Booker T. Washington the founder of Tuskegee University was a strong individual or rather his life experiences crafted him into a mosaic of moral fortitude. In his novel Up from Slavery there are numerous instances of Booker T. Washington having to perform manual labor just to achieve an education. Washington once declared “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” This quote by Booker T. Washington is a trademark aphorism that represents the adversity he faced in life. I can relate to this struggle, but not nearly of the same magnitude. However, compared to the life of plentiful splendor my siblings have enjoyed I can say honestly I am from humble beginnings. Thus, I can appreciate my blessings, which I am unworthy of.
I grew up in a single parent household (spent school days with mom, summers with dad), which is the dominate percentage on the pie-chart, for African American children. I hated opening up my lunchbox in elementary school: the redundant cheese sandwich with various vegetables irritated me. Ramen noodles were the love of my life, I ate ramen noodles till I got sick of it. I was responsible for accomplishing numerous chores around the household: wash the dishes, sweep the floor, walk the dog, mop the floor, mow the lawn, bring in the groceries, doing my laundry, clean the bathroom, ironing my clothes for school and a plethora of household chores. I didn’t ask for much because ninety-five percent of the time the answer was: no. I am no stranger to the phrases “I am the parent you’re the child” or “children are meant to be seen and not to be heard”. Like a majority of black children I feared the switch. However, this American pauper is a prince on the British Virgin Island of Tortola.
I have lived two completely different lifestyles between my parents. On the island of Tortola, my father runs his own well established construction company, while my step-mother runs her families own hotel that has an excellent photogenic ocean view. The island of Tortola is a beautiful tropical island where most of my family resides. Living with my father and step-mother is a breath of fresh air, coming for a strict authoritative household. My father doesn’t bark orders at me like I’m a slave, picking cotton before the emancipation proclamation was established. He actually listen and somewhat (in his own way) takes my feelings into consideration. Another key factor that I enjoy there are no definite chores. They have a housekeeper, I can do absolutely, nothing! However, my brother is accustomed to this life. Hard work, struggle, and determination are not in his fifth grade vocabulary. To my knowledge he’s never had to wash dishes, or perform any sort of difficult manual labor, he’s spoiled to his core. He will never worry where his next meal will come from, or will he be able to get the new electronic device taking over the world. Although, he doesn’t understand the simple, yet soul crushing word: No.
Yesterday, as if he heard the word; no for the first his world fell apart. .He became distraught, his head dropped as we walked around the grocery store aisles. His normal exuberant happy-go-lucky attitude turned to that of melancholy, as if the cake had, been left out in the rain. In the Oxford-dictionary look up the word entitlement, and the definition should say: all children born in the new millennia. People just expect the world will hand them everything on a silver platter. My father eventually frustrated about his monotonous attitude finally expressed his rag-to-riches story growing up in a single parent home, with five other siblings. His father played no role in his life, and his struggle: having only one black-white television set, getting up to change the television because remote didn’t exist back then. Having to actually scrub his clothes clean, because washer- machines didn’t exist back then. The generally quality of life back, in his time was strenuous and exhausting. The saying parents often declare: children have it so easy now-a-days. Is actually true. I can appreciate chores now, because they have played a crucial part in building my character. I have an: if you want something in his world, work for it mentality, instead of I need it: give it to me.
The annoying: I need this, I need that, and I can’t live without out that needs to stop. My brother is happily absorbed in his other Christmas presents currently Pokémon X or Y (has them both) on his new 3DS. His tantrum (I speculate) was because of being denied a newer version of the IPad even though he already has one. This Christmas day, let’s not become irate over the materialistic needs, (shit we don’t need in the first place) but exalt in the joy of simply having each other’s company. Let’s remember this Christmas season it’s not about what object, you’ve received that will be tossed somewhere in the deep labyrinth of your household; only to never again see the light of day. It isn’t about knocking people down during black Friday, to get a cheap deal, after proclaiming family and togetherness at the Thanksgiving dinner table. As trite and redundant the moral: Christmas is about love, family, and celebrating Christ. What’s in your heart, not, what’s under a tree, or in your wallet.