Snowflakes and Snowplows

This past weekend, I had the privilege of meeting a medal winning Olympic figure skater. To protect her privacy, I don’t want to reveal too many details about her, so I will call her Lily. After I met her, I did what everyone else does when they meet an Olympian; I searched for a video of her performing on Youtube.  Wow! In the time period she was skating, she was clearly at the top of her field. She took full command of the ice and was a vision of beauty.

During our lengthy conversations, I learned that there was so much more to this woman than just an Olympic athlete. I particularly enjoyed how she relayed information about her sport in comparison to our current education system. Lily is so wise, and you really need to know this story.

For many decades, one of the requirements of all figure skaters was to be able to skate specific patterns on the ice. One of these, for example, is a figure 8 with smaller loops at the top and bottom. There were very strict requirements regarding these compulsory figures. They had to be skated in a very concise and particular manner. During competitions, judges would watch the skater during the figure, and then they would analyze the pattern on the ice to check for the slightest mistake. Even the smallest glitch could cost an athlete greatly.

These figures were the bane of many skaters. While some who entered the sport were very athletic and could skate fast and well, they could not skate smoothly or beautifully enough to develop these compulsory figures on the ice. Many more did not have the work ethic to practice these patterns for 4-6 hours every day. The skaters didn’t think the patterns were important, but the judges and coaches did.

Lily realized the importance of such precision skating early. She knew that if she could do the figures, the skills would translate into her programs. When I watched the video of her performance, I was awestruck. She was stunning! Each motion was fluid and graceful. Lily explained to me that the time spent on the patterns helped her to learn how to skate properly, how to use the edge of her blade, and to strengthen every muscle she needed to skate.

In 1988, those in charge of the sport of figure skating dropped compulsory figures from the requirements. This would, in their minds, allow the athletes to focus more time and energy on performing their musical programs. As the sport shifted from being precise and beautiful, it became more athletic, fast, and powerful. Consequently, athletes began having more injuries that kept them off the ice. Apparently, no one noticed the connection between dropping the figures and an increase in injuries. All they saw was that skaters were faster, leaped higher, and spun more revolutions in the air.

What she said next really got my attention. “This,” she conveyed, “is the same thing we are doing in education today.” To paraphrase her, we no longer require students to learn phonics and the correct pronunciation of letters and syllables. We don’t require them to hand write both manuscript and cursive letters. We don’t require that they carefully construct sentences with a subject and verb in agreement with one another and appropriate modifiers, all spelled correctly.

Instead of teaching the basics of mathematics and the natural truths associated with them (2+2=4 every time), we now teach that they can get partial credit if they are close or they can explain the convoluted means they used to come up with their wrong answer. We’ve removed education in its purest form and have replaced it with “expressing opinions,” and “sharing feelings.” I swear to you, dear reader, in my entire life I’ve never once thought about my opinion or feeling that 2+2 is 4, I just know that it is every single time.

Students left to their own vices now send text messages, Facebook posts, and Tweets with a multitude of abbreviations, emojis, indecipherable grammar, and statements filled with opinion rather than facts. They apparently find great joy when thousands of their closest friends “like” their post regarding their hatred of the new administration in Washington DC. Yet many are simply unable to explain the reasons behind their position. They’ve not been taught to think or reason.

Education should always be about seeking the truth. It should never be about what the learner thinks about that truth. Indeed, one cannot develop opinions until they know the beauty of the truth on which that opinion might be based. If one knows that Hitler is responsible for the overtaking of most of Europe and the killing of six million Jews along the way, then one can develop the opinion that Hitler was evil (or Hitler was good, depending on which viewpoint one takes). But without knowledge of who Hitler was, one has no information to guide that opinion.

Too often in our public schools, students are asked for their opinion, or how they feel about something they have read, seen, or done in class. Again, gentle reader, in the nineteen years that I darkened the halls of academia as a student, I was never once asked how I felt about anything. Come test time, though, I’d better know the truth of the material! And rest assured that I never asked any of my students, even my own children how they felt about something I taught until they knew the truth well.

It’s no wonder then that we have raised a generation of narcissistic snowflakes who have to go to a safe space anytime something doesn’t go their way. We’ve done this by allowing our educational systems to quit educating our children.  Until we can move our schools back into the business of teaching truths, the snowflakes will continue to graduate each year until we are buried in them. Where’s a snowplow when you need one?

 

~Temerity Dowell

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The Peaceful Transfer of Power

Today is such a wonderful day! If you’ve read prior columns I’ve written, you know that I’m about as conservative as a Republican can be. But today is not at all about being a Republican. Today is far bigger than any political party can be.

Today, January 20, 2017, is Inauguration Day. For a political junkie, such as me, this is the equivalent to the football fan’s Super Bowl, and the baseball fan’s World Series. At my house, we will celebrate all day long. My son and I will stare at the TV much like football fans watch their teams. We’ll be out with friends tonight celebrating into the wee hours.

Of course, because I am a conservative Republican, and because my candidate won, I’m celebrating this day a little more than usual. You probably do the same when your team wins the World Series. But I hope you understand that I would celebrate this day regardless of who the winner of the election was. Today, every American was the winner, even if they don’t realize it.

Today, the peaceful transfer of power will take place in our nation’s capital. This is no small thing. To the contrary, this is a dream that people in other nation’s envy. Today in Washington DC, past presidents and their spouses, including Hilary Clinton, will be present to support the incoming administration. The men and women on the platform do not all align politically with the President-elect, but they do understand the process and importance of the inauguration.

Today, no one will be in fear of a rogue, and un-elected, general taking command of the government. There will be no hostile takeover of the White House. The incoming administration was elected in a free and fair process by the citizens of this nation. How many other nations in the world can celebrate those things? There are people around the world who have never witnessed the process of a free election, who’ve never had the opportunity to campaign for the candidate of their choice, who fear for their nation each time there is any conflict with their leaders. We don’t realize just how good we’ve got it as Americans.

Eight years ago, after drilling information regarding their government into their sweet heads, I wanted my students to see the Inauguration Day ceremony. Rather than meeting for class that day, we headed to one family’s home and watched the events together. It didn’t matter whether it was a Republican or Democrat. What mattered was that the American people had voted for a candidate and he was taking the oath of office to serve faithfully. Iraq, Iran, Cuba, China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia, among others, should be so fortunate.

Inauguration Day is a beautiful thing. While you are watching the ceremony, regardless of your political affiliations, I encourage you to pause for a moment. Consider how different your life would be as a citizen of another nation. Would you get to elect your government? Could ruthless leaders be recalled? How would you be treated as a minority? Would a disagreement among leaders result in a civil war or great economic depression? If you think you’d be better off there, Delta is ready when you are. Good luck and Godspeed.

America is far from perfect. There are so many problems that it’s hard to determine how to start of list of them. Social issues, financial woes, leaders who lack integrity, and families that are broken into pieces only scratch the surface. Yet, those are problems that every other nation faces, too. But we’ve got one thing that many other nations do not – Inauguration Day – the peaceful transfer of power. Happy Inauguration Day, America!

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

PS –  As I write this, I’ve just learned that the newly elected leader of Gambia, a republic in West Africa, held their Inauguration Ceremony earlier today. The former president refused to attend and will not step down from his office due to election irregularities. United Airlines can take you there.

A New Day

I’m excited! Totally pumped!!! This is the best week in years!!!!! In just one day, the United States will have a president in the White House who will not condone the murder of innocent lives. We will have a president who does not pardon traitors. Our new president will respect, and even appreciate, the members of our armed forces and veterans. No longer will Americans suffer at the whims of a president with a globalist, leftist agenda. Yes, I am over the moon excited!

For eight long years, the president, his wife, his appointed leaders, feminist activists, and countless others have not only condoned the slaying of unborn babies, they have promoted abortion as a best practice method of removing a mere inconvenience from a woman’s life. While the abortion rate has decreased and is at its lowest point in years, the current administration has done nothing to encourage this. Instead, they have continued to fund, through taxpayer dollars, the abhorrent practice of abortion.

Just this week, our current president commuted the sentence of a known traitor. This is someone who violated the trust of the military, his fellow brothers in arms, and the American people. While some believe that whistleblowers should be protected, Manning was far more than a simple whistleblower. When a corporation is participating in an illegal activity for gain or that activity would cause harm to people, we need to protect those who would reveal the truth. But security is paramount when the United States Armed Forces are engaged in protecting Americans and American interests.

During his two term administration, the United States has become just another member of the global community rather than the powerful sovereign nation we once were. We’ve adopted a globalist agenda that has led us on the downward spiral toward our demise. This has become evident when one looks at the Common Core system of education that no longer teaches our children basic skills, but instead collects private data from children and families. We see clear examples of this agenda in how local governments are catering to the decrees of the Agenda 2030 program from the United Nations. And we are paying for our decline with borrowed money; the national debt has doubled in eight years.

Yes, I’m incredibly excited about Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017. It reminds me of a past Inauguration Day – January 20, 2009 – when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president. Since I was teaching a group of homeschooled students about their government, we used our class time to watch the ceremonies. This group of students came from conservative families and they, too, were not excited about the incoming president. However, any inauguration is history in the making, so we watched.

As with any such ceremony, it was gloriously exciting and filled with pomp and circumstance. That is, it was until the benediction. In case you’ve forgotten it, I’m attaching a youtube link below. This prayer was offered by Reverend Joseph Lowery. The prayer lasts approximately six and half minutes, and is really rather typical of such prayers – until the five minute mark.

I like a good laugh. If laughter is really the best medicine, I would never be sick. I love it when someone shares a good story and we laugh together. And I enjoy making others laugh with a joke or tale. Under the right circumstances, I even like laughing at myself. I enjoy laughing with others, and I despise anyone laughing at others in meanness or spite. A prayer at a solemn occasion under serious circumstances is not a time for laughter (see Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3).

When Reverend Lowery began his rhyme regarding various racial groups, it was not funny, but offensive. Even my younger students, 12-15 years old, saw this as rude. What we didn’t realize at the time was that this would mark the beginning of the most racially divisive time since the 1960’s. This irreverent prayer was foreshadowing events to come in the next eight years.

While President Obama professed to want racial equality, what he really wanted was for all races to be elevated above Caucasians. It became evident that the only way to make things level was to elevate minority groups while simultaneously making things more difficult for white Americans. Over the next eight years, nothing was equal as it concerned race.

In one day, this will be over. I’m not good at prognosticating and have no idea what a Trump term will look like, but I have high hopes. I’m as hopeful now as anyone was eight years ago. The tables are just turned in the opposite direction. I know there are many people who are not pleased with the election of Donald Trump, just as I, and many others, were not pleased with the election of Barack Obama. However, to wish and hope for anything other than complete success is like hoping the pilot of the airplane you’re riding crashes just because you don’t like him. Just as I have prayed for President Obama, I hope you’ll join me in praying for the incoming President Trump.

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8atFjvN488s

 

The Legitimate President

Normal:    adj. – conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected;  noun – the usual, average, or typical state or condition

Normalization:   noun – the process of bringing or returning something to a normal condition or state

Divisive:   adj. – tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people causing them to separate into different groups

(Hold on to these definitions. You’ll need them later.)

 

In reading the news today, I’ve learned that at least 28 members of congress have chosen not to attend the Presidential Inauguration of Donald J. Trump this Friday. Their comments indicate this is in support of fellow Congressman John Lewis, D-GA, regarding remarks he made indicating his belief that Trump was not “a legitimate president” that resulted in Trump’s Tweet advising the Congressman to worry about his own district. The 28 members are in a tizzy over this and have chosen to stay home Friday.

I can have fun with this for days!

Let’s begin with the article (linked below) from ABC News writer Jennifer Hansler. In paragraph four, she states that there are “messages of support for (Congressman) Lewis from both sides of the aisle.” Yet, in the entire article, only quotes from Democrats are cited. A list appears at the end of the article naming all 28 members who have decided not to attend the Inauguration ceremony – all Democrats. I’m waiting to see exactly what the “other side of the aisle” has to say.

Then we must consider Congressman Lewis’ “(il)legitimate president” remark. As a US Congressman, one would like to believe that Lewis is familiar with The Constitution, including Article II, Section 1, as well as Amendments XII and XXV. I say “would like to believe” since I personally know many junior high, high school, and former students who are, indeed, quite familiar with these points. These students also fully understand that the popular vote is irrelevant as it concerns the official outcome. Only the Electoral College is significant. And if you, like Congressman Lewis, don’t understand that, you probably don’t need to be a congressman. The Congressman has every right to dislike and disagree with President-Elect Trump, but unless he is just too stupid or stubborn to read and interpret The Constitution correctly, he has no foundation to call Trump anything other than “Mr. President-Elect.”

Finally, we must meditate on the words “normalization” and “divisive.” These terms have been batted about frequently. One source indicated that the word “divisive” is actually in the top 10% of words used today. How did that happen?

Consider what the words means (go ahead and look back at them, I’ll wait). If “normal” means a standard that you expect, and it is typical; and “normalization” means working to return the situation to that condition, then it’s no wonder that the situation is divisive and people are hostile toward others. The real question is, who is causing the division? If it is “normal” for congressmen to attend the Inauguration, isn’t it divisive to refuse to attend?

When Barack Obama took office, I had access to quality health care and insurance to cover my health care needs. My husband had a great job, and we lived comfortably. I was not afraid to drive into major cities, or anywhere else. Schools still taught children to compute mathematical equations efficiently and how to read a variety of writing styles. Americans could freely travel around the world without fear of impunity. That was normal.

For eight long and painful years, liberals have used the press and uneducated sheep to change our “normal” to something radically different. “Normal” has apparently taken on the definition of “if I want something the government must give it to me, even if it means they go into further debt.” It means “I don’t have to work or earn anything, I’m simply entitled to receive it.” Normal now implies that “if you don’t agree with everything I believe, you are wrong.” Now that so many are entrenched in this new version of normal, they are in great fear of losing it. They seem to have forgotten what a normal America once looked like.

That might make the reader think that those causing division are the ones seeking the older version of normal, but the opposite is actually true. When Obama won the presidency eight years ago, there was no significant boycott of the Inauguration. Even this conservative teacher sat with students as we watched the ceremonies. Congressmen of both parties were in attendance, and they continued to be at other significant events over the last eight years.

On Friday at noon EST, the president-elect will be sworn into office. This will take place at the same location it’s been held for decades. I didn’t agree with anything Barack Obama did as the president, but he was still my president. I chose not to be divisive. Like so many conservative friends, I remained vocal with my opinions and acted to bring about the principles in which I believe. I was not once pleased with the president, but I respected the office, if not the officer. Unfortunately, reporters such as Jennifer Hansler continue to perpetrate this division with their inaccurate statements. If you refuse to be there, Congressman Lewis and friends, who is really being divisive?

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/28-democratic-congress-members-plan-skip-inauguration/story?id=44783997

 

God Bless the Teachers

This week, I encountered a teacher who has become frustrated with himself and the work that he does. For reasons I don’t quite understand, he seems to feel that in order to be successful at the art of teaching, he must also be an expert within that field. I tried my best to explain to him why this is not necessary, but I don’t think I reached him. Because I know he reads my articles, I’m addressing this here, but I’m hopeful that other teachers who feel the same way will be encouraged also.

In my lifetime, I’ve had teachers who ranged in skill level between the unbelievably incredible all the way to “should never darken the door of a classroom.” Some of those teachers have been so inspiring that they completely altered my way of thinking forever. Others have provided numerous reasons to visit the lavatory or take a nap.

Because of the way I’ve always observed teachers as they teach, I’ve learned a great deal about this craft. The skill level it takes to be a great teacher, or even a good teacher, is astronomical. It takes much more than just being knowledgeable of the subject matter. You also have to understand how the learner learns, how to break down difficult and complex tasks into smaller, achievable steps, and you must have the patience of Job. Those are just a few of the requirements necessary; there are far too many to list here.

My teacher friend has each of these skills, but he doesn’t think so. In his field, he is the equivalent of an elementary school teacher. In his environment there are few teachers around who are doing the same job (and most of those who do are bad at it). Most of his colleagues in the field could be considered middle and high school level teachers. Recently, he has encountered the types of teachers similar to those at the collegiate and post-graduate level. After a conversation with him, I felt that he was trying to compare himself to those teachers. Oh, how I wish he would not! There are so many faults with this.

First, when we compare ourselves to others, we most often compare our very worst to their very best. I, too, have been guilty of this, even though I know that it accomplishes nothing more than making me feel defeated. Second, when we compare ourselves, we often forget that others may have years more experience or a different skill set than we have. So we try to take someone who is naturally gifted at something and wonder why we aren’t able to accomplish as much in the same field as they are. The years of experience someone has spent studying their craft cannot be overestimated. While it doesn’t always equal success, it can result in a higher level of achievement.

The other thing that concerns me about my friend is that he seems to think that because he is “only” an elementary school level teacher, he is not as valuable as the upper level teachers. Nothing could be further from the truth! NOTHING! Think for a moment about the elementary school teacher who taught you to read. He or she must have done well at their craft, or you would not have been able to read this essay. How is that teacher less valuable than the teacher who taught me to compute algebraic equations? It was an elementary school teacher who taught me that a subject, verb, and appropriate modifiers were necessary to construct a sentence. How exactly is the high school level teacher who taught me how to interpret Shakespeare more significant?

Any decent study of the importance of education will address the integral nature of the educational foundation. What happens in the first few years of learning will impact everything the student learns as they mature, either for the good or bad. The students who were not adequately taught to compute simple mathematical problems when they were young are now the clerks at the fast food restaurant who can’t make correct change when their register doesn’t work.

Teaching at the beginning level is not easy, though. In order for students to learn a new skill, the teacher must have an arsenal of means to share the same information in a thousand different ways, only one of which will make sense to the learner. No two students fit into the same cookie cutter mold. This requires an unfathomable amount of patience, even more if the new learners are adults rather than children.

When adults are learning a new skill, they also have an arsenal of “stuff” that keeps them from learning it. Will their personal life prohibit them from practicing the skill as often as needed? Will past failures limit their willingness to try new things? Will they be discouraged by an unkind word from someone they respect? Will they have a multitude of seemingly reasonable excuses to miss classes? Will events in their life prohibit them from being completely focused while you are trying to instruct them? While these are often problems identified in young learners, adults have them in greater amounts due only to our age.

Dear friend, fellow teacher, do not be discouraged! If you want to get better at what you do, and you should, then study your craft more. Take classes, schedule private sessions, read, and study. One of my own great weaknesses has been in “spreading myself too thin.” By trying to be successful at many things, I become only average at all of them. This may be an issue for you also.

If you want to be really good at something, then invest in yourself and your craft. In case no one has ever told you this, you are worth the investment in you. I’ve invested in you for years because I believe in your value. Unless and until you give me reason to change my mind, I will never stop. While a lack of innate skills may prohibit you from being as successful in your chosen field as you would like, it does not diminish your ability to teach the subject. And teaching is a very valuable art.

As a young college student, someone tried to dissuade me from becoming a teacher with the miserable saying, “Those who can’t, teach.” This almost made me change my major. I wanted to be very good at whatever I did, and this horrid statement devalued the gift, art, and science of teaching. With almost 30 years of professional teaching on my resume, I can say unapologetically that teachers are some of the most talented people to grace this planet. No doctor, lawyer, businessman, movie star, singer, professional truck driver, manager, seamstress, Waffle House waitress, rocket scientist, author, or dancer would be where they are today without a great teacher who set the foundation of their education.

Thank you, sweet friend, for being a great teacher.

 

~Temerity Dowell

How’s Your Christmas?

How bad is your Christmas season?

Have you spent all your money? Were you not able to get the perfect gift you wanted for someone special? Are you completely exhausted from all the shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, decorating, holiday greetings, and gay happy meetings? Have you already started to gain those extra pounds, and it’s not even Christmas yet? Are you already beginning to dread January when the decorations come down, the credit card bills roll in, and the weight has to come off your hips somehow?

Christmas, and the holiday season in general, is not always a happy time. There are real, legitimate stressors that come with the season. Each of us is guilty of a time when we slapped on a smiling face and endured some event, dinner, party, gift, etc. that we didn’t really want to deal with. Just how bad is it really?

I know one mom whose daughter was killed in a tragic car accident just a few weeks ago. She was so excited about celebrating Christmas with her daughter this year. How bad is your Christmas?

One dear friend is walking through just the second Christmas without her husband of nearly 50 years. A young mom of three sons is also facing her second Christmas without her husband. Just how bad is your Christmas?

A new wife is spending her first Christmas alone. Her husband of just seven months is deployed and is serving in the Middle East. How hard is this season for you?

A former business owner, who was highly respected in his field, is in jail this year. He was guilty of the crime and has accepted his punishment, but he has lost his business, his prestige, influence, and many of his friends. So, how bad is your Christmas season?

His wife has spent this time determining how to pay the mortgage, how to eat, who she can trust, and which family members should not be told about the situation. How tough is it at your house?

One sweet mother of four children has recently been diagnosed with a mental illness that includes symptoms of severe and inexplicable anxiety. The lovely Christmas holidays her family has come to appreciate in the past are now impossible for her to replicate. She cannot endure sitting in a room of people during the Christmas programs her children are in at school. She cannot have a lot of people in her home for a party. Christmas shopping at the stores and a cup of coffee with a friend are out of the question now. How difficult is your situation?

One fellow MoM* lost her Marine last week. He had a heart attack. He was the picture of health (He was a Marine!) and was on his way home to see her. How bad is your Christmas now?

This sounds so depressing, and I apologize, dear reader. My intention was not to make my readers feel guilty. I truly hope you are celebrating the best Christmas season you’ve ever had! Along the way, I encourage you to be sensitive to people around you.

As people are grieving, they go through different phases, or steps, of the process (grief is a process). While you may not understand where they are in the journey, try to be sensitive to their needs. This can really be as simple as catching her sitting in a quiet corner at a party, rather than visiting with friends. Walking over with a warm cup of cider and an encouraging word would be appropriate. If you see her trying to escape before the tears start flowing, helping her with her coat and bag would be very helpful. Sometimes just taking his hand and giving it a squeeze is enough to let a friend know that you care about him. A wink at a friend across the room can speak a thousand words of comfort and encouragement.

Nearly everyone I know has admitted to having to endure, rather than enjoy, something at Christmas. Some of us have had to do more than endure, but have had to bear, the Christmas season. Keep your eyes open. Sometimes, they may just need a smile and hug to help them get through the day. Hugs and smiles make great Christmas gifts.

 

~Temerity Dowell

 

*Mother of a Marine

Power

The strangest series of events in the past few weeks has led me to seek out powerful, intelligent, funny, witty, and wise women, throughout history, who have been in the public eye. I’m not at liberty to explain why I’ve embarked on this journey, but I can say that it has already yielded some interesting information.

When we think of “powerful women,” each of us has a completely different mental image of who the quintessential powerful woman is. Some might think of women who are in movies, television, or music. Of course, the examples in that category are as diverse as Bette Midler, Beyoncé, Susan Sarandon, Janet Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Aniston, Ingrid Bergman, Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, and Meryl Streep.

The political arena gives us Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Princess Diana, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Nancy Pelosi. Each of these women has a different set of skills, different character, a different style, different mannerisms, different views, and different philosophies. Yet, they all have one thing in common – power.

What defines their power? From where did this power come? Is it real, or is it just perceived to exist? Who has it, and who can get it? To answer these, one first has to know what power is. According to Merriam-Webster, “powerful” is defined: “having the ability to control or influence people or things: having a strong effect on someone or something: having or producing a lot of physical strength or force.”

When Debbie Allen, of Fame fame, steps on a Broadway stage, she takes command of the room. She has appeared in television programs, movies, and Broadway shows. Allen is an actress, singer, choreographer, writer, teacher, business owner, director, and producer. This 66-year-old woman has a résumé that few can mirror, she is well respected throughout her industry, and hundreds of performers owe the start of their career to her. She is power personified.

How?

A quick perusal of Allen’s biography revealed that, as a child, her mother demanded that Debbie and her siblings have a strong work ethic. They were not excused from household responsibilities, school work, or excellent behavior for any reason. When Debbie was denied acceptance into a North Carolina dance school as a child, the reason was clearly racist in nature. Yet, her mother did not even excuse this and told Debbie that she had to work harder. So she did. Note to self: part of your power must derive from your willingness to work; accept responsibility; never blame anyone for your failure but yourself.

Further reading revealed that, after acting on the stage in New York, Allen went to California and began working in television shows, and later, movies. This move gave her more name recognition and opened many more opportunities to her. Note to self: don’t be afraid of change; don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself.

After already attaining huge successes as a dancer, singer, and actress, Allen began directing, and later producing, television shows and movies. She eagerly accepted the task of directing the series “A Different World” after its first season had been a flop. Allen developed the characters and plot lines and took on more significant issues that college students were facing. She made the show more real. Note to self: don’t accept the status quo when you know there is something better.

In a field in which the average female performer is 5’5’’, she is only 5’2” tall, but Debbie Allen is far more than average! If she ever did allow her size, shape, gender, or race to affect her actions, you wouldn’t know it. Regardless of her physical limitations, Allen maintained that work ethic instilled in her by her mother and continued to work.

Body image really is in our head. Of course, discrimination abounds today, especially for women. Women get older while men become more distinguished. Women become stiff and weak while men are suffering from an old football injury. When it comes to sex discrimination and body image, women clearly face the uphill battle. So, what? Get over it! Note to self: my physical limitations are only as bad as I allow them to be.

When Debbie was a young girl, her mother often told her to “be true, be beautiful, and be free.” What you think about, you bring about. Debbie grew up realizing how important it was to accept responsibility, to work hard, and to be true. In her adulthood she continued this by not being afraid of hard work, of change, or to reinvent her skill set. She refused to accept “no” for an answer, or to continue to do things the same way when she could do them better. Nothing stood in her way. She developed her short stature into a powerful, commanding presence.

From where does power come? It comes from our self. We can choose to be powerful, or not. We can choose to work hard, to accept responsibility, and to never accept the bad as the normal. We can choose to be powerful. My power comes from within me.

 

~Temerity Dowell