I AM THE AMERICAN DREAM. YOU ARE TOO.
I don't idolize America, but I am damn proud of what we have overcome. We’ve done big things and overcome big obstacles....together. Every race, nationality and background has chipped in to Make America Great. A morning with my son reminded me of my part of the American dream.
My son and I played golf the other morning on a nice course. I'm new to golf so my definition of nice is well manicured, beautiful and playable. Before we got started we agreed to a small challenge: I say a bad word - he gets a dollar. I will not confess to how much money he may or may not have made, but he DEFINITELY made some dough. During our walks from point to point I realize how good it is in America now. Despite all of the insanity the media keeps shoving down our throats and stabbing into our eyeballs. It's a great time to be in America.
I'm a poor kid from South Carolina from an abusive, single-parent home. I started and finished my k through 12 school poor. No money! I didn't get a gift for high school graduation, I got the reality and pressure to make something happen.
I chose the military, and what is said as the most stressful job in America. Air Traffic Control. I like to make things difficult I guess. For some illogically cocky reason, I positively thought I could do it. I thought I had power & capability to make it happen. I thought I could do it and that no one could stop me. I would use other people's fears and negative talk as motivation to succeed and prove them wrong.
During training they didn't care about my skin color, gender, family history, sob story, or biases. They just wanted to see if I could do it. The only thing they wanted to know is if I could get the job done. And if I could, they’d pay me base salary plus a monthly bonus for being able to do this job. Guess what happened? I made it. I thank GOD that they didn't coddle me just because I was black, poor, and an abuse survivor. They just just DEMANDED that I meet the standard or try something else. And because they demanded excellence out of me, I worked and met the standard of Excellence. I successfully earned certification at all of my new training locations stateside, in Europe, in Asia and back again. Now I've been doing this for 20 years and am no longer poor! In one lifetime, a random, poor, black, abuse survivor can go from nothing to EVERYTHING in one lifetime. In one 10 year span!!! It's an insanely amazing blessing.
In Air traffic control little details matter greatly to the outcome. Same for golf.
Now here I am. Walking with my son on a nice golf course. Talking about which club to hit, rather than worrying about where our next meal was gonna come from. From my childhood to his. A world of difference. I'm so thankful God has blessed me with an amazing family, great health, boundless opportunity and much needed extra golf balls. All of this in one generation. One lifetime. In America. My son will be groomed, trained, coached, aimed then launched to be successful here in America. I hope he ends up learning the same lessons, but earlier.
America has been good to us. America IS US. We are America.
Opportunity is there if you want it, if you think you can do it! You must believe you can do it and don't consider anything else. If you take the opportunity, you'll see. My life changed in one generation. I spent as much time as I could encouraging my son and complimenting him after his shots on the course. I wanted him to have a good time, but I wanted to invest in his confidence. Confidence and determination are the keys. I wanted to get outside of my head, obsessing about my own rickety game; and stay involved with my responsibility to him. To push, encourage, help him plan and stay accountable to him and our good time.
In America fathers/coaches/mentors are so crucial to driving the next generation to success. Most areas of poverty and crime have the common ill of a lack of good Fathers to raise, empower and protect their families. In America, your success is possible. In spite of your start. In spite of your past. In spite of your color or gender. Step up to the tee box, focus on your SKILLS training, aim for the flag and take your shot.
I'm a Christian before anything else. I'm a husband. I'm a father. And I'm a damn proud American. I am America. I am the dream come true. Thinking you can win here is as important as anything else. It takes skills that pay. A power mindset. Determination. And a team of people to demand excellence. If you don't have these, don't blame America. Change your physical & mind position, step up and take your shot.
It's the American Way.
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