Earn the sacrifice of your ancestors

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By: Ms. @NewsWitAttitude

We do it for our New Year’s Resolutions, we do it when a shocking death rocks the nation, and we do it when experiencing a personal health crisis or when something hits “too close to home” — we vow to ourselves that we are going to “live our best lives” and “make every moment count,” and we try to stick to our “new ways” for a while before falling back into our old patterns.

Why must tragedy strike in order for us to “get it?” Why is it so hard for us to realize that EVERY DAY we wake up above ground and not below it, we must LIVE LIFE WITH PURPOSE!

HOW we live in this world and whose lives we impact along the way matters; not how much money we make, how cute our “baby hair” is, what cars we drive and how fat our backsides are.

I hate to slap a few of you in the face – nah, I quite enjoy it sometimes — but some of the things you are foolishly patting yourselves on the back for (like how many followers you have on Instagram) mean absolutely NOTHING to the people you think you are impressing.

My favorite poem as a child was about a man named Richard Cory, a rich man whom people admired. The poem began,

“Whenever Richard Cory went downtown,

We people on the pavement looked at him:

He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean favored, and imperially slim.”

What left my 5th grade mind in a daze was the end of the poem. After speaking about how rich Cory was, in fact it said he was “richer than a king,” the poem ends by telling us,

“And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head.”

What in the hell? I mean, how could the man who had everything kill himself? Because riches do not equate to happiness. All rich people are not singing and dancing every night and not all poor people are singing the blues.

Think about our ancestors, enslaved Africans who endured unimaginable torture and abuse, but learned to turn scraps into soul food, became medicine men and women by learning how to mend the lashes on their own backs and who figured out the North Star was a path to freedom. Our ancestors turned pockets of New York into a Harlem Renaissance, a preacher-led bus boycott into a civil rights movement, and a street hustler into one of the most “by any means necessary” prolific leaders of all time.

How do we repay their sacrifices? By sagging our pants, beefing on social media, throwing subliminal slugs in online memes and crying every five minutes that someone is “hating” on us?

What about giving back? What about volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting your elderly loved ones and cutting the grass, cleaning out the garage or just spending a day with them to listen to them “talk for a spell.” Have you really paid attention to the kids in your neighborhood? Do you know their names? If some of you got to know the children around you, actually practicing the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality, Little Johnny from next door might be inspired to do something positive instead of climbing through your window when you are away, and ultimately, becoming another spin number in the INJUSTICE system.

Fathers, train your sons. Mothers, groom your daughters. Parents, LOVE your children and the kids around you who need love, too.

Blessings truly come to those who bless others. Stop talking about it or bragging about it, and actually BE about it. A little bit goes a long way. Your ancestors paved the way for you to have a better life. Make them proud. EARN their sacrifice.