We have to look beyond our past experiences and how are parents raised us. (If they were traumatic or regrettable experiences.) Psychologist, James Hillman, in his book, “the Soul’s Code” asserts that the theories viewing our early years as traumatic and life-shaping have caused more damage than the actual incidents! We are more than what our present mindset holds. And the next time you hear yourself blaming your actions on the way your parents raised you, stop, and say “I have a choice and I can transcend my presently perceived limitations.” I am more than what theories say I must have been reduced to.

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“His mind was not disavantaged; his mind was not at risk; his mind was not underprivileged”

Former congressman Cleo Fields (D-LA), grew up in a family that was financially poor but intellectually rich. His mother told him, don’t let your income determine your outcome! As a congressman he fought for abolishing the use of economic labels because he thought the stigmatism of being set apart as “at risk”, or “disadvantaged”, or “underprivledged”, would do worse damage (to their self-esteem and therefore their determination) than the actual circumstances.

His mother, who took him often to the library, taught him he could be all he could dream of, because “his mind was not disadvantaged, his mind was not at risk, and his mind was not underprivledged.”

Cleo Fields’s story was told on Oprah, as part of a segment about Julian Okwu, photographer and author of the inspirational book, Face Forward: Young African American Men in a Critical Age, published by Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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