Motivational Monday- November 16

As I thought and prayed about what I could say to motivate our young men on this Monday.  I want you to share with your sons that they can be a trailblazer at any age.  Sixty years ago, on November 14th, at the age of 6, a first grader by the name of Ruby Bridges became a trailblazer when she became the first African American to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1960.   Bridges carried integration on her small shoulders.  Ruby lived during a day and time when African American children were not allowed to attend school with white children.  U. S. Marshals had to escort Ruby to school every day because her young life was in danger.  Can you imagine being in the first grade, just six years old being threatened everyday when she went to school.   

       As Ruby would enter the school every day, crowds would be outside yelling negative names at her and one day someone had made a box like a coffin and put a black doll in the box.  Ruby said that she would have nightmares of seeing that black doll in the coffin like box.  Bridges’ family experienced retaliation because of her going to this school.  Grocery stores refused to sell to her mother whose name was Lucille and her father, Abon, lost his job according to the National Park Service.  All the students who were in Ruby’s first grade class withdrew from the school and she ended up being the only student in her classroom for the rest of the school year.  It was just Ruby and her teacher.

      Ruby Bridges is a trailblazer, one who is a pioneer and somebody who is willing to take risks and do something that no one has ever done.  This 6-year-old little girl who is now 66 years old has a place in American History because she was willing to take a risk and her parents wanted her to have the best education.  Parents, when you and I look at your son, who knows we maybe seeing the next trailblazer, the first BMW to be the mayor of Lexington, or governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, or even President of the United States, the one who will come up with a cure for cancer, own his own business, be an engineer, an architect, doctor, lawyer, have a construction company, in other words our BMWA young men are CANDIDATES FOR GREATNESS WHO CAN BE A TRAILBLAZER AND EVEN NOW AT THIS VERY AGE!

Motivational Monday- November 9

As I thought and prayed about what I would say as a means of encouragement to you for this week, I want you to stress to your sons the word perseverance.  The word perseverance means that they should never give up no matter how hard things get in life.  I know things maybe difficult for some of them not being able to attend school in person everyday and having to do school virtually, but they must persevere during these tough times.  They must continue to stay faithful in doing their assignments everyday and giving their very best.

        I read the life story of the new President-elect Joe Biden and he is a real example of perseverance.  Joe Biden’s wife and baby daughter were both killed in a car accident when he first became a senator from Delaware many years ago.  His two young sons were hurt very bad in the accident.   He had to take the oath of office as a senator while looking after his two young sons in the hospital.   After his boys got out of the hospital, he traveled by train to and from Delaware to Washington, D. C. so he could be at home at night to put his young sons to bed because they no longer had a mom.   Joe Biden did not give up but persevered during this tragedy. 

         He later remarried to the wife he has now who was a teacher who helped him to raise his two young sons.  He and his new wife had a daughter.  The first time Joe Biden ran for president he was not chosen by the Democratic party as the candidate.  He remained in the Senate and kept working for the people.  He was selected by President Obama to be his Vice-president when he ran for president.  He served with President Obama for 8 years as Vice-president.  When it was time for President Obama to leave as president of the United States, many people wanted Joe Biden to run for president.  Joe Biden had another tragedy to take place in his family, his son Beau died of brain cancer.  Joe decided not to run for president because he wanted to help take care of his grandchildren because of the death of their father.

         Joe Biden decided to run for president in 2020 at the age of 77.  Many people said he was too old, some said you have already lost twice just forget it, and others said you cannot win.  Joe Biden preserved past his age, his past failures and what others said about him to run for the job of president of the United States.  On Saturday, November 7th, his perseverance paid off when he became the President-elect of the United States of America.

         Parents, please stress to your sons never to throw in the towel no matter what others say that they cannot do in life.  The All-purpose cleaner that I have under my kitchen sink called formula 409 got the name 409 because the man who made it said he did not get the formula right until the 409th time.   Just think if he would have given up at 209, he would not become a millionaire!   He persevered until he got the formula right and I am glad he did because it helps me to keep my house clean!  DO NOT LET YOUR SON GIVE UP!!  Have a great week.

Motivational Monday- November 2

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” -Muhammad Ali

Happy Monday BMWA Family,

       As I write this weekly Motivational Monday, my heart is overjoyed because this past Saturday, we hosted a BMWA career fair and five of our guests were former BMWA students.  When I read the quote by Muhammad Ali that says “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”, well Saturday five young African American males who came through BMWA took risks and they are doing great in life.  The five young men who shared with BMWA on Saturday took the time from their busy schedules to encourage and motivate our middle and high school BMW young men to take risks so they can accomplish much in life. 

        The five young men who spoke today at BMW were:  Scholar Joedocei Hill, who graduated from P. L. Dunbar High School and got a B.S. and a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky.  Joedoeci is now living in Richmond, VA where he works for Capital One as a software engineer!  When you look at the Capital One website, much of it was designed by our own Joedocei Hill.  He owns property in Lexington and Richmond, and he is going to continue to take risk and one day own his own business!  Maybe he will hire some of our BMW young men in the future!

       Scholar Tony Compton is a BMW who graduated from Tates Creek High School.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville in Sports Administration and is presently working on his master’s degree at U of L.  Tony works for the University of Louisville Athletics Department as the Facilities Manager.  Tony is continuing to work hard and take a risk to accomplish being an Athletic Director of a university someday!

      Scholar Desmond Howard is a BMW who graduated from Bryan Station High School.  Desmond took a risk and left Lexington to go to the University of Pennsylvania.  Desmond still holds the BMW record for the highest ACT score of 32.  He got an internship while in college with Microsoft and upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, he got hired by Microsoft as a software engineer!  Desmond is now living in Seattle Washington working for Microsoft!

      Scholar Jamal McFarland is a BMW who graduated from Tates Creek High School.  Jamal was the 2nd BMW to get into the University of Louisville Speed School for Engineering.  He graduated from the Speed School with a degree in Mechanical engineering.  Jamal is now working for the Ford Motor Company where he is on assignment in Detroit, Michigan helping to design the 2022 Navigator SUV.  He is a plant manager at the young age of 27 and he is very active in the Association of Black Engineers!

     Scholar Myles Gibson if a graduate of P. L. Dunbar High School.  Myles got one of the BMW scholarships to the University of Kentucky.  He graduated with a degree in Biology.  Myles is going to continue to take a risk and applying to nursing school.  He is not going to stop at just nursing school but plans to be courageous and be a nurse practitioner!

Parents, I hope you know your son can continue the BMW legacy of accomplishing great things in life!  Please continue to have high expectations of your son and do not take any excuses when they say they cannot do something.   If your son needs help, we are here for them because “TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK”!  Have a great week!  Be Blessed!

Motivational Monday- October 26

Motivational Monday Review

Hello BMWA Parents,

       I pray this email finds each of you well and continuing to encourage your sons to be the best that they can be!  The Motivational Monday for the week of October 26th will be a review and reminder of the 6 weeks you have already received since September.  Parents, it is most important that we work together to remind our young men of their potential and that we have high expectations of each of them!  Listed below is a summary of what we need you to expect of your son at home!  We appreciate each of you. 

  1. Teach Your Son to Take Education Seriously! You can do this by stressing the importance of doing well in school and you doing things at home to cultivate his mind!
  1. Teach Your Son to be Mindful of His Habits! Model for your son good habits then help him to develop good habits.
  1. Teach Your Son to be Mindful of His Time! Monitor your son’s time and limit the amount of time he watches the television and plays video games.  Make sure he spends some time reading!
  1. Expect Your Son to be a Positive Person! Do not put up with up with any negativity from your son!  Being positive will open doors from him. 
  1. Expect Your Son to be an Overachiever! Do not let your son do just enough to get by, but expect him to do more than what is expected.
  1. Encourage Your Son to Know His History! “If a race has no history…it stands in danger of being exterminated” by Carter G. Woodson.   African American history contains truths that liberate, knowledge that empowers, and stories that inspire.  Within your history, you will find yourself.

Have a great week BMWA families!  Please stay healthy and safe!  We will start a new series next Monday, November 2nd!!  We will get through this pandemic together.  Love and appreciate each of you.  Be blessed.

Motivational Monday- October 19

"Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around"

Successful triumphant people are positive people.  Negative people, people who put others down, people who say, “I can’t do it, people who complain, and people who say, “It’s too much work”, or people who say that a task is too hard, are losers.

Being positive means that you strongly believe that everything that happens to you is designed to benefit you in some way.  Positive people look for the lessons in every experience, whether the experience is good or bad.  A positive person believes, as author Napoleon Hill has said, “Every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater belief.”  You can be certain that problems, challenges, and difficulties will come your way and you cannot stop them from coming your way.  What you can do is prevent troublesome times from gobbling you up by guarding your mind against negativity and by being optimistic.  Refuse to entertain negative thoughts.  Refuse to worry.  Refuse to doubt.  Focus on the prize that lies ahead and do not allow yourself to become trapped by negative, dead end thinking.

There are three basic mental laws that you can apply to your life that will enable you to think more positively.  These three laws will enable you to derive meaning from life and, when you apply them, they will empower you to rapidly succeed.

THE LAW OF EXPECTATION :

Whatever you confidently expect is an accurate prediction of your future.  You don’t always get what you want out of life, but you do get what you expect.  Your expectations are forecasts that tell you how the conditions in your life are going to be because your mind will move toward what you expect.  This is why it is important for you to vigorously ignore the negative expectations others may have of you.

THE LAW OF ATTRACTION:

You attract people and circumstances into your life that are in agreement with your most important thoughts, beliefs, and goals.  You will discover as you work toward your goal of building a better life for yourself, that the law of attraction will not only draw positive results toward you, but also reject negative, harmful people and situations.

THE LAW OF FAITH:

Whatever you strongly believe, with confidence, will become your reality.  Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking said, “When you learn to believe, then that which has seemingly been impossible  moves into the arena of the possible.  Every great thing at last becomes for you a possibility.”

Motivational Monday- October 12

" Be Mindful of Your Time"

"The Challenge is in the moment. The time is always now!"

James Baldwin

The quality of your life, the shabbiness or sturdiness of your life, the spotlessness or messiness of your life right now is directly related to how you have chosen to spend your time.  The way you choose to use your time right now will directly affect the life you live in the future for better or worse.  The way you spend your time right now, truly is an investment, and you will receive either positive or negative returns on your investment sometime in the future.

Those who place a high value on their lives will make careful use of the minutes, the hours, and the days they have been allotted.  Those who don’t value their lives will waste their time in unproductive pursuits such as getting high, getting drunk, watching hours of television, lounging on the couch, continually talking on the phone, or finding other ways to kill time.  Incidentally, when you kill time, you are hurting yourself by limiting your destiny.  In the days of  your youth, it is in the best interest to devote your time to constructive activities so you will have a sturdy foundation upon which to enlarge your territory and reach towering heights in the days to come.  The best way for you to get control of your time is to focus intensely on your future and to work enthusiastically at constructing the life you desire.

Remember, the most important activities that you engage in are the activities that will enhance your life.  If you are going to make the most of your time, it is necessary for you to have a clear vision of where you want to be in the future and you must work without compromise toward realizing your goals.  Without a clear vision of the future—without goals, you are drifting through life from day to day without direction.  If you do not have specific aims in life, you are simply wasting precious time; you are wasting days that you will never be able to relive.

If you are committed to constructing, building, assembling the life you desire and if you don’t manifest your commitment through constant activity, then you are wasting precious hours because you are neglecting your life.  If one neglects one’s teeth, one’s teeth will rotten.  If one neglects one’s health, one’s body will eventually break down and sickness will enter.  Through neglect, your life, like anything else will begin to deteriorate.  Be careful not to fall into the neglect trap by constantly doing that which will bring you closer to your goals.  The neglect trap involves making neglect a habit.  One day of not committing yourself to your goals may not hurt but over the long haul it will.  Obviously, the way you use your time will determine the quality of your life. 

Motivational Monday- October 5

"Be Mindful of Your Habits"

“I am your constant companion; I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.  I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.  I am completely at your command.  Half of the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.  I am easily managed-you must merely be firm with me.  Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.  I am the secret of all great men; and alas, of all failures, as well.  Those who are great I have made great.  Those who are failures, I have made failures.  I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man.  You may run me for profit or run me for ruin-it makes no difference to me.  Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.   Be easy with me and I will destroy you.  Who am I?  I AM A HABIT!!

-Anonymous

Your habits are the patterns of behavior you have acquired and have followed until they have become involuntary.  Your habits are what you naturally do, they are like behavioral reflexes; they become automatic, daily practices and, often unconsciously, you will allow your habits to rule your life.  It has been determined by psychologists that 90 to 95 percent of our conduct is the result of our habits.  Our habits, personal customs, or our rituals determine almost 100 percent of our behavior.  The way you study, the things you do when you have time to do anything you want to do, the amount of effort you put into your daily tasks, the route you take to get home, being late all the time, your morning routine, and just about any other daily activity you can name is rooted in your habits.

It is important to note that the new habits you form as well as the habits you have already acquired, whether they are good or bad will determine your future.  Your habits will determine what you either accomplish because your habits determine your actions and your actions determine your destiny.  One must eliminate bad habits in order to gain control over your life.  Good habits are hard to form but easy to live with.  Bad habits are easy to form but hard to live with! 

Parents help your sons to develop good habits by doing the following every day!

  1. Review their goals every day.
  2. Read Every day. 
  3. Limit the amount of time they play games and watch the television.
  4. Expect them to strive to do their very best every day. 

Motivational Monday- September 28

“TEACH YOUR SON TO TAKE HIS EDUCTION SERIOUSLY”

     When your son is serious about his education it pays numerous rewards.  One who is serious about his education is engaged in the constant process of the cultivation of the mind.  Your uncompromising commitment to education will result in increased intelligence, self-respect, a sound mind, the ability to communicate confidently and the capacity to comprehend the simple as well as the complex.  A failure to be serious about your education is self-destructive and it is a demonstration of a lack of self-respect because one who does not take education seriously must look education in the face and turn one’s back on its promises.  If you are not serious about your education, then you do not respect yourself and you are slowly deteriorating because of your lack of self-maintenance and growth.

      You must teach your son that the person most responsible for his education is not his teachers or you as his parent, but it is HIM!   Your failure to succeed in school cannot be blamed on anyone or any system because education is not about what someone gives you, education is about what you reach out and take!  Don’t get upset when a teacher or parent tells you to straighten up, or to get to work, or to pay attention in class, paying attention to your studies and being on task is going to benefit you.  Being serious about your education requires diligence, the quality of rendering constant, rigorous, undying effort in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

Daily “To Do” List for those who are serious about their education!

 

  1.   Your primary purposes for reading must be to understand and to make effective use of the material you’re reading.  Read books that provide strategies for achievement in school, in your future career, in relationships and other areas of life.
  1. THINK CRITICALLY:  Thinking critically involves questioning the information that comes into your mind whether you read it, hear it, or observe it.  A critical thinker, you interrogate information just as a police officer would interrogate a suspect.  Critical thinkers search for cause and effect relationships, critical thinkers seek solutions to problems and critical thinkers find ways to link old knowledge with new knowledge in order to bring about perfect understanding.  
  1. TAKE NOTES: Note taking enables you to retain more because the act of organizing and writing down the information you take in makes a greater impression on your brain than the casual act of following information to simply pass through.  Well-organized notes separate the most important information from the least important information.
  1. LISTEN: Active listening is much like focused reading.  You should listen to those who impart information so that you can both derive understanding from what is being said and use the information you acquire in future pursuits.  Listening required discipline. 
  1. EACH ONE TEACH ONE: There was a time in America when it was illegal for Black slaves to learn how to read and write.  Nevertheless, some slaves became literate and cautiously taught other slaves to read and write.  The adopted a system of “each one teach one”.  As a result of this practice of passing knowledge on to those less knowledgeable, the number of slaves who were able to read and write increased.  Keep this practice alive young men by sharing, explaining, and discussing your knowledge of various subjects with others.  Research shows that you retain 90 percent of what you learn when you teach others!

Motivational Monday- September 21

Motivational Monday September 21- "Be Committed to Excellence"

Parents, it is most important that we encourage and expect excellence from our young men.  Michael Jordan once said that he demanded more of himself than anyone else could ever demand of him.  This concept, the demand that one pushes himself to both surpass the high expectations you establish for yourself and to achieve beyond parameters established by others, is the essence of being committed to excellence.  Your life is only as good as you are.  When you devote yourself to excellence in every area of your life, then not only will you become a better person, but also your whole life will improve.  If you are not committed to being the absolute best student, best drummer, best violin player, best singer, best football or basketball player, best employer or the best at any endeavor, then your life will not get better and you cannot expect it to.

 Striving for excellence means that you rise above levels of performance that are just average, it means that you do not settle for C’s or D’s on your report card and say, “At least it’s passing”.  Being committed to excellence means that you do all that you can do, and then you do a little more.  A commitment to excellence is a commitment to work intensely, to practice longer hours, to study past the midnight hour, to run sprints when everyone else has gone home, to stop being afraid to be the best.  A commitment to excellence means that every day, you dedicate yourself to becoming a little bit better at what you have chosen to do or at what you must do.  Notice, I said you must commit to making yourself better every day.  You do not have the option of committing yourself to excellence when it is convenient for you.  Every day you must focus on sharpening your skills, sharpening your mind, and getting rid of destructive elements in your life.

 The information that I used for the Motivational Monday articles come from two books that I read that inspires me to inspire our boys and their parents.  The first book is “Success Strategies for the Young Gifted and Black” by Michael Todd Bernard and the second book is “Praying for Boys” by Brooke McGlothlin  Parents, if our young men are going to be committed to excellence it is most important we instill in our boys that they pursue excellence in the classroom, and in all the different activities they are in involved in at school or in the community.  Mediocrity or doing just enough to get by will not work for our boys if they want to be successful in life!   If your son is not pursuing a spirit of excellence in his life that means you must pray for him that their will be a change of heart, discipline him so that he understands your expectations, and only reward him when you see excellence.   Until next week.  Keep the faith and be blessed.

Rosz Akins

Gordon Parks 1912- 2006

Photographer & Director

Gordon Parks was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, he bought his first camera at a pawnshop and taught himself how to use it.  He made a name for himself while working at the Farm Security Administration, a government agency that was fighting rural poverty.  He went on to become the first African American photographer on the staff of Life magazine and produced some of the best photo essays the world have ever seen, from showing what it meant to be Black in America to tell the story of a twelve year old in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.  He said the camera was his weapon against racism and poverty.

 Parks worked for Vogue in the 1950s changed the expectations of what an American photographer could be doing.  He went to Paris, Cuba and the streets of New York City, creating pictures that showed the world of high fashion that few people of color had been able to reach.

 Parks was the first African American director of major motion pictures, starting with the Learning Tree in 1969 and Shaft in 1971.  These movies helped to increase the number of jobs for African Americans in films, from actors in front of cameras to producers and directors behind it.  Parks wrote nearly two dozen books on subjects ranging from poetry to photography.

 Parks’ work transformed how later generations of black artists, photographers, and musicians saw themselves and the world, opening their imaginations in storytelling through pictures of the Black experience.

 “I see a Gordon Parks Photographer club in the future of our BMW Academy”!!