Last week I wrote an editorial asking Recorder readers to reflect on the things you did to positively impact the life of someone else. I also asked readers to reminisce on the individual goals you set for yourself. The editorial mentioned how far too often, many of us fail to be positive influences on others and that we sadly fail to accomplish individual goals set for ourselves.
I received many calls and e-mails regarding the editorial. To my surprise most people not only admitted that I was right, but also said that the main reason they fell short, particularly on their individual goals was because they didn’t quite know where or how to begin.
One caller even suggested that I offer some tips that people within our community can adhere to which will make 2008 a more productive and fulfilling year for all.
So, with that said, here are a few suggestions that we all can strive to accomplish throughout the next 12 months:
Become our brother’s keepers — Striving to be involved in the life of someone else is not only rewarding for the recipient, but also the giver. In 2008 let’s strive to spend quality time with someone who needs a friend, mentor or simply a shoulder to cry on. One of the best gifts I received for Christmas was when a college student whom I mentor wrote me a note that said, “Thanks for being such an influence in my life. I love you.” When I read the note, tears immediately welled up in my eyes and I realized that while we’re all here to do various things both personally and professionally, sometimes the most fulfilling things are the ones that you do from the heart.
Be better business men and women — While I like to support Black businesses, sometimes it angers me when the employees or owners of these establishments don’t understand the importance of good customer service. Taking customers for granted is the worst thing that can happen to a business. Don’t assume that because I patronize your business on a regular basis that I always will. Simple things such as greeting customers with a warm smile and a friendly hello make a world of difference as do saying please and thank you. It also helps when employees give customers their undivided attention, so try limiting the random telephone conversations, or work gossip while servicing customers.
Work to reduce crime — One of the largest detriments to our community is knowing key information regarding a specific crime, but failing to report it. Many people consider this snitching, but if something happened to someone you cared about, you’d consider it being a concerned citizen. Reporting crimes and the individuals who commit them is one of the most effective ways to combat theft and violence. Also, realize that people need to work for the items they need and want. Taking the property of someone who has worked to obtain it is an unfair way to advance oneself.
Protect ourselves sexually — There was once a time when the most severe thing that a teenager or young adult felt that could happen to them is they’d become pregnant. Pregnancies and the influx of sexually transmitted diseases make the stakes even higher now. Wearing a latex condom can literally be the difference between life and death.
If you’re able, work — Personally it’s very frustrating when I see an individual who is of sound mind and body, yet they don’t work. The welfare system and other forms of public assistance are wonderful ways to help people who genuinely need it, but the use of them shouldn’t be abused. An individual should want more out of life than to sit around and collect a check. If you’re on welfare or know someone who is (and is able to work) then, encourage them to get a job. There’s something tremendously gratifying about working for your own things.
Respect the property of others — Whether you’re using someone’s telephone, borrowing their car, or renting a house — respect the property of others. Simply because you don’t own a specific thing doesn’t give you the right to abuse it.
Take pride in yourself and others — Confidence and self-assurance are the most attractive qualities in a person. When you’re confident about who you are, you’re more likely to expect others to treat you in a manner that’s pleasing to you. You’re also less likely to accept “less than” behavior and treatment. Take pride in who you are and others will as well.
Love, love, love — Always exhibit love for yourself and others; even the people who you don’t know. It takes so much energy to be negative, learn to love more…you’d be surprised at how good it feels.