My grandmother was 19-years-old when she had my mother, my mother was 19-years-old when she had me, and…yep, you guessed it, just 15 days after my nineteenth birthday, I gave birth to my oldest son. Many people refer to such as a generational curse.  However, I don’t because my family, particularly my mother, intentionally made sure I thought differently.  Is it a generational cycle?  Yes.  Can cycles be interrupted? Absolutely.

This morning I took that (now 16-year-old) son of mine to the airport.  He is one of four students selected to attend the National Black MBA Conference in Indianapolis.  As I watched him make his way through the security line, I couldn’t help but reflect on his little life, and the amazing opportunities we’ve experienced through him.  Three years ago he received admission and scholarship to attend a very selective and prestigious high school.  Last summer, he was invited to study medicine at Baylor College of Dentistry and Howard’s Medical School, and he was also given an opportunity to compete in the National Black MBA Youth Business competition. He is currently the president of his Top Teens of America chapter, member of his school’s baseball team, and an active member of his youth ministry.

I never really knew my biological father, and for many years I resented him for that…not knowing his side of the story, and not really caring.  I can only remember seeing him two times, the latter being his funeral.  I was 20-years-old and rather numb about his premature death, and even upon entering his funeral, I considered him a non-contributor to my life.  Oh, but was I wrong.  That day, at that funeral, my thoughts and my life changed.  I realized my father gave me one thing no one else had ever given me, not even my mother.  That “thing” was a person…a sister!   

Yes, I met my only sister at our father’s funeral, and we’ve been best buds ever since.  I’m still often mesmerized by our relationship and just how alike we truly are.  We are the same age, pledged the same sorority, both love photography, and are both elementary school teachers.  When I need to bounce an idea off someone or share one of my funny mommy moments, she’s one of the first people I call.  She was in my wedding, I was in her wedding, and the list goes on.

The point I’m trying to make by sharing these experiences is the importance of PERSPECTIVE and ATTITUDE.  Both of the above could have been viewed quite differently, and therefore the outcomes may have been different as well.  As I reflect on the many life experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today, I realize that my perspective of those experiences makes all the difference. 

Many people ponder over the reasons children who grow up in the same home and experience the same upbringing, grow up to be very different individuals, making very different decisions in life.  One child may go on to become a doctor or attorney, while another may battle with substance abuse or depression.  Why is this?  I think the individual perceptions varied, causing the outcomes to also vary.

While studying photography, I learned one thing early on.  Adjusting your lens is critical to a beautiful shot.  I encourage you to adjust your lens.  Whether you view your glass half empty or half full really doesn’t matter at all.  What does matter is your faith in knowing that whatever has been poured into your glass was never a surprise to the God we serve.  However, you have a will and choice in how you view your glass, which will ultimately impact what you do with it. 

Don’t waste time complaining or sobbing over what “is” or “is not” in your glass.  Pick it up and make a toast to a better life!

Peace and Blessings,

Mama Tameka