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Fee for Service

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Aside from the fact that I absolutely ADORE this picture and needed an excuse to use it, I wanted to share a thought or two in re fee for services, and more specifically some recent experiences I’ve had at school.

I enjoy services – massages, great food at a restaurant, a nice day at the salon. The more I pay for the service, the greater the expectation. For me, school is NO different! College is expensive so I have no intentions of paying any institution and subsequently any professor and not getting ALL that I can get from the experience.

Earlier this week I encountered two peers who made me think of this more. One who told me he did not want to go to class – sure enough he didn’t show up. And another who told me he has NO intentions of reading anything that we will not be included on an exam. This same student alluded to the fact that he will garner resources from other students and asked if I’d be willing to help. Wow! I didn’t ask too many questions, but by his request in the next class to have someone summarize what the readings were about I am assuming that he is prepared to lean as heavily on others as needed/convenient. Let me pause here to say that I fully acknowledge that there will be times when I just won’t get to all the assigned readings – for one reason or another – and times when I will have an emergency or conflict that will require me to miss class(es), but to voluntarily do any of the aforementioned at this early stage in the game seems inconceivable. I just don’t understand paying thousands of dollars to goof off. To me that’s like paying $100 for a meal and then throwing it in the thrash. I expect my professors to attend every class and teach the full time, with very few exceptions. And in return, I plan to read as much as I possibly can … ask all the questions I need and want to … send all the emails and have all the one-on-one meetings I need it. I am paying for it! Let me also say that I value community – even in the formal learning environment – I think it’s necessary. BUT I will not do anyone else’s work or let them mooch off of my work. Finally, while I anticipate and will work towards having good – no, great – grades, this IS an experience for me. I want to get every single drop that I can. Not only because I enjoy learning, feel this is a part of my divine journey, but because I AM PAYING FOR IT!!!!

 

 

This Marriage Is …

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On Saturday, I joined many others in celebrating the nuptials of a very dear friend. Not only was I honored to be an intimate part of the wedding experience, but I am overjoyed for my friend.

My happiness/joy is not limited to the fact that she is an amazingly wonderful woman; a woman of great character and integrity; a hard worker and noble community member. She gives of her time and talents almost effortlessly, juggling multiple commitments – but always honoring her word (which I value greatly). I wasn’t overjoyed exclusively because I’ve gotten to know her husband and respect him – as a man who not only loves his wife, but adores her, seeks to protect and provide for her and make her happy in every way imaginable. I was and am elated because I see two amazing people who are forces to be reckoned with as individuals, so I cannot begin to imagine what they will accomplish together. Yes, this was and remains the core source of my joy!

A few months ago I was talking with an unofficial mentor about the subject and my perspective on the purpose of marriage. I explained to her that for me a marriage has to be about more than love, it has to be about a divine, shared purpose and mission. I know how much my emotions fluctuate within the course of a day, so to base a lifelong decision on emotion alone just doesn’t make sense to me (although it may to everyone else ~ I’m okay with that J). She replied “that’s a tall order for a marriage,” but for me there are no other alternatives.

Saturday was one of the happiest days of my life – to be a part of such a beautiful wedding, but also to see two people joined together in divine purpose and positioning. I am so excited about all that is to come from their union. This post is dedicated to the Andrews J.

Unpacking My Suitcase

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Photo: Bedroom – Condo Rental, New Orleans Louisiana 

This past weekend I didn’t feel my usual motivation to blog. Perhaps and very likely, it was my feeling of being completely overwhelmed by my new schedule and juggling some added one-time events simultaneously. I decided to just relax and wait for something to “come to me.” Sure enough in class today a chord was struck. As the teacher’s assistant was discussing several recommend readings – many of my favorite books in African and African American history and what many consider to be absolute must-reads – I thought about packing and unpacking.

About three years ago as I prepared to move, I packed up some of my most valuable and treasured assets – my books. For anyone who knows me, you know I absolutely ADORE books and read obsessively, so the fact that I willingly packed up my books speaks volumes to the place I was at that time or expectations I had around how long they would be packed away, but that’s a discussion for another post J. I packed up my books and could not see or revisit them easily because they were in storage. Why would I put away something so valuable and necessary to my life vs. making sure I made room for it in my new space? Today in class I began to think about the parallels with my life. How often do I pack things away and make them inaccessible when they really are parts of my core being; critical lessons I have learned along the way that I NEED to keep in front of me; tricks of the trade that I need to revisit often as a gentle reminder of my path and purpose?

Over the next few weeks I will be unpacking my books as I have also spent the last few months unpacking critical parts of my life: revisiting important lessons, remembering my purpose, dreams and vision for my life, refocusing my time and talents. The very thought of unpacking my books excites me – the very thought of refocusing my purpose keeps me up at night with excitement and anticipation. Have you ever packed away a part of your life that you really needed to have in front of you at all times – just in case? What lessons do you have to continually revisit? What things have you put deep in storage that you need to take out?

A word on another very real life current event: I don’t quite know where to begin, but let me try by saying that for many it is no secret that Morris Brown College has been in the news – most often unfavorably – for over a decade now. I stand with thousands who are both heartbroken and outraged by this situation. In spite of my – or anyone else’s – thoughts on fiscal responsibility (a topic that I am by no means an expert), I do have a few things to say. When I mention my suitcase, I HAVE to acknowledge that I came to Morris Brown with an overnight bag of sorts. However, I left with enough items in my figurative luggage to fill a small plane. It was at Morris Brown that my instructors were more than professors – they became like family. Many conversations took place outside the classroom in the hallways and after hours at the library or some other shared space. Although this has not always worked in our favor, I am proud to say at MBC staff members recognized that every person deserves the right to a quality education. Because of this deeply ingrained culture and belief, I saw more students helped than I ever have – staff worked hard and explored options for educational funding down to the last drop. I am not sure where this myth started, but there seemed to be a belief that we were at MBC just hanging out. I can assure you first hand that we had the same caliber of students I have continued to encounter at every other institution I have attended, including where I am now: a hodgepodge of students who graduated at the top of their high school classes, students who were gifted in other areas and only average in academics and those who came to college unsure of what they wanted to do or why they were there. And I can assure you that MBC produced the same caliber of professional, educated, and diverse, movers and shakers as institutions of higher learning across this country!!! I would be remise if I do not continuously mention that I am the person I am today in part because of all the love, mentoring, formal and informal education, support and encouragement I received at MBC. There are few that can attest to the culture of love and family we experienced … I continue to await the restoration of that great institution. Without it my suitcase would be quite empty.

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