Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Magic of Good Mojo








Tribune Photo by
Heather Charles




Optimism.

That bright spring light of the mind and soul. That boon from god that allows us to get up every morning, to hope for a better day, a better vision, a better apple, car, job, song, story, life. Optimism, even when leaning flat against reality, lets us believe that in the end, EVERY LITTLE THING is gonna be all right. Truly. In spite of everything else.

In spite of the darkness that lurks along our paths. In spite of the sadness, fear, hatred, anger that brushes against us. In spite of all those helpless days and hopeless feelings. In spite of all the things we think we could resist outright, if only we were stronger, smarter, better, prettier, more talented, more MORE.

Well, you have to know one thing: optimism goes a long way toward setting the stage for triumph. Just believing in something - preferably your own self - is a shield of courage that protects you as your dare to take that first step of the journey toward whatever new day that has grabbed your imagination.

And when optimism is mixed with a dream and a plan and willing people who know how to help you mix and bake your personal recipe? People who know how to buck you up when the shadows stretch across the path? Well hell. Suddenly, you find yourself much further down the road than your first dreams ever led you to believe was possible.

So, this month, Chicago's Urban Prep Academy announced that every single member of the school's first senior class - 107 of them - had been accepted to college. Young men who came from destitution and swaddled futures. Young men who had hardly dared to dream of much of anything. Young men who doubted that academic success was in their future. Young men who entered the school unable to read at their grade-level.

Now, you can sniff at the uniforms and complain about the demands and other trappings of a highly controlled environment. But before you do, you should ask the graduating seniors if the jackets and ties, the gender segregation, the extended school days, the constant messages commanding FOCUSFOCUSFOCUS, the extra English credits, and the long commutes were at all worth it. Ask them if the ability to call everyone they know to shout, "I got in!" was worth it. Ask them if forcing the shadows on the road to retreat in shame was worth it.

Class of 2010: Go on with your bad selves.

8 comments:

Lori Skoog said...

Hey Fe...talk about a success story. What was the formula? It needs to be spread all over this country.

Carolyn said...

Oh such joy! Who wouldn't want to see such success for our progeny?
Blessings and smiles Fe.

CoyoteFe said...

Lori - Seems to be the usual things: structure, discipline and belief in those you are supporting. I have seen it time and time again. If you believe in someone, and provide the level of support that corresponds with that belief in their ability to succeed, suddenly folks start believe it too, and act toward success. That approach has been so successful, time and time again, that I am a bit amazed that more people do not try it.

Carolyn - Indeed! Nice to celebrate for a change, rather than rue and try to fix something broken! Blessing and smiles back atcha!

mountain.mama said...

I LOVE this!

Spartacus Jones said...

Always a pleasant change to hear some good news.
I hope they keep that mojo workin'.

Me, I'd say it's not "optimism," but determination.
Sometimes you have to do something, not because you believe you'll succeed, but because engagement in a noble cause that is honest and true IS success.
You do what you know is the right thing, not because you think you're going to change the world, but because you absolutely refuse to allow the world to change YOU.

I hope all those college-bound kids major in kicking-ass.


sj

CoyoteFe said...

MM - Me too! Filled my heart!

Spartacus Jones - All mojo every needs is a bit of care and feeding. I'll give you the determination. Sometimes, though you need a little success to keep motivating toward the noble causes, yes? I wonder how many credits are needed for a BA in Kicking-Ass ... :-)

rebecca said...

First of all I couldn't stop singing "don't worry about a thing cause every little thing is gonna be alright." thanks for putting that in! Made it very difficult for me to FOCUS on your words after that!

Anyhoo, love the story. A testament at what can be accomplished when one sets their bar high and puts in the work. It reminds me of this program I saw on NOVA I think it was a few months ago about three friends who grew up in a poverty-stricken, gang-infested neighborhood and made a pact that they were going to go to college. Today, one is a doctor, another a lawyer, and the other I forget but very successful as well. Succeeded in life against all odds. Yes, stories like these are the ones that we need to see and hear. And then it brings to mind those that are privileged and are just wasting it and do not care to gain knowledge.

Hope all is well, friend. Come over soon. Miss you!

P.S. -- I'm going to see if I can find a link for you about that show and get back to you by email.

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