“Give and gifts will be given back to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” – Luke 6:38
Have you ever listened to a commentator on television or radio and then thought to yourself, “That’s what I’ve been saying!” Its so refreshing to hear someone articulate what you are feeling, you jump out of your seat with excitement. Somehow, you no longer feel alone in your beliefs. A person with a microphone and an audience can speak for you. You have an advocate!
Well, this is how I came to notice Charles Payne (www.wallstreetstrategies.com). I heard him speaking up for people who work hard and who always try to do the right thing. I heard him share his experiences and his views on attaining success. There’s no easy path — it’s hard work. One day I heard him share something from his childhood, and it deeply moved me. I had to sit back down.
It’s been very difficult to watch the disintegration of the traditional family over the years. It’s heart breaking to see children being raised without knowing their fathers or mothers. Countless babies are born into a world where they only know neglect, forcing them into a daily ritual of mere survival. They are too young to find a better life and too innocent to have hope. There are too few mentors setting examples for children on how to escape such dire circumstances. For the vast majority of these children, the culture they grow up in is the norm; therefore, continuing the same culture into their adulthood does not seem unusual. To make matters worse, the media exacerbates the problems by condoning damaging behaviors and dismissing the importance of family values. Children just are not getting the correct message about what they are expected to do.
Another emerging culture in the last few decades is one which has resulted in a generation of 20 and 30 year olds who expect big rewards for very little effort. We allowed our public schools to lower standards while, at the same time, the rewards were increased. As parents, we tried to eliminate too much stress from our children thinking we were helping. Instead, countless young adults today cannot handle even normal day-to-day stress that accompanies personal and work life. How often have you heard it said, many young people today are not dependable, are not eager to learn, do not want to put in extra time, and expect too high of a salary?
I have two young adult daughters who have helped me to know many caring, hard-working, and dependable people in their age group, but I wonder if there are enough like them to carry America into a healthy future. I have worried about this for a long time. We need to do all we can to help our children grow to be strong, confident individuals who positively contribute to our complex world.
About four years ago, I listened to Charles Payne share his experiences growing up in Harlem. He said he would do any menial job to help his mother pay the bills. Some of those jobs included sweeping stoops, washing windows and delivering newspapers.
Charles shared how he knew from an early age he wanted to be a businessman who would work on Wall Street. To get this dream started, he asked his mother for a briefcase. It wasn’t the best briefcase around, but it was what his mother could afford and he proudly brought it to school. One day, when Charles left it unattended, some of his classmates destroyed it.
As someone who follows the news closely, I hear a lot of sad things every day, but for some reason this story resonated more deeply than usual, and it would not leave me. I kept thinking, why would those boys do something destructive for no apparent reason? Why do any children engage in destructive behavior? I believe jealousy must have played a part. Those boys probably saw Charles as someone who worked hard at his school work and likely received favorable attention for it from teachers. I think, as well, many children feel powerless in their family life and the only way they know to feel powerful is to exert it over others.
Long after I turned off the television, I was still thinking about Charles’ briefcase and the boys who destroyed it. I began thinking about all the children I know who have become successful adults and all the ones who have not. It seems that many children lose sight of their talents and abilities sometime in middle or high school. They don’t see what they have to offer the world, and therefore, they drop out, join gangs, get pregnant, commit crimes and engage in all forms of destructive behavior.
Though Charles had a difficult childhood living in a bad neighborhood, he was able to see a better future for himself. He knew what his talents were and he envisioned a way to use them when grown. Thinking about all this led me to ask, “How do we get more children to each recognize his/her special gift, talent, or skill and then keep him/her focused on the goal of putting that gift to good use in our world? How do we get children to see the true power they have inside them?” These questions sparked the idea for my new children’s book, God Gave You a Power!
This is a story written to show children we each have special gifts given to us by God. These gifts come in the form of talents and skills or as special abilities such as being extra patient and very caring. God Gave you a Power! illustrates to children these are the gifts God expects us to use to enrich the world, but when we are young, we need to practice and learn to master our gifts. Then when we become adults, we can use our gifts – our special Powers – to do good for others. In the book, each left page shows a child doing something – playing with blocks, doing homework, helping a friend, etc. Each right page shows that child grown up using that skill in his/her job. As the book progresses, the children depicted get older. On the first page is a picture of a pre-schooler and then the last few pages are high school students. Both genders and a variety of ethnic cultures are represented.
Seeing God Gave you a Power! through to a published work was a much more arduous
and time-consuming endeavor than I anticipated. I had to keep reminding myself the message of the book — powerful things happen after you have worked hard and stayed focused on your goal. As I mentioned, I have been worried about the problems with our country’s children for many years, but most of the time I have felt powerless to do anything about it. I believe Charles’ story touched me because God touches me. I can’t solve all the problems of the world, but maybe I could do this one thing.
Any profits Ted and I receive from the sale of the book will go to help children see a healthy, productive future for themselves through economic and education reform. All the profits from the sale of God Gave you a Power! will be forwarded to the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (www.urbancure.org), an organization tirelessly working to change the lives of children trapped in poor school districts. I hope you will join us in this goal of helping as many children as possible envision a way to use their gifts from God. Books can be purchased at www.advbookstore.com, as well as at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
I want to bestow loving thanks to my husband -Ted, and my daughters – Laura and Robin – for helping me through this process. They never once waivered in their belief in my ability to get this book published. Thank you to Advantage Books for finding me, sharing my vision and deep belief in God, and then bringing my dream to reality. Special thanks to Mitzie Stone for beautifully illustrating the pictures I had envisioned in my head! And, of course, a heart-felt thank you to Charles Payne for using his special gifts to be a ”power” for good.