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”!!