New Things Are Welcome!

exceptional education

Happy Friday, Y’all! All, Y’all!

It’s the end of the first month of a New Year, too! I am just glad that I am still around to talk about it … and enjoy it! I mean, it seems every time you turn on the news, listen to the radio even, somebody is robbing a bank, breaking into a house … or killing somebody! Just a few days ago, there was a story on about a teenager in a neighborhood in Miami who went across the street from where he lives after school. He came home shot in the arm … by a friend. When the investigation was being conducted by the police, nobody would talk. They couldn’t find the gun either. There was a brief excerpt on the news of the boy’s mother crying, even though her son was still alive, asking the kids to put down the guns. “Make friends, do something but put the guns down!”, she bellowed!

There was another story on about a 17 year old who is the leader of a “gang” in Broward County that knocked on doors during the day while folks are working, and, if no one answers, they would kick the door in, steal everything they can … even car keys … and come back later and steal the car! Yes, 17 … kicking in doors … robbing others … WAS their “job”! All of them are locked up now in Broward County Jail. Of course, as a person who studied sociology, I know that the average person needs to feel a part of something … anything … even a gang!!! And, during tough times, it has been seen time and time again … that folks will NOT lay down and die. Yet, I think it is time for some folks to try new things. I know it gets rough … As we used to say back in the day, “Who you tellin’?!!” Yet, each day, I thank my Creator FIRST for waking me up, develop an “attitude of gratitude” and I am ready to begin my day. I am even ready to try something new … different even … that makes a positive difference in the world! If only in my own “world” . . .

Recently, though you all know my approach to things in general, I have been more open to asking for advice and “help”, and even good ideas from others. I don’t have a problem distinguishing good ideas from unhealthy ones today, and I always make an effort to be cordial … even when others don’t seem to appreciate it. It is NOT for them that I remain kind … they don’t understand that … it is for ME! I want to be the “best that I can be”! We each have a choice to be whatever we want to be … within reason. I try to keep my existence humble, sincere and honest. I don’t have a need to lie to anyone today … about my age, my work (back in Quality Assurance!) and my past. I will tell you more about my beliefs today, rather, and tell you even more about what I hope for the future. You see, that is MY road map … so I don’t get lost along the way. Something I saw in my horoscope recently was that “asking for advice is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of being smart”. So if you know of someone who might be interested in my “work” … or something that I can do better or different, give me a holler!

Those of you who know me may know that I have experienced a lot in my life … and I am still here. I have been in some of the roughest neighborhoods of New York City … Cali, Colombia … Madrid, Spain … and I am still here. I have been to a private boarding school … on academic scholarship … to an Ivy League University … also on work/study/scholarship … and graduated. Some folks tell me that I should have more “things” or live more luxuriously … even more comfortably, which I agree with … but I am not going to be a liar, a cheat, a phony and a thief to get those “things” that folks think I should have!! And, those of you who know me know to tread softly when you try to “put me down”. If you need it, I can give you a “piece of my mind”, as my Momma used to say! I prefer being nice, though I know how to be firm and keep negative energy out of my face … if only by walking away!!!

Sunday is the beginning of Black History Month, and there are a lot of festivities planned. So far, I have one talk planned at a church in Miami on the subject of “African Americans and Spirituality”. If you know of anyone that needs a speaker, let me know, like my friend Solveig did for me at Parkway Middle School. I mean, that’s how most people get started … and definitely how others continue getting opportunities. Most people think that “fighting fire with fire” is the best way to handle challenges. Think about the analogy … fire with fire … burning every darn thing down!! I choose … today … to fight with peace and love … and if necessary, by avoiding the negativity that looms everywhere. I don’t let it inside of me. I remember when I used to, I was only setting myself up for failure, frustration and problems. We live … and we learn.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the Super Bowl, which I usually watched at “Petey’s” house (RIP), and get ready for Black History Month!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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