Letter to Your Younger Self

A portion of the Greatest Commandment is for us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we read the statement again, we will see that the assumption Jesus is making is that we already love ourselves. On some level that is most certainly true for each of us. On another level, however, we can observe when people don’t love themselves well. This is evident when a person can’t cultivate or maintain healthy or long-lasting relationships, or if they struggle with honesty. It may be observed by a person who is a gossiper, or someone who constantly compares themselves to others. If we canvas the world of entertainment and celebrity, this self-loathing is apparent when people are constantly changing, monitoring their appearance, or getting surgeries to make themselves be something they are not. And there we observe. We cannot love what we don’t see, and we must learn to see beyond the physical or what is only evident on the outside.

If we really want to love ourselves, we must regularly take inventory of our inner person—what is happening in the innermost parts of our minds and hearts, and how God is shaping and changing us through time and space. Self-reflection is an important leadership practice. It is also a means of monitoring our course—whether or not we maintain focus and continue in the pursuit of our lives’ purpose. Personal reflection is a discipline to cultivate because it also brings us to a place of thanksgiving and causes us to glorify God.

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How Children Learn Who’s In and Who’s Out

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Racism. Racial languages. Systemic injustices and our kids.

When I was a girl growing up in South Carolina, my young sister and I had several friends we would play with at school, through our extra-curricular activities, on our sports teams, and even in our home. Even though we grew up in a predominately African American culture, we were exposed to different people groups. We were taught to love and welcome everybody, so we were not shy about reaching out to folks who were different.

There was an elderly couple who lived in the house behind us, and they had a grandchild who visited regularly. Occasionally, we would play with their granddaughter in their backyard. She was white. We were black. A teenager started lingering around the yard and would sporadically speak to the little girl.

One day, we went into our neighbor’s yard to play with their granddaughter. We noticed the teenager was standing beside her. She was older than all of us, so I didn’t think she would be someone who wanted to play house and make mud pies. But when we entered the yard, the granddaughter looked up at us and said, “We don’t allow niggers to play in our yard.” That was shocking, because we had played in her yard so many times before then. It was shocking because that’s the first, and only time, I had been called the N-word. It was also shocking because I didn’t know how to respond. I just took my sister’s hand, and we returned home to tell our parents this bad news.

Continue reading at The Redbud Post.

On Giving and Getting in 2016

2016 has been a roller coaster of a year. As I sit here preparing my last presentations and talks for 2016, I am also tying up loose ends from various projects. I always find myself reflecting at this time of year. I am in awe for all the good that has transpired this year, and am overwhelmed with sadness and disappointment from other events that have taken place in our country and in our world. I wanted to take this time to give you a quick update, let you know what is coming, and to thank you for joining me on A Sista’s Journey.

This will most likely be my last post of 2016. If WordPress sends me one of those “End of Year” wrap-ups, I’ll share any interesting information by amending this post.

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