual and communal genocide. The community to which I belong is suffering, and those that should be leading are merely following while being called leader. There is nothing valiant or honorable about the silence that you maintain in the face of the destruction of your own kind. Nothing. In fact, when we were children we were told to be leaders rather than followers. As an adult, I’m constantly reminded that it’s better to be a follower than a leader. Me, I choose to lead anyway. No matter who you are, tell the truth, for there is nothing to fear. No matter who you love, tell the truth, for there is nothing to fear. No matter what you want your life to be, tell the truth, for there is nothing to fear. There is nothing to fear. There is everything is fear. You should fear nothing when you are completely committed to being the best version of yourself, for the world will never forget you. You should fear everything when you are completely committed to being a common grain of sand on an overly populated beach, for the world will never remember you. Live as you. Love as you. Stand as you. Be you. Patrick
As always, this week, please do something for someone else other than yourself for no other reason than to make their lives better. Also, if you get to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always Choose Love.