Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Toya Graham

Toya Graham is my shero not because she checked her son during the Baltimore uprising, but because it is clear to me that that was not the first time she had exercised her parental authority. If that were so, the whole world would have known it. How? By his reaction.

I watched him very carefully as she muffed him. That 15 year old boy is at least four inches taller than her; she had to reach up to land one upside his head. He could have hit her in the top of her head, pushed her down, or broke away running. He did not. He tried to block her blows, an automatic defense response, but that’s all. Parents in communities all over America have been murdered by their children for far less than a swack upside the head.

Her son's response tells me that Ms. Graham has always been on her parent-square. She has been disciplining him in some way or the other since he was able to defiantly tell her “No!” in his terrible twos. She's been training him to be a good citizen of the world since day one, even if he's not quite there yet. I’ll bet money on that. If that were not the case, I guarantee you that we would have seen something quite different in that video.

A few days later I watched their World News Tonight interview -- the embarrassed son and the mothers’ mother. He was properly chagrined. She was calm and poised and unapologetic. And I saw a family sharing with the world the love that they have for one another, albeit with a new understanding of its parameters.

No, that was not the first time Toya Graham corrected her son. And while I doubt that swatting is her only form of discipline, what I do know is what we all now know about the Graham family -- who the parent is in that home. 

Would to God we could say that for every household in America.

Happy Mother's Day,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Finish Strong

We all laughed at the video of the runner who began to encourage the crowd to cheer his impending victory…slowed his pace…and was beaten by the guy in second place who kept pushing to the end. He was the 21st century edition of the tortoise and the hare. You know the story: Hot-Air-Hare took off running and being so far ahead of his opponent, decided to stop for a nap. Steady-Freddy Tortoise did not change his pace or break his focus. And crept right past Hot-Air to the finish line.

Yes, I laughed but I also took heed. It ain’t over til it’s over. Whatever it took to get here, is what it will take to get There. So I’m praying for myself. For grace to finish. That I won’t be distracted by a good report or a bad one or no report at all. That I don’t change my pace just because I can see the finish line. That neither my focus nor my resolve is broken by presumption or assumption. That I finish strong. Period.  

I believe in celebrating small victories along the way, but when you’re in the final lap the only thing that really counts is when you break that tape.

Press on,