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African American Basketball Believe black blogger Black History Month Blessings Blog Blogging Lessons Life Motivational Perseverance Perspective Positive Strength Thinking Thoughts Work

What LeBron James New Record Setting Milestone Taught Me

On Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, it finally happened. A convincingly unbreakable record held for 38 years was broken, and a new record was set that is on-going. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am talking about LeBron James becoming the All-Time Leading Scorer of the NBA regular season.

Basketball is my favorite sport. Although I was not good enough to make an organized team until joining a summer intramural league in college, I watched basketball on tv since maybe three (maybe before then). You could say I have been a part of basketball culture my whole life. Not just on the court, but I also follow my favorite NBA players off the court as well. And with the evolution of social media my algorithms seem to fix itself on the NBA players of old, present, and new.

Then there’s LeBron James. A man who lived up to the hype before suiting up for his first NBA career game. A man who revolutionized the game, a one-of-a-kind who will be hard to duplicate. What amazes me the most is he’s 38 years old playing like he’s 23. Very few players made it to 20 seasons. LeBron, on the other hand, is in his 20th season as we speak playing like he has 10 more in him.

What has LeBron James new record setting milestone taught me during this Black History Month of 2023? The answer comes in the form of a question. It is what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve greatness in your career, hobby, passion, etc.? You see most of us talk about it but never put in the effort to get started while some of us live in it but don’t have the discipline to get to the next level. Others have luck with little effort and plenty of representation while the remainder actually master their craft.

I have been following LeBron’s career for some time now. What he does during the offseason in preparation for the upcoming season proves why he reaps the benefits of his labor. Luck, namesake, and representation has little to do with how he made it to number 1. I see persistence, discipline, knowledge, understanding, purpose, and evolution in his possession.

This milestone has taught me no obstacle is impossible to conquer when you have the drive to succeed. Despite the odds, we can achieve the impossible whether it happens in our youth or old age. Sometimes we have to make moves that better our chances for success in this life.

Another lesson I have learned from this milestone is failure is inevitable, but no matter how many times we lose to it, we get back up and keep trying until something good happens. With each failure, we must learn and evolve. And even after victory, we keep going to setting new records for the next generation to witness. We know our limits and work with them to reach the ultimate goal of success. Maintaining that tunnel-vision focus that blocks all doubters and critics, how much are we really willing to sacrifice to be the best at what we do?

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2022 Blog Blogging Christian Faith Happy Holidays Healing Health Lifestyle New Year New Year Resolution Thoughts Year in Review

A Think Piece on Sunday #5: My 2023 Prayer for You

Written By: Preston Thompson

First, Happy New Year!

2022 is over and our New Year’s resolution did not go as planned. It started out well with hope, ambition, and determination, but somewhere in the year those traits gradually decline. Before we knew it, the 2022 Holiday Season was here while our resolutions from the beginning of the year never got out of the first steps. No big deal! 2022 was not our year, but 2023 will be!

Year after year we set New Year’s Resolution to better our lives. This year will be the year we lose weight, eat better, exercise more, get those numbers down at the annual physical, find a better job, get a promotion, start a business, start a side hustle, be a better person, improve our mental health, work on clearing debt, the list goes on. From there, once we accomplish our resolutions for the year it hopefully becomes a lifestyle.

Like the average person who have real lives, we started strong in January 2022. By Spring 2022, we began to drop out one by one. We became good at our resolutions when the first results were good, but when the results became consistent our efforts began to decrease. What happened? Year after year we get to a certain point within the resolution then stop. What is missing that have us making the same resolution every year only to see little to no improvements in our lives?

Well, it is quite simple. For 2023 I pray you find discipline in your resolution when it gets tougher. I also pray that comfort does not overtake change. Let us talk about it!

Discipline is what separates the achievers from the stragglers. When we set a goal to do something better with our lives, discipline will keep us grounded. It makes us come back repeatedly despite the odds against us in achieving our goals. Discipline will make us study early and often. It reminds us why we chose this resolution and what the end goal will be.

As our resolutions get tougher, the results begin to differ from what they were in the beginning. They become delayed, consistent, and/or diminished. For a discipline person in his or her resolution that means adjusting or working harder to achieve their resolution’s reward. An undisciplined person to their resolution becomes easily intimidated when the resolution does not produce satisfactory results thus becoming submissive to his or her own comfort. This same person is also more likely to give up on their resolution when they receive satisfactory results rather than continuing to make it their new lifestyle. Why is that?

Comfort is easier than change. We can be so comfortable in our lifestyle that it is easy to fall back into it when changes become tough. This is because we know the results of our comfort and know how it makes us feel, comfortable. Even in our New Year’s Resolutions we can achieve our resolutions, and rather than making them a lifestyle, we go back to what has been comfortable throughout our lives. In addition, we can begin a resolution that is a change from what has been comfortably but not beneficial in our lives, become discouraged by the results and go back to comfort.

Whether you are the new year new me, leaving behind the negativity in 2022 and steppin’ on necks all 2023, or New Year’s New Gym Members type of resolution person, I pray you keep going in your resolution all 2023. And if the change becomes the opposition, keep going in your resolution because you could be closer to reaching your 2023 goals. Just know you are not alone on this journey; you have an entire network who wants the best version of you in all of 2023.

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Blog Blogging Love November Thankful Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Written by: Preston Thompson

I would like to take the time out to be thankful. I am thankful every day, but to go with the theme of Thanksgiving, I figured I wanted to express my thankfulness with writing and blogging.

First and foremost, I would like to thank God for granting me life daily and gifting me with the means to write. Next, I am thankful for my wife and son who always support me through my dreams for our family. They are my biggest supporters, and we love each other equally. I am excited to be on this journey with you and look forward to the future. There is no other way I want to spend Thanksgiving to be with you now and forever. To my mom, sister, and family members who are also my biggest supporters, I thank you all. I wish I could sit here and name each and every one of you, but that would take up so much space and time. So, I thank you all. To my in-laws, thank you for taking me in as one of your own. To my friends, thank you for always being there for me as I have returned the favor. To my job, thank you for working with me during the good and difficult times and allowing me to utilize my Chemistry degree with silicone chemistry. My home church, thank you for supporting me. I know I have not been around since my grandparents died, but just know I have each of you in my heart and use your teachings to live a good life. And last but not least, to all my Book of Think Pieces fans and supports, thank you. Yes, we are small, but small with quality is good enough for me. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

And to anyone I missed, thank you all for being a part of my life. On this Thanksgiving Day, I pray you all have peace as you are celebrating this day with your loved ones. Even if you cannot be there this year, just think of all the good times you have and make an effort to be with them someday in the future.

I thank you all for the support. Please take care of yourself, your mental health and each other.

The end.

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2022 Anniversary Believe black blogger Blog Blogging Getaway Hope Life Motivational Thinking Writing

My Time Away from Blogging

Written By: Preston A. Thompson

It has been two months since I posted a new blog. Two months since I unintentionally took a leave of absence from what I love to do: writing and blogging.

It just happened, no real explanation to it. Commuting to work every day I thought about my next series of blogs, but never got a chance to sit and write them down. I don’t know, my best guess is life got busier, and writing took a backseat in my mind.

One would think after the success of my last blog “A Think Piece of Sunday #4: If I Told You One of Your Biggest Blessings was a Rejection, Would You Believe Me?” I would post more frequently. Catching the next wave before the wave I was riding settled, but that did not happen. One of the downsides of when your side hustle is not your main hustle, time.

Please note I had no personal issues during my absence. In fact, my time away has been great! Spending it with family and friends, running behind my son, visiting a new city (thank you for a great time, Raleigh and Apex, NC), attending a Lizzo concert with my wife and family in Atlanta, celebrating Halloween with matching family costumes, learning new things, all of this served as a much-needed getaway. Not a getaway from blogging, but a getaway from my normal Monday through Friday. Time used to enjoy other parts of my life.

Although blogging and writing was not included during the last two months, I had it on my mind daily. Now, I am back! The pencil and notebook are here, the laptop is ready, and the brainstorming is forecasted to be strong. My dedication has been revived to a new level. I am excited to share with the world more of my thoughts and perspectives. I still want to see how far I can go with this blogging. Crafting every part of its future success, it’s the ambition in me that drives my passion for writing.

As I close out this quick blog, I want to thank you all for the follow. I am so excited I have 50 subscribers in my first year of blogging, I thank you all. Please feel free to like and comment on any blog post I have. Share with others that you know. And if you like what you see on my site and want to come along on this journey…join The Book of Think Pieces family by subscribing. Have a great Sunday.

Preston T.

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African American black black blogger black family Blog Blogging Family Perspective Thoughts Travel Writing

Before You Trade in Culture for Corporate, You Might Want to Think Twice

Written By: Preston A. Thompson

               On the last week of July of this year my family and I traveled to Aiken, South Carolina for a family reunion consisting of extended family from my grandfather’s parents (my great-grandparents) bloodline. And let me tell you, we had a great time. And…what I enjoyed the most about it is the family reunion was a traditional family reunion.

               Yes! A traditional family reunion like the ones you saw on TV and/or attended once in your life. Set at Odell Week’s Park we gathered under a pavilion set in the middle of the park. The temperature was around 88, but a few clouds, a pavilion, and plenty of trees kept up somewhat cool. The tradition was there; grilled food, distant cousins of every generation, laughing, taking pictures, older family members dancing to old school black family music, family reunion t-shirts, the “Wobble” and the “Electric Slide,” did a Tik Tok video (not all of us), and played games like cornhole, spades, uno, chess, checkers, sac racing. From our oldest living family member to the newborns, it was the perfect family bounding experience we needed. The family love we shared on that warm Saturday afternoon in July was special. It was like the family reunion never took a hiatus for a few years. Tradition mixed with the new age. It is something every family member should experience especially if you come from a big extended family like myself.

               On the way home I thought about my first blog. Just to summarize, I questioned if black families may have inadvertently lost its traditional role in today’s black culture and if social media contributed to it. From my perspective the internet became more prevalent and affordable in our everyday lives over the last two or three decades, and our methods of staying connected benefitted from it. Before we knew it our culture became consumed with the digital era perks as new information became consumer’s knowledge in less time (sometimes as soon as it happened) with the help of smartphones. My opinion was avid posting left little to no surprise value, so the need to be present for events like the annual family reunion is not as important as it once was. Also, we as a culture are busier than ever and have moved longer distances from family. It’s not that we avoided family gatherings on purpose, it could be we just don’t have the desire to make the long trip when smartphones and social media makes it so much easier to send information to family from the comfort of our own homes.

               Then I started to think about how corporate has really taken over in our society which sometimes push culture to the side. I am starting to experience this trend in one parts of my everyday life. Corporate is all about making money and managing your time to continue to make more money. It is work hard now so later you can “maybe” climb up the corporate latter with the possibility of living the financial life you deserve. It is the if it’s not making you money then it’s wasting your time. Sleep when the work is done (if I wrote this blog in 2012, I would have call this #TeamNoSleep). It is gain, gain, gain. Increase, increase, increase. Expand, expand, expand at all costs.

               Corporate is not all bad, don’t get me wrong. Going corporate is a form of business growth and recognition. For starters it is our way to earn a larger income. There are promotions and awards for your hard work. Growth is there in corporate. New opportunities await you each day. The chance to prove your worth is unmeasurable depending on where your company values are.

               Although this is great for business, going corporate can usher in a competitive environment. Who does what better and why does this group or person deserve more of your business? Businesses scramble to prove their worth over the competition sometimes doing whatever it takes to claim that number 1 spot which is determined mainly by yearly revenue over quality of work. If it means working long hours and staying open 24/7, then it will happen with no regards for how the actual workers feel. At this point corporate loses the personal relationships that culture developed and replace it with a business relationship.  This makes it easier to replace anyone who does not live up to corporate’s expectations. No matter how great or unproductive of a worker you are, you can still be let go. Only those who fully invest their lives into corporate can handle this lifestyle. To go fully into corporate, they are willing to sacrifice their culture (even friendships) for a corporate life.

               Then, there is culture. Proud, colorful, family-oriented, country-specific, ethnicity-driven, knowledgeable, traditional, fashionable, and marketable just to name a few. It’s what defines us, especially as African Americans. From our hairstyle to our personality to the clothes we wear, culture is always there. It holds tradition and keeps us in line with our roots. Culture gives us a reason to unify and identify with others who share the same or similar culture in a world where we are the minority. In the past corporate was able to separate itself from culture by creating handbook rules that told you how to dress, what you can listen to, and even how to talk. But when talent left for corporations that accepts their cultural side, you started to see corporate allow some culture to be on its premises. And what caused the change that made corporate loosen up on its rules regarding culture? Take a wild guess…it’s the loss of money and seeing other corporations that allowed a little culture to have positive impact on their earnings. In a sense culture does not have to follow the market like how corporate does.

We can turn our backs on culture, but it will always be there with open arms and a forgiving spirit. There are no cutting ties from it because if you were born into culture, it will always be there by your side. No matter how much money you make, you move up the corporate ladder, you move up in class, or busier you become, a part of you will still have culture on the inside.

               So, before you make that decision I must ask, are you sure you want to trade in your culture to become corporate? How much of your culture do you want to sacrifice just to become corporate? If you built certain aspects of your life with culture initially involvement, would you later regret it if corporate no longer wants you around?

               A think piece for you to think about: Where corporate will move on from you, culture will move with you.

Reference

  1. Thompson, P 2021, ‘Has the Traditional Black Family Become Disconnected in Today’s Black Culture: A Perspective’, The Book of Think Pieces., no. 1, posted 16 June 2021, <https://wordpress.com/post/bookofthinkpieces.com/71&gt;.
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Blogging Hobby Hope Lessons Milestone Motivational Thankful Work Writing

After 100 Likes

If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me say this again. We love to celebrate milestones here at The Book of Think Pieces no matter how big or small it maybe. It takes courage to share your work with the world, so each milestones builds onto our encouragement. It encourages us to keep blogging, keep promoting our work, don’t give up. That major milestone is coming one day, but for now, let’s celebrate every milestone like we won a championship.

The newest milestone to add to the list is 100 likes! It took a year and almost a month to reach this milestone. With more followers, 20-something blog post, an iPhone, and advertising each blog through social media with no actual page, it’s safe to say this particular milestone means I am doing something right with this blogging.

Most important, I did not reach this milestone on my own. YOU, yes YOU, made this possible. My wife and son who are my inspiration to keep writing. My extended family’s who support me. My friends, coworkers, and subscribers. Thank you all for reading and liking my work.

After 100 likes I believe promoting my work has become easier. At first I had to give myself a “you can do this” pep talk just to share on Facebook. Too focus on the “what ifs” I would often delay sharing when all I needed to do was share and send. I put too much emphasis on writing a caption thinking this would capture my followers attention. Now, after I finish a blog, I keep my captions short with a link. The right people will click and like. And…Twitter played a big part to promoting my work. #Writerslift and #bloggertribe really came through. It helped me network with other bloggers and content creators in return for support of their work.

Still growing, still learning, but most importantly, enjoying the blogging journey. Closing out I encourage all content creators to not get discouraged when your best does not get likes. Keep working hard, and one day you will see your hard work has finally paid off.

Thank you all for the likes,

Preston T.

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Blog Blogging Hope Lessons Milestone Opportunity Perseverance Perspective Positive Sunday Thankful Thinking Work Writing

After 20 Post

Hello readers! I took a little time off from writing to be even closer to my family and friends while working at my primary. June was a month of celebrations for us, so taking a step back from writing blogs happened naturally.

I got this notification a few weeks ago thinking to myself “Me reaching 20 post? Can this be real?” And to answer my own question, yes!

What this new milestone taught me was my writing to posting evolution and producing quality work. When I started this blog I may have been too structured, meaning I only wrote and posted what I planned for. Writing a blog on paper one week, proofreading then typing to posting within a month. Calculating every step from the brainstorm beginning to the post ending only to realize when life happens, it often caused delays. Blog post kept being pushed back to later times in order to satisfy some of life’s demands and failing to meet my own dates more times than what I anticipated. Then more topics to blog about would surface in my brain. Before I knew it, I had all sorts of ideas that remained as thoughts only for some to make it to paper while others never had its title written down.

I noticed most bloggers I follow post at least 3 blogs a month or more, some one a daily or a few a week. I asked myself how can I post more? I cannot make blogging my primary at the moment, but I do want to maintain momentum in writing and catch every open opportunity to enjoy my hobby. I have an audience, no need to sit on blogs if I am trying to grow. That’s when I started to skip physical writing on pencil and paper, and started typing my blogs when I felt this think piece need to get published in a short amount of time. Free of the structured restraints I set myself up for I started to see post published within a week. Then life happens, and those free writings would stay saved on my laptop longer than I originally planned. Some of those writings would later be deleted because I found myself missing the time I wanted to post. The topics only worked for trends, i.e. something that happened during a certain time where if I waited too late to post about it, the world and my audience moved on from what was trending, and I would be posting about it when it’s no longer interesting. Aww, the struggles of juggling different lives while maintaining a little free time for myself is no joke.

Which lead me to an even quicker time of blogging that I call bypass blogging. Yes, bypass blogging (I hope no one else thought of this name although I am sure the majority of writers and bloggers do their work like this). We take our smartphones with us everywhere, right? With family and work time in addition to trying to stay healthy while getting a good night’s sleep I do not always have the time to sit down and write a blog. So when I notice I have a little free time I work on my blogs from my smartphone. I can be on lunch break at work and complete a few paragraphs of a blog, save, and finish later. Or, I can be at home or in another town without having to carry my laptop everywhere. My phone is quick and easy, and the app is there for me to type. I found myself starting a blog, completing, and posting on the same day. Quick and easy, just like how society wants everything to be nowadays. I would bypass pencil and paper just to post a quick blog

What started out as structured, by the book writing-to-blogging evolved into different styles of how to post a blog in a timely manner while living my life. I am still learning as a blogger to improve my craft. I take a free course from time to time to improve my writing skills so I can present quality blogs to this blog site. I even seek inspiration from other bloggers when they post improvement blogs for new and experienced bloggers. If I had it my way then blogging would be pencil to paper, editing to typing, final reading to posting type blogging. The process of writing on paper to publishing means more to me than a quick post. I value the time it takes to create a good quality blog rather than posting a large quantity of blogs

Here’s to 20 post! Whether I started a blog from scratch or created a quick blog in a day, I am proud of the blogs I post. More blogs will be posted in the future. Before I close, I leave this advice to anyone starting out in blogging or doing any type of work. Whether you can create 20 products in a month or a year, work at a pace that will benefit you. Sometimes we look at other’s work and become intimidated when they produce faster than we can. It will cause us to question our own work efficiencies especially when others begin to criticize our work or say we could be more productive at work if we did this better, faster, or work like their top worker. Like a wise co-worker once told me,:

“There will always be someone who works faster than you, and there will always be someone who works slower than you. There will always be someone smarter than you, and there will always be someone not as smart as you. But the most important thing you can control is you, and that’s all that matters.”

What this means is faster and smarter does not equal work proficiency. You can be the fastest worker on the job making the most of your time, and still produce poor results. Or you can be the fastest on the job and still make costly mistakes, and vice versa. Your quality of work has no correlation to the work quantity (volume) you can produce. So, work at a pace that works best for you and focus more on producing good quality work.

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African American Anniversary black black blogger black family Blog Blogging Family New Opportunity Secrets Thinking Thoughts Uncategorized

Has The Traditional Black Family Become Disconnected in Today’s Black Culture: A Perspective

Written By:  Preston A. Thompson

When thinking about black culture several things come to mind.  Hip-Hop, R&B, Gospel, barbershops, inventors, businesses, educators, scholars, Black Twitter, just to name a few.  However, we forget about how important the black family is to our culture.  Yes, the black family has always been at the heart of our culture.  It is where our genetic makeup originates and explains where we contribute to the culture bringing our own unique styles and personalities.  It is more than just relatives descended from two people several generations ago, but also our pride and joy, number one support system, and sometimes guilty weakness.

               The Silent Generation has been the upkeep of the black family.  A skill crafted by their parents who learned it from the generations before.  Now, the Silent Generation has passed it to the Baby Boomers who will pass it to Generation X in hopes for the tradition to carry on to Millennials and Gen Z.  That family bond hangs on the balance despite living in a world that is everchanging.

               In the 2010s the world as we knew it advanced in technology.  Smartphones became smarter, social media occupied our time, streaming TV and music became popular, the internet got faster, communication gained more ways to remain connected, computers became a part of our everyday lives, Amazon hurt malls without opening a brick-and-mortar, the list goes on.  The 2010s also changed our thoughts and social trends.  The computer teens are now the cool kids on campus, self-health (both physical and mental) become top priority, starting a career tops starting a family, should I keep going?

               What does this mean for the traditional black family?  For decades, this group never had to adjust although the world around it did.  Lately, it appears family submitted to an everchanging world.  Let me explain.

               The Millennial Generation values genuine honesty and loyalty in people more than blood relatives.  In fact, if the source of mental pain comes from family, this generation will work to fix the problem rather than cover it up.  When some Millennials rule a family member’s behavior is too toxic to fix, he or she may become less involved to the point of choosing self-happiness over family.  Think about how many times you scrolled through Facebook or read an article exposing toxic behaviors in his or her own family?  I have seen too many, especially on Twitter.  I also listened to family, friends, and colleagues in my age group talk about behaviors their family have and how nothing is done to change it.

               I first noticed this change in the mid-2010s.  One night at work I was casually strolling through Facebook when an older family member’s post caught my attention.  The post was concerned about the black family and how it was not the same in comparison to when she was younger.  She stated black families once depended on one another and were close.  Family always got together and enjoyed each other’s company.  Parents never had to worry about who would take care of their children because family was always available and willing to help when needed.  She then mentioned today her children do not know their own cousins.  Even in family’s presence the children and adults are on their phones not engaging with one another.  Some act like they do not want to be around their own family.  You cannot even get a good turnout for family reunions these days.  Of course, I am paraphrasing from the actual post, but you understand.

               This post had me thinking, has the traditional black family changed?  Has the heart of our black culture finally submitted to an ever-changing world?  How could we have allowed this to happen?

               I began to think back to my 90s childhood and 2000s teen years looking for possible clues that may have went unnoticed.  If your childhood was like mine, then you are aware of growing up in the large black family.  Almost every week my intermediate, and sometimes extended family, would have impromptu get togethers.  My grandparents’ house served as the unofficial headquarters.  The amount of family that came in and out of their house were unmeasurable; yet my grandparents enjoyed the company.  Every year during the month of July our extended and distant family would get together in a predetermined city or town for our annual family reunion.  This was the time you caught up with family you have not seen in a year, met newborns, chilled with cousins in your age group, ate, did family activities, hugged everyone goodbye, and said, “I’ll see you next year!  Keep in touch!”

               By the 2000s extended and distant family began to gradually miss family reunions.  As my generation got older most of us moved to cities and towns that were farther away from our hometowns.  The upkeeps of the family got older while several died.  When you add up some of these variables it appeared our family not only changed, but also inadvertently became more distant than before.  By the 2010s family became connected through parents rather than the whole family.  Our big get-togethers that brought the whole family together happened during a relative’s funeral.  The annual family reunions saw a significant decrease in the number of family members attending.  Promises were made to keep in contact, but most were kept through smartphones and social media rather than face to face.  Sure, we use Facebook to like and comment on each other’s life achievements (i.e., graduations, starting a new job, getting married, the birth of a newborn, becoming a homeowner, etc.), but that was all done virtually when we cannot physically be in the same room.  If this sounds like your family, then I may have a few examples to help explain why your traditional black family may have become more distant than you think.

1) Your family lives too far away from each other:

               My grandfather was born and raised in a small town called Johnston, South Carolina.  He got married, started a family, owned a house, worked, retired, and died in Johnston, South Carolina.  His seven children lived in neighboring towns less than 50 miles from Johnston.  This benefitted them because living close to their parents meant they could always make visits and still be able to go home on the same day.  Today, my closest family member is my mother, and we live more than 50 miles apart.  If I want to visit her, I will need to plan a trip even if it is just for a day.

               When family lives long distances away from each other, the dependency on each other suffers.  You have no choice but to become independent although that is not necessarily bad.  In some ways you find out how strong you are without family nearby to provide the immediate help if needed.  This also means you must carry the burden of maintaining your lifestyle should something go wrong.

               Previous generations appeared to be subconsciously bound to their hometown.  Since family was always nearby, someone reliable was always around during those moments of need.  Some family feared moving too far away from family meant if an emergency happened no reliable relative would be close to provide help.

2) The chase for higher education also adopted you into its blended family:

               If you are like me then you also took the traditional path to higher education.  You graduated high school at 17 or 18, went to college a few months later, lived on campus, made friends, joined student organizations, stressed about exams, and received a bachelor’s degree or higher.  However, during those years you did not just receive a degree.  You have also gained more perspectives about life that may not always agree with the family values you were raised on.  The biggest differences can be for the first time in your life you could debate the lessons you are learning, encouraged to think freely, and challenge the status quo of what a culture accepts as opposed to home where your family may have forbidden this type of thinking because it threatens what was established and accepted.

               Whether you attended a HBCU, PWI, Ivy League, technical, or arts college one thing is common you want to belong in a world that is different from your home.  So how do you do this?  The answer is finding a person, group, or organization who represents who you are.  Joining these groups of people will make your college experience more rememberable.  Once you begin to trade ideas and find similarities amongst each other you start to think like the group.  You may begin to reject some of your family values that do not match and replace them with your newfound ideas in hopes of bettering your life after college.

               Although it is great to gain different perspectives, your family may have a hard time accepting the new you.  Maybe they feel being replaced for the organizations you joined while in college feels like you have turned your back on them.  If you and your family cannot come to a compromise, you may find yourself leaning more towards the groups of like interest rather than your own family.

3) Job localization has forced you to move farther away from your family and hometown:

               This example ties examples one and two together.  Now that you have your degree or trade skill you must satisfy it.  The work and effort you put towards it needs to be fulfilled in the form of a good paying job in that field.  This sounds easy, but for many it is not especially if it means moving farther away from your family and hometown.

               Small towns not associated with a city may not have the jobs you are seeking with your degree.  In addition, if it has that type of job, it may not pay as much in comparison to similar jobs in larger metropolitan areas.  For this reason, small towns today are suffering in population and wealth because their talented citizens are moving to cities with better paying jobs.

               Job localization may be the cause of some family separation by distance.  Large corporations and successful private sectors that pay well localized into cities or neighboring towns.  As a result, the talent does not become dispersed, but grouped into these areas which creates long distance relationships with family who are still living in small towns.

4) We have become so connected through smartphones and social media that face-to-face interactions are becoming disconnected:

               When cellphones were first released to the general public no one imagined they would advance into what we know them as today.  Social media is easily accessible with the tap of an app and little to no cost creating a quick way to communicate with virtually anyone.

               Why this maybe a problem for the traditional black family?  Older family members (before Millennials) grew up in a world where family communication was done mostly through face-to-face interactions.  The home telephone was just a way to communicate when they could not see each other.

               Let us think about family reunions and Sunday dinners.  This was the main way older family members really got to hear about what is going on in a relative’s life.  Got engaged?  Before smartphones with video chat, one would have to drive around to all family members he or she liked to show off that ring and fiancée.  Gave birth to a newborn?  Family reunions, Sunday dinners, and church were the places to meet up and show him or her off.  Any other life events?  Telling family over the telephone was one thing, but the anticipation for face-to-face interaction was the preferred method of communication.

               Today all of that can be seen and done in just a few minutes without leaving the house thanks to smartphones and social media.  One can bundle all the liked family members into a group text message and video chat.  So instead of going from house to house or family get-togethers, you can just send a video of your newborn drinking milk.  Even though this is convenient for our generation, this may not always work well for your older family members especially when they feel it is becoming too common.  Remember your older family members are still trying to figure out how to Zoom or Facetime, they are probably just learning how to send emojis.  They still need your physical presence.

               May this explain why the turnout at the annual family reunion decreased over the years.  With everyone owning a smartphone and social media family knows what is going on in your life without you calling considering if you are an avid poster.  With social media constantly trending upward as the main source of news and information daily are family reunions needed if anything you share can be done at the moment it happens?

5) Online articles that expose toxic family members are triggering past hurts caused by family.  The sad part is the victim never fully healed from that episode:

               Family was first and everything in the average traditional black family.  We protected each other through the good and bad, and outsiders had to respect that.  No matter what a relative did that was wrong, we easily forgave (often coerced into it) because that was what the older generations taught us.  Sometimes we painted a perfect picture of toxic family members to others so well we became blind to his or her continual toxic behavior because we believed family could do no wrong to each other.

               Remember when I said the Millennial Generation values genuine honesty and loyalty more than blood?  I find this to be true.  We have a hard time painting an “everything is fine” portrait of our families when toxic traits are excused because of the family first mindset.  With self-health and mental healing being front and center in today’s black culture, we are very truthful about the problems that have once affected us in adverse ways.  If that happens to include hurtful events caused by family in the past, then we tend to pick healing over the perfect family portrait.  Unfortunately, those hurtful events go without justice, and the victim is forced to forgive and forget when in truth we struggle to fully forgive knowing our family will silence us about it.  Not seeking proper help for this creates internal battles we fight with whenever triggers come.  Physical and emotional pain, neglect, abuse, depression, confusion, lack of trust and other emotions plaque our minds when we see a constant reminder at family get-togethers while trying to force a smile just to please older family members.

               The Millennial Generation is using our platform to express ourselves about the things that once hurt us.  Sometimes they can come off as funny, but serious post attracts others who had similar situations.  We find support groups and read online articles about how others overcame traumatizing events.  Sure, this may damage the perfect family image, but the need for affirmation from like minds and support for our healing journey is more freeing.

6) You know your successes are congratulated by family, but you also know some are jealous while cheering you on:

               Not everyone grew up in a well-established family with degrees on the wall, successful careers, generational wealth, etc.  Some of us grew up in families who made sacrifices daily to keep up with life’s demands.  So how does one cousin who grew up in this same family, struggled, shared the same clothes, still found a way to succeed while the rest of the family seem to be stuck in the same situation that has kept them down for years?

               The answer is the hustle and determination paid off in his favor.  He made it and must keep going to maintain that success, and honestly, he may not be able to take the family with him at that moment.  Sadly, it takes one family member to feel like this cousin is not doing enough to give the family credit for more family members to feel the same way.  Jealousy can change the family bond into one that is not genuine.  As this cousin succeeds more in life you may find yourself cheering him on, but deep down inside you also find yourself being jealous that you struggle to duplicate.  Remember, your time will come just like his.  Be happy for him during his moment and keep working towards yours.  Recruiting other family members behind his back just so you can all sit around and talk down about his every move in life only hurts your chances at success.

7) Family rivalries may have made your family distant:

               Sibling rivalries, favorites, the desire to be the first to do it in your family, telling your children to do better than their cousins can all give birth to pride.  If pride does not make you a winner, then comes jealousy.  Keep losing with jealousy, and malice towards your family will control your mind.  This is where you reach the point of finding anything wrong for all the good in any family member’s life, particularly the targeted ones.  Family rivalries do not create strong bonds.  It creates a competitive environment that can only be satisfied with winning.  As a family we should want the best for each other, but we must learn that our very own family is not your competition.  We each bring different talents to the table that can be used to uplift each other.  No one in your family should be your rival.

               Maybe the traditional black family has been distant in this era than in the previous.  However, we have better ways to communicate even if we live far away from each other.  Advancing technology, distance, and communication without physical presence should not harm a family’s bond, but all members should take time to use these tools to build a stronger relationship.  At the same time, we should try to make time to communicate even if it is through texting or Facetime.  Who knows?  When that big gathering happens again it may bring back that traditional black family feel with a new black family trend.  Remember, traditions were once new ideas, and new ideas create new traditions.

Categories
Anniversary Blog Blogging Hobby Motivational Opportunity Perseverance Writing

The Book of Think Pieces is One Year

As I sit here on this balcony outside of Atlanta, GA at 10:56 am listening to Tony! Toni! Toné! song titled Anniversary, my writing senses began to go off. It’s the absolute perfect moment to write a blog. The temperature outside before 11:00 am is 73. The Sun is shining with plenty of clouds in the sky, no rain in the foreseeable future. Several large trees are standing tall adding shade to where I am sitting. You can hear its leaves sounding from the light breeze that gently sways the trees from left to right. Down below, a row of smaller trees maybe no more than 5 feet tall act as a fence separating the homes from the outside.

This is a blissful moment. I am off work today and vacationing for Memorial Day Weekend. No hustle and bustle from its demands. Just me, my family, my music, laptop and the beautiful weather we are experiencing. The only thing missing right now is a frozen coffee, caramel frozen coffee if we are being specific, and brunch. Not to mention I keep staring at the following image:

As I type this blog from my new iPhone while listening to Apple Music’s Classic R&B radio station, I asked myself, “What will I blog about today?” It needs to be something peaceful and tranquil, something to represent being thankful. It also needs to be something quick before this perfect opportunity closes! So, I went to my WordPress homepage and noticed I missed a notification. I clicked on it to see two or three days ago I missed my one year anniversary of registering my site, The Book of Think Pieces, to WordPress!

Wow! I have officially been a blogger for over a year now! Who would have thought? The planning, time, and effort I put into blogging has been a joy. I would not trade it for the world! Reflecting back over the year of blogging I have come a long way. The cheap notebook with an even cheaper mechanical pencil reminds me of the humble beginnings. The blogs I wrote in that notebook at home and while on breaks at work gives me peace and visions of how successful I am becoming. Yes, I am still growing, learning, taking free courses to perfect my craft. I still have plans to keep blogging because I have so many ideas and stories I want to share through this site. As the views and followers continue to come, I am very thankful for each and everyone of you for being apart of this journey. I wish I could do this full-time, but I love what I do for a living outside of writing just as much. Maybe one day there can be a way to combine the two, who knows!

Seeing this achievement gives me even more inspiration to keep writing and pushing the limits one blog at a time. I thank you all once again for visiting my blog. And as they say on TV…

“Stay tuned! There’s more after to come!”

The end.

Categories
Blog Blogging Hobby Hope Lessons Motivational Perseverance Perspective Positive Strength Thankful Thinking Thoughts Work Writing

After 1000 Views, What’s Next?

Written By:  Preston A. Thompson

               Once again, I cannot thank you enough for the views, love, support, and subscriptions to The Book of Think Pieces. This blogging journey has been enjoyable, and I have not hit one year yet! Sure there were some ups and downs, a few setbacks, delays, and plenty of writer’s [bloggers] blocks, but I kept going. I kept seeing the good in this blogger’s world and used it as motivation to keep writing. To Kenya, the country, thank you for your views. Then to #writerslift, #writingcommunity, #blogging, and other creative writer’s hashtags on twitter, I thank you! I did not forget about you previously.

               So, after reaching the 1000 views milestone, what is next for The Book of Think Pieces? What do I have in store for the views and subscribers?

               …Well, the answer is simple. I will keep writing, keep hustling. I will think of more content to blog about. As I mentioned in my previous blog After 1000 Views1 I have to keep blogging because I love to write and keep my main audience engaged. I may write about something that creates a debate, or I may write about my experiences. Maybe write a fictional short story or two. But most importantly, I want to do this because writing is my hobby. I want to keep being original. As I gain more followers, I want to support my fellow bloggers. Most importantly, I want to share my work through promoting online.

               I thank you all again for the views! I attempt to inspire and uplift my viewers through blogging. I also like to give my viewers a unique perspective about several topics. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great day. Stay great and stay positive. Remember, there is only one you in this world, and you only have one life to live, so make the most of you and take care of yourself along this journey we call life.

Be on the lookout for my next blog post coming soon…thank you!

Reference

  1. Thompson, P. (2022, March 26). After 1000 Views. The Book of Think Pieces. https://bookofthinkpieces.com/2022/03/26/after-1000-views/