Tag Archives: education

Poverty is More than a Mind Thing!

While doing research on building my business recently, I came across something that may help the masses of people, especially those of the African American experience who have been dumbed down, discouraged, depressed, despondent, and disappointed in trying to fulfill their potential. This is a short phrase from a business family, but mighty powerful:

“If you want to go fast, go alone… if you want to go far, go together” (Joel & Julie Landi of The Performance Group)

I was raised by a very determined woman. She had a husband, but sometimes things just don’t work out, and a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

Not many people around gave me much of a chance. I was smaller than many boys around me; had a speech impediment (stuttered and stammered); was made fun of; developed a very low self-esteem (whatever that is!); and began growing into a very angry young man on the inside while I tried to smile on the outside.  There is quite a story behind why I smile so often now, and have dedicated my life to help others.

By the time I was 11, my mother had become one of those very dedicated Christians. She was the daughter of a church planter and minister, but negative circumstances had affected her desire to be really serious about becoming a committed Christian. Coupled with her own personal powerhouse of determination to succeed, she constantly brought sunshine into what I thought was a strong poverty life. One day, she grew weary of my negative and “Woe is me!” attitude.  I had made the word “can’t” my daily diet.  I used to smile as a baby and young child, but over time, hurts from family members, school acquaintances, and being laughed at by others had crushed me—my smile left and I was a depressed sight.  I had said “I can’t” once too often that day.  My mom glared at me with those sharp black eyes surrounded by her long black hair sat atop a very diminutive body.  “That’s it!” she cried.  I had heard her sharp tongue much of my life, but this was different.  It was as if God himself was thundering at me.

“The word ‘can’t’ will no longer be used in this house!” she continued.  “You CAN read better!  You CAN speak better.  You CAN do better!” she thundered.  “I don’t ever want you to use the word ‘can’t again.  Do you hear me!”  Her thundering voice was so strong I was sure the entire neighborhood heard from our basement living conditions.  “Beginning today, you WILL smile!  Beginning today, you WILL believe in yourself!  Beginning today, you WILL read to me out loud and speak better!”

My mom spoke with such force, I was convinced that she and God must have become very connected!  My eyes opened wide; fear gripped my soul.  However, that day was a turning point in my life of thinking we would always be in poverty.  Of course, my mom NEVER considered us poor, even when we had to share an outhouse with the local pimps, prostitutes, drunks and others in a place where we used to live. She often worked two jobs, and even found time to take me to work in the agricultural fields wherever we lived.  We were seldom broke.  She would wash twice or more times a week to keep my few clothes cleaned and pressed.  And, we seldom missed a meal.  But, I would look at others and what they had, and often despised what my mom worked hard to provide for the two of us.

That very day of the thundering, my mom began me reading out loud to her.  Every morning she would check to see if I was smiling.  If not, I had to quickly put on a smile!  I went to church with her, became active in local and church youth programs, and slowly began to grow beyond my mind of poverty-thinking.

My speaking gradually improved.  I began to dream again.  Against odds, I finished college with several degrees, and was blessed to have had a wife who has stayed with me since 1965.  We have five grown children successful in their own right, 14 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  I am NOT rich—yet, but I have had the experience of working and learning from over 19 different industries!  This experience has helped me to become a consultant to politicians, ministers, business people, and to community organizations, helping others to dream, and find their niche in life.  Now, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face and looking forward to helping someone else, or making a positive difference in some organization or community.

This entire journey of mine could not have been as successful as it has been if I would have had to walk my journey alone.  Preachers, pastors, teachers, street people, business people, family members, and associates have helped me come this far in life—by being willing to go on the journey together—with others.

 

THE SHADOWS IN OUR GOVERNMENT

If you want to get a glimpse of how our lives are being controlled and watched, and how some people have their lives manipulated and then murdered when the controllers are no longer afraid of being discovered, you have got to watch “Eagle Eye,” and “Enemy of the State.”

I know of a young man who just wanted to help people and help America.  Unfortunately, he began to discover the dirty secrets of some of the bureaucrats, and thought he could uncover them and clean up some of the messes they were heaping on people they controlled.  He was wrong.

When he found out how some of those in the teacher’s unions and in the high echelons of public education were using their power for their own benefit, he became frustrated and thought he could clean up their messes, and possibly get them to do right, or at least get them out of education, he was wrong.

He found out some information on how many students and their parents in public education were being manipulating by those people who were supposed to be helping the education system, but instead were just using their positions to line their own pockets.  When a group of educators were going to do something very underhanded and pull the eyes over the public in a so-called public meeting, this young man and some of his friends passed the word.  Many of those who became aware chained and locked themselves to the front door of the place where a certain school board was going to take some actions to benefit themselves, but jeopardize the education of students for many years in the future.  They informed parents of the private agenda that would be covered up in a public meeting with words and a plan that the public would not understand.  Once the media got ahold of that information and heard about parents and others chaining and locking themselves to the front door of this meeting place, the private agenda was discovered and the perpetrators of damage to the education of children was discovered.  Thankfully, the young man was not there, but some of the educators figured out he may have been one of the leaders who set off the alarm to wake up the parents and the public.

Later, this young man discovered how the poor were being mistreated in a county hospital.  Poor people were allowed to die while waiting to get medical assistance.  Some patients passed out on the floor while the medical staff just walked around them.  The blood-stained walls and dirty floors did not help with the healing of the wounded.  The hospital board was lax with supervision of the staff while poor people waited far too long to get help.  Some of the medical staff wanted to do something, but they also wanted to keep their jobs.  This young man’s friends were able to convince some of the staff to get statistics on patient care and length of time waiting long before other investigators uncovered the horrors of what was also happening in some of the veteran hospitals.

Thankfully, some of the medical staff had a conscience and higher morality than did some of their supervisors drawing huge salaries.  Pictures were secretly taken.  Information on patients were copied and given to undercover community people wanting improvements in their county hospitals.  Soon, the media had pictures and other evidence on the mistreatment and mismanagement of the county hospitals.  Questions were asked.  Some management staff were fired.  The hospital board was embarrassed.  But, care for the poor was greatly improved.  The wait time was shortened.  The floors were clean.  The ugly pale green walls were painted with lively, pastel colors.  Now, the poor people didn’t fear coming to the county hospital to get care and didn’t have to worry about getting sicker, or dying.

No one knew about the young man and he grew bolder in trying to solve other problems in his community.  He networked with others who wanted to see improvement in education, in health care, in community policing, and in other public services.  But soon, somehow the young man’s identity became known to people in the community whose pocketbooks were being negatively affected by the improvements in the community.  Many ethnic groups began to stop fighting each other over the crumbs thrown at them by the governmental officials and the bureaucrats.  They began to unite against a common enemy and discovered as long as they fought among themselves, many of the rich grew richer at the benefit of cutting back on needed services by the poor and the middle class.  However, the young man began to be seen in too many places where improvements in the community were taking place.  Somebody told some powerful people, and the young man became a target!

This young man’s friends were able to convince some of the staff to get statistics on patient care and length of time waiting long before other investigators uncovered the horrors of what was also happening in some of the veteran hospitals.  Thankfully, some of the medical staff had a conscience and higher morality than did some of their supervisors drawing huge salaries.  Pictures were secretly taken.  Information on patients were copied and given to undercover community people wanting improvements in their county hospitals.

Soon, the media had pictures and other evidence on the mistreatment and mismanagement of the county hospitals.  Questions were asked.  Some management staff were fired.  The hospital board was embarrassed.  But, care for the poor was greatly improved.  The wait time was shortened.  The floors were clean.  The ugly pale green walls were painted with lively, pastel colors.  Now, the poor people didn’t fear coming to the county hospital to get care and didn’t have to worry about getting sicker, or dying.

No one knew about the young man and he grew bolder in trying to solve other problems in his community.  He networked with others who wanted to see improvement in education, in health care, in community policing, and in other public services.  But soon, somehow the young man’s identity became known to people in the community whose pocketbooks were being negatively affected by the improvements in the community.  Many ethnic groups began to stop fighting each other over the crumbs thrown at them by the governmental officials and the bureaucrats.  They began to unite against a common enemy and discovered as long as they fought among themselves, many of the rich grew richer at the benefit of cutting back on needed services by the poor and the middle class.  However, the young man began to be seen in too many places where improvements in the community were taking place.  Somebody told some powerful people, and the young man became a target!

Soon, the media had pictures and other evidence on the mistreatment and mismanagement of the county hospitals.  Questions were asked.  Some management staff were fired.  The hospital board was embarrassed.  But, care for the poor was greatly improved.  The wait time was shortened.  The floors were clean.  The ugly pale green walls were painted with lively, pastel colors.  Now, the poor people didn’t fear coming to the county hospital to get care and didn’t have to worry about getting sicker, or dying.

No one knew about the young man and he grew bolder in trying to solve other problems in his community.  He networked with others who wanted to see improvement in education, in health care, in community policing, and in other public services.  But soon, somehow the young man’s identity became known to people in the community whose pocketbooks were being negatively affected by the improvements in the community.  Many ethnic groups began to stop fighting each other over the crumbs thrown at them by the governmental officials and the bureaucrats.  They began to unite against a common enemy and discovered as long as they fought among themselves, many of the rich grew richer at the benefit of cutting back on needed services by the poor and the middle class.  However, the young man began to be seen in too many places where improvements in the community were taking place.  Somebody told some powerful people, and the young man became a target!

Thankfully, one of the respected community leaders who was somewhat respected (and maybe even used) by the powerful in the shadows of government wanted to help the young man.  They warned this leader that he better put better controls on the young man before he became wifeless and childless.  The community leader sent for the young man and told him to get out of town quickly in order to save the lives of his family.  Thankfully, the young man left, went under cover and traveled over 2,000 miles away to a new state where he tried to be quiet.  But, he began to see the same pattern in this new state and grew angry.

The young man began to quietly help the hurting and the unfortunate.  But, his good deeds caused some to speculate and pass the word that he was just using disadvantaged people so he could win their confidence and possibly run for mayor.  When one of the community leaders shoved this bit of information on the young man, he was shocked!  He just wanted to help.  But, the gossip had been spread around the community.  They were told the young man had a private agenda and needed the help of the masses within the community to think he really cared about them, but to not trust him.

The young man began to tone down his enthusiasm for helping the poor and the middle class.  He came under the watchful eye of the so-called power brokers of the city.  They wondered if he could be turned to be a good guy that they could use, but he soon uncovered some of their dirty linen of using beautiful welfare women as their personal “call girls.”  He didn’t go looking for this; it fell into his lap, or rather was shared by phone with one of the “call girls” who just wanted out and thought that maybe, he could be the one to help.  But, those who controlled her became mean.

When the young man heard the story of this young woman, he was shocked, mad, and angry.  Since he had some “street smarts,” he knew of one tactic to get rid of the politicians, judges, police, and bureaucrats involved in this network of using welfare women for their own private pleasure.  When he heard the story of the young lady, he told some other trusted others.  They, too, were incensed.  One elderly woman had a feeling such was going on, but she also knew that it would not be wise to put a stick in a den of rattlesnakes!  She warned the young man; he didn’t listen.  He began talking to others and gathering information.  The young woman told him that whenever someone tried to blow the whistle on this network of using welfare women for pleasure, they came up missing, or had their children taken away from them—forever.  The young man made plans to take some women and meet the young woman with the information.

This event would turn tragic for the young woman and for the young man.  The young man called the young woman on the phone one next day after she had given him some crucial information.  The phone was turned off.  When some of the friends of the young man went to the address of the young woman, her apartment was cleaned out.  No one knew of her whereabouts.  She had just disappeared—along with her children.  They were never found, at least not by the young man or any of his friends.  However, the young man thought that he had enough evidence to take on the fight alone—he would be seriously mistaken.

Before the young man could complete his investigation against a judge and a top welfare bureaucrat, a charge was brought against the child care center he had developed and was being run by his mother and wonderful church friends.  This child care center had done so well that state politicians had visited and commented that this child care center was the second-best child care center in the entire state.  It started when a relative of the young man’s mother grew weary of watching the children of the young man’s sister.  The young man’s mother had talked the relative into watching the children while they attended a church convention in another state.

The young man’s mother promised to pay the relative whatever other money was needed beyond what the children’s mother had left.  The young man’s mother had no idea that this relative would get so angry at not hearing from the mother, whom she hated, that she called—yep!  She called the child welfare people.  She called the very people that the young man was investigating for using welfare women as their special “call girls” for themselves and their other political and bureaucratic friends from out-of-town.  This would lead to some serious consequences for the young man, and for his mother.  As soon as the child welfare children picked up the children from this relative and connected them to the drug-using mother, and connected her to the mother of the young man, they jumped for joy and began a very vicious smear campaign.

The charge began to circulate into the community before the young man knew what was happening.  When he found out, he was incensed that some of his close friends would even believe such a horrible thing.  The gossip was that members of his family, especially his mother, had been molesting the children.  While the young man worked to prove that they had so many checks and balances that no child was ever alone with an adult without another adults or college volunteer present.  Little by little, parents began withdrawing their children.  The income of the child care center dropped off severely.  Then the state removed the child care license while they did their investigation.  Every parent then pulled their children out while the young man pleaded that the rumors were false because he was trying to go after some key people doing misdeeds in the city. He was not believed.  His family hired an attorney.

At first the attorney thought these people were just goody-two-shoe people.  He had heard of their good deeds done by their church, and about this certain young man involved with the church and with the child care center.  He took their thousands of dollars for a retainer, but didn’t really think that he would help them much.  Until he investigated them and their good works in the community with children, with youth, with families, with the poor, and with senior citizens.  He could not believe that this kind of people even existed—helping others without a private agenda.  They didn’t even try to get those they helped into their church!  Sometimes, the young man was even recommending another church that he thought could better serve someone when they became interested in developing their faith.  Being good just for the sake of being good?  The attorney became interested in their case—until he discovered who might be involved.

The attorney called the young man and his parents in, and told them to drop the case.  The young man was angry.  Those thousands of dollars were hard to come by.  But, the attorney told them why they would lose if he persisted in getting to the bottom of the rumor.  Some of those connected with child welfare and possibly involved in the “call girl” operation were very high up.  The best the attorney could do would be to have the young man look like he was working with the authorities for a show to the community—he would have to fire the director of the child care center.  The director was his mother!

The young man’s mother had already sensed what was going to happen.  When the investigators could not prove child molestation among the child care children, they found something within the young man’s family.  His sister and brother had both had run-ins with the law.  And, the sister was involved with a husband who had a shady background.  Sometimes, the young man’s mother babysat for this sister who also had a drug problem.  The authorities got to the grandchildren and showed them pictures and gestures using dolls, asking if the grandmother ever touched them here, here, and there.  They asked if she ever hugged them tight, or put them in her lap.  The little children didn’t understand the questions, but said what the authorities wanted to hear.  They were behind the state taking the child care license of the child care center run by the mother of the young man.  They could smell blood in the air.  The attorney also smelled them!

The attorney told the young man that he could get the state license back and that their friends and parents would return.  Even some members of the church had left the church for fear of losing their jobs and their prestige in the community.  The young man didn’t have a Plan B.  He was desperate.  The university where he had worked had just laid him off the same day that the state shut down the child care center.  This happened while he was on vacation!

The attorney arranged a meeting with the state authorities and the young man.  Their plan would be to give the license back while there was an investigation, but the young man had to concede something.  With a Plan B and no income from his job, the young man was desperate.  The state officials would return the license on one condition—he would have to fire his mother!  The mother had warned the young man that the state would do that, but the young man was desperate.  He told his mother of the plan, and assured her that if she would agree to being fired, and after the children and parents returned, he would get with the attorney and sue the state and the local officials for a false rumor.

The mother almost begged the young man not to do such, but he was broke and desperate.  He made a decision that would haunt him for the rest of his life.  He called a board meeting, explained the situation and openly fired his mother.  He didn’t know it, but she almost died.  How could my own flesh and blood do this?  She thought.  She remembered the story of Jesus and Judas.  It seemed that her own son, the one who had spent years fighting for justice for the disadvantaged had become Judas.  She quietly went to where she stayed, thinking that her heart would stop.  She cried.  She sobbed.  She prayed.  But, she still felt betrayed.

The young man felt bad, but the license came back to the child care center.  The young man was overjoyed!  He called the parents, but none wanted to return.  He called those who had left the church, but they weren’t interested in returning.  He then went to his attorney and almost bawled like a baby.  He had never felt so low in his life.  But, he thought if the authorities arrested his mother, he and the attorney would get her out quickly because she had a history of a bad heart.  Then he would sue the pants off all those involved.  The attorney was not interested.  He said something to the affect that “If those who left you and are your REAL friends, they will believe you, return, and support you!”  However, no one returned.

Later, the young man apologized to his mother but the damage had been done.  The gossip went out that she must have been guilt of molesting children because her own son fired her!  This was not the script the young man had in mind.  The attorney was through with the case, especially after he discovered that some of his friends who put him through law school were involved and in the crosshairs of this young man.  He didn’t like what his friends were doing, but they had helped him to have a very successful career.  The young man left his office…his head was bent over; his shoulders were drooped; he walked very slowly.  He wondered if this was the way Judas felt after he betrayed Jesus.  But, he remembered that Peter had also somewhat betrayed Jesus by lying that he didn’t know him, but Peter repented to Jesus and had a good ending.  However, the young man was NOT Peter the Apostle, and his mother was very human—she was NOT Jesus.

While thinking of a Plan B (and trying to mend the fence between his mother), the attorney called him and his parents into his office.  He looked shaken.  His face was pale under his brown skin.  His eyes were sunken.  Something was definitely wrong.  He told the young man’s parents to get him out of town quickly.  When they asked why, the attorney said, “Your son is going to be killed!”  Now the young man sat up.  He spoke out.  “Great! He said.  “If I am killed, the FBI will be involved and they will help find out how to clear our name, and help take down the judge and the others involved!”  The attorney turned to him and said, “YOU don’t understand.  They will have you killed in a drive-by shooting and the authorities won’t take time to investigate anything.  You have to get out of town with your family!”

Before the young man could say another word, his mother told him to shut up.  She was still somewhat angry at him because he didn’t see the larger picture.  He had played into the hands of his enemies.  To avoid more pain to her heart, she told the attorney that the family and friends that were left would get the money and her son out of town.  He had been offered another opportunity in another state, but had been reluctant to leave due to the mess he had created by his involvement in trying to take down a judge and some very high-ranking officials.  The son dropped his head.  He felt like a dog with his tail between his legs.  He felt like he was running away from the troubles while his mother would have to take the heat of the gossip.

The young man did get away safely.  A bomb was placed at the site of the church and the child care center, but it didn’t go off.  The FBI did get involved then, but claimed that they wanted to talk to a material witness to the case, but told the media that they didn’t know where this young man had gone.  Really?  The FBI could not find the young man who left a fairly good trail by renting a moving trailer and telling the rental place where he was going?  Really?  Case dropped for lack of evidence.

The young man and his family moved away and they are alive today.  His children are grown and his wife has stayed with him.  However, he could not keep his mouth shut and got fairly run out of the town where he moved to when he ran for the school board and began to uncover some dirt around his opponent who controlled the high school where his daughter went to school.

Some people just don’t believe in stopping when they are told: “You can’t fight city hall!”  He is proof that you can fight those in high places, but it is best to have a united army of fighters who will fight with you, unafraid of consequences.  And, there will always be consequences against whistle-blowers and those who try to uncover the dirt of those hiding in the shadows of our government, using their power to profit themselves while the poor, the middle class, and those seemingly without power suffer from their actions.

But, wait!  Donald Trump has had a whole lot of dirt on him, but he just shook it off.  When he ran for the presidency of the United States, many laughed at him, thinking that no one can rise above the crowd when they are proven to be somewhat less than honest and/or pure.  But, guess who is laughing now?  Plus, those in high places with a whole lot more dirt on them are beginning to run scared.  Donald Trump is now the President of the United States, and doesn’t seem to be afraid of saying whatever he wants to say, without fear of those powerful people with dirt all over them hiding in the shadows of the government.  Who knows?  The little people who are poor, middle class, and/or disadvantaged may become an army and speak out against the wrongs of the rich and powerful, and work with President Trump and those they don’t like if those they don’t like are trying to do something good—like put the light on those hiding in the shadows of the government!