I came from a time when there was a woman named “Big Mama” and not the clown character in the Martin Lawrence movie. She was the matriarch of the black family. A woman of wisdom, strength, and courage; moreover, a proud woman who understood her role which was to guide, direct, and give love. Her role also included leadership used to teach young girls to be ladies and woman. Oh, do we miss Big Mama today!
I won’t try to teach or tell anyone how to be a woman, but I do have a perspective from a man’s point of view. Just like a woman cannot make a boy a man – I won’t try to tell you how to be a woman. However, I am suggesting for the sake of your daughters that you try to recall the lessons taught by Big Mama. For those who read my writing, you know, I like to use examples in order to make a point.
I once gave a speech and took out a $20.00 bill and to the audience I asked, “Who would like to have this $20 bill?” Hands started going up. Nearly everyone! Then I said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” I crumpled up the $20 dollar bill and asked, “Who still wants it now…?.” Still nearly all hands were raised. Ok, great! “What if I do this?” I dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with the bottom of my shoe. Then I picked it up the now crumpled dirty bill. “Who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air.
No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions you make with regard to how you appear. The moral of this exercise was a very valuable lesson. The way you appear causes people (men) to want “IT”, but like the money it does not mean they want “You.” The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but by who you are, and that comes from your presentation.
I have another profound message Muhammad Ali’s once gave to his daughters. An incident transpired when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were quite revealing.
Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:
“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.
My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.
Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”
He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”
It is not my intent to offend anyone, but you see what I see and if you knew Big Mama – you know better. I believe, if Black America is to redeem it greater glory – ladies it starts with you. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving.