“My Soul Looks Back in Wonder” by Juan Williams is one of those books that leaves you mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. It was a great feeling that was felt with every page and I was totally spent by the time I closed the covers for the last time. It’s a collection of stories about the civil rights experience and tells the story from every perspective. Definitely on my must read book list.
I took away from this book that the groundwork for real and powerful change for all American’s has been laid and the torch has been passed to our generation to continue. The struggle for equal opportunity is present for every person from every background, and presents itself in a multitude of ways. We can easily carry on where they left off or destroy the advantages that they fought hard to give us.
Discrimination comes in many forms and is lead by ignorant intolerance. Something that is learned and taught. Can you take an infant of any color, race, nationality, economic status, or sex and spit on it, telling it that it will be nothing, can be nothing? If that child was laid in your lap, and you didn’t know the background of it’s parents, could you do this?
We set our children up for success or failure in just this way. When they are constantly told that this is their lot in life and nothing can change that. It happens on every economic level and with every race. If a child from an affluent family is told that everything should be done for them it has the same effect as a child from an impoverished family hearing the same thing. These children do not learn to live, think, and dream for themselves. They are left with the idea that their positions will never change. When opportunities for these children come around they are left unable to handle the situation because they are unable to see outside of their current position. They are left in denial or do not even realize that an opportunity is in front of them. Poor or rich, they have no way to make something of themselves by themselves.
Through this book I was introduced to events and people from every walk of life that worked to overcome their challenges peacefully. They worked hard for change and the chance to allow every child to succeed in life. It has me taking a hard look at my views on people with different backgrounds, making me want to learn more about the struggles of people from the past and those living today.
I don’t want my children to carry my successes or failures into their futures. I don’t want them held back or moved forward by the assumption that how their parents did was how they will do. I want them to see that everyone has a unique situation and a persons response to their situation is the important thing. I want them to realize that their positions can change quickly and they are not entitled to anything, that there is a difference between asking for help and taking advantage, and that when help is given they need to pay it back or pay it forward.
List of things that I want my children to learn while under my influence:
- I love you no matter what. I might hate your attitude or decisions, but I love you.
- Everyone has struggles to overcome. Yours matter and so do theirs. Learn to deal with it.
- Work and money have a correlation.
- Value your education and never stop learning, question everything.
- “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time” Zig Ziggler Have dreams and go after them.
- It’s okay to fail. Keep learning.
- Just listen. Even if you don’t agree keep listening. You might learn something.
- Never expect anyone to do something that you wouldn’t do for yourself. You’ll never be “to good” to take out the garbage.
- If you’re in a position to help, help. Remember there is a difference between helping and enabling.
I’m not sure how to go about instilling great value into my children. I don’t have the slightest clue other than to continue to have conversations with them about a wide variety of topics and to genuinely listen to their views. I’ll continue to expand my knowledge and try to pass it on. It’s up to me to use this knowledge as I see fit and up to them to do the same.
If you take away anything from this, I want it to be to keep learning. Read, listen, and have conversations. If you fear something or want change or are just curious, take the time to learn. I still love a good cheesy romance but I didn’t realize how much I was missing by not reading nonfiction until I made it a goal, thanks to Dave Ramsey, to read one nonfiction book a month. Again I have nothing against romance, fantasy, murder mystery, or any other type of book and still read them, but biographies, travel, self help, finance, gardening, and history have opened my mind and eyes to a lot of things. Just keep learning.