For the last six months, I have been teaching a class at a career school in Detroit. I must say it has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring experiences I’ve ever had. It has been rewarding because it takes me back to where I came from. I grew up in Detroit near 7 mile. I am one of the few kids who made it to college off of the block I grew up on. Most of the people I grew up with ended up going to jail, selling drugs, dead, in prostitution or stuck in the cycle of poverty. Yes, it feels good to have made it out of a situation with the odds stacked against me. But, the memory of my friends who were left behind never leaves me.
I knew this experience would fulfill my need to give back, but what I didn’t expect was to be so inspired. Many of my students have no job experience, no high school diploma, lots of baby mama/daddy drama, a criminal record, poor living conditions, no transportation and no money. Yet, they have tucked their tails between their legs and are asking for help to get their GED, a trade and a new resume.
My job is to help them develop competencies and the fortitude to push through their circumstances and succeed. This past Thursday, I was conducting a workshop and spent about sixty minutes really digging deep to find the right words to motivate them to acknowledge their biggest roadblocks and leverage their strengths to overcome.
After the class, one man who is in his thirties stood up and said, “Ms. Bettie I get it. I have 30 days left of this year. I need to stop B.S.ing.” After all that, he summed it up and said it better than me.
YES, STOP B.S.ing. That is exactly what most of us need to do.
My students shared that they learned to really get honest with themselves, they admitted they could be so much farther along if they would commit to walking out their “good ideas” consistently. Here are some of the "good ideas" my students are committed to walking out everyday:
- One hates authority, but decided if someone knows more than she does, she will at least listen and learn.
- One is very introverted and not comfortable speaking in public, she is pushing to speak up in class once a day.
- One can’t seem to be conversational during interviews, he practiced at school and secured a job offer in four days.
- One found out her man cheated on her AGAIN, she found a Bible verse to say to herself instead of confronting him.