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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The tiger doesn't think the jungle is bad!

When I was entering into the 1st grade at Shadydale Elementary School, we all stood up in Mrs. Hughes class to make our introductions. She gave us the liberty to telling who we were and any other interesting thing that we could share in a brief moment. I had never met any of the other children. I had previously attended Emmet J. Scott Elementary School in Houston’s 5th Ward. I introduced myself as intelligently as I could and shared that I was from 5th Ward. Some of my classmates snickered at this, my interesting thing that I shared. I immediately felt self-conscious and questioned what was funny. Did I stink, were my clothes not up to par, or did I just unknowingly embarrass myself because of where I was from?

You see my parents lived not far from the school, but ALL of the Gamble children went to school close to Maw-Maw. She would have it no other way. She did not like the fact that my parents pulled me out to attend a school close to their house. Where I was from, the people had a great sense of community and it was truly a village…in my eyes. My youth was shielded from the terrors around the corner. My village consisted of 4 aunts, 2 uncles, 2 grandparents, church members and a host of neighbors who respected the Gamble name enough to make sure nothing happened to us in OUR neighborhood. Even the hustlers respected the Gamble name.

Anyway, I digress. When I came home from school that day I was visibly disturbed by something and my father noticed. After prodding me to tell him my issue, I finally spoke up and told him about the event during the day that affected me so much. At this he laughed, which I was not kind to. He told me simply this, “Son, you will understand this when you get older. The tiger doesn’t think that the jungle is bad.” He left it at that. As I grew older and wise enough to know why those kids were snickering in class, I also grew less confident about where I was from. They all seem to come from nice houses, as compared to my grandparent’s home. They all seem to wear nicer clothes than us. Their parents seemed to drive nicer cars.

This stayed with me until I got too High School and again left the 5th Ward to attend another school. This again was a battle between my grandparents and my parents. My grandparents wanted me at Wheatley High in 5th Ward or Kashmere High in Trinity Gardens. These were the schools that my friends from middle school were attending and my grandparents thought that I should matriculate through the same schools that their children went to as well as stay with MY classmates. I agreed but not my parents. They noticed a change in me that dictated I needed to expand my horizons and attend a school that was more multi-cultured. I cringed at going to Sam Houston High but grew to love it and the many friend I made there. It was there that I began to understand what my father said to me years ago, “Son, you will understand this when you get older. The tiger doesn’t think that the jungle is bad.”

Being around other people that were not raised in the same environment that I was raised in made me realize that I was a kid FROM the jungle but not OF the jungle. I realized that others neighborhoods were much worse than the one I was raised in, just in very different ways. I realized that the people from my neighborhood took care of the people from my neighborhood, FIRST. I realized that I was blessed to have been brought up in that environment and blessed to have been toughened and smartened by what my ears heard and what my eyes saw. Things that seemed so major to others were now a second though to me. It was as if I knew things and how they would end before my new peers did. I found that I was a tiger and that the jungle was home and full of lighted places that others considered dark. I realized that my jungle was full of other tigers that I could depend on in a moment’s notice. I realized that the deer wished they were tigers. Man I love the nickel! My name is Trennan Gamble and Mrs. Hughes, I from 5th Ward, Tuffly Park area! I would move back now if I could get my wife to agree. I better leave it there; this one was a fight before the marriage.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why did we divest ourselves of our traditions and beliefs?

Modern times usually call for modern thinking. When we are thinking in these “modern” times” we need to realize that there exist time honored traditions and beliefs that have maintained us as other modern times became antiquated.

There is really nothing new under the sun, except for lives. Lives that were created in times that are to them now antiquated, old, and past. These new lives seem to embrace in their minds that somehow whatever it is that they have “discovered” is new and refreshing. Their hairstyles are new, their clothes are new and of course they came up with it in their generation. They even seem to believe that times are vastly different from the times of their forefathers.

There is no doubt that significant progress is made daily in the realm of technology and invention. Truly things exist that have made our lives easier or harder. This will depend on your age and perspective. The hardest thing to come by originally is a thought. I have been waiting for all of my adult life to have an original significant thought that I may offer to the world. This is my greatest desire to date.

You see there is truly not much new under the sun. All of these things have been recycled and sold at a higher price as new. Skinny jeans were once called Chic’s. Mohawks go back to the days when Native American stilled owned ALL of their country, Sneaking out the house to be with her or him was something your parents did before you. Some of you are here because of it! These rappers blinging is just a repackaged form of the beginning of rap. I am recently seeing rappers with untied shoe laces. Anyone ever heard of Run-D-MC?

All of this is to get to this point. We must remember and embrace our traditions and beliefs. We have to get away from our increased divestiture of our core belief system. Somehow it is not OK anymore for all of the adults in our community to correct a child. We hate the nosy old lady on the corner. You know the one that everyone knew watched the neighborhood and under whose watch nothing bad happened to the hood. We no longer send our kids to their friend’s church. Bible school during the day went away. Granny stopped being an integral part of raising the children; most don’t even want to be called Granny! Grandpa is too afraid to sit outside the house and watch what goes on in the hood. Our kids no longer can leave the yard because the whole hood isn’t watching them.

I used to be able to walk over to Brother McGowan’s house with my granny and discuss any issues she had in her area of town. Most of you know him as Councilman McGowan. Our young ladies used to have some semblance of shame for the things that were improper, now it aint nobodies damn business what I wear and do. We used to be a village instead of our own little town at our individual addresses. What happened ya’ll?

It was once that you didn’t want to embarrass your people, you wanted to finish school and gone on(as my grandmother used to say). We used to build communities that we never wanted to leave. Our children would buy homes close to us and their children would go to their schools and have the same teachers that taught you. Those communities have diminished so much that most HISD schools have dropped to 4A and we, me included, have run to the burbs. Going to the burbs is not my shame. My shame comes from asking if I did enough off of Collingsworth to make my grandparents traditions and beliefs my own or did I just run away and compartmentalize my kids from them as well? I start with me...I have to give back more ya’ll, what about you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A stumble may prevent a fall

Failure is to be defined as though it were looked at by learned men. Unlearned eyes find little to no value in the action unachieved. When reflectively looking at your existence you may notice the very many pitfalls that “almost” got you along your route to what you define as prosperity. Of course this definition will be as countless as the people having them. You see many people will stop at the pitfall and announce it as evidence to discontinue progress. Many people will call it the warning before the storm. In this, be careful! If good things were meant for all, the struggle to attain them would be without obstacles.

It is that these obstacles perpetuate a toughness that creates endurance. The obstacles are to help you to get over the next obstacle in the road. The next one promises to be more difficult and more fulfilling than the last one. Many more people have failed than the numbers of people that have tried. I say this to say you have already failed when you refuse to try!

The test that was so difficult to pass, the bully that you had to find a way to overcome, the people in your worship center that cause distractions, the parent that is not what a parent should be, the drugs that you fought the temptation to try, the significant other that proved unfaithful, or the friends that proved to be enemies. These were all stumbles along your path that taught you how to stay on your feet before your REAL obstacles occur. Do not get them confused with your fate. You are never your situation!

Those that refuse to embrace the challenges of the stumble refuse to move forward n life. You will notice that many people will let their stumbles define the rest of their lives. They fail to realize that greater lies ahead of them. They just have to be able to negotiate the stumble that they confuse for a fall. Today let your friends know that obstacles are to be overcome with effort and time. You cannot plant your life in any one situation. Life is a series of situations that create endurance and smiles.

Your stumbles are to be testaments to your power to avoid a fall. You are not always in charge of the stumbles but you are in charge of making sure it is not bigger than that which it is. Recognize your stumbles that help you to avoid falling and embrace the good that comes from it. Play the game instead of complaining from the sideline. Players have ups and downs…More ups though!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You never realize how expensive the trip is when you are getting a ride from someone else.

Let’s face it; many are carrying the weight of others silently. If this speaks to you then you are to be commended and applauded for faithfully and quietly helping someone along the way. At issue is making sure it is their way. You cannot forever carry two cases for one nights stay at the inn. At some point you must allow, or dare I say force, that other person to receive the enlightenment, joy, and exercise associated with carrying their own wares.

As children we want according to our expense. As children that expense is zero so we tend to want “it all”. We did not have the burden or luxury, depending on your adult perspective, of having to worry about the price of “it all”. My children often enter stores and, in cadence, commence their request to have me and their mother purchase the entire contents of the store to satisfy their minimal and sporadic spans of attention. They find it egregious that we may have the audacity to utter the term “NO”. This is expected from children that have no earthly or cosmic perception of the cost. Along with not understanding the cost, they are also indifferent to the sacrifices and/or the labor put into being able to happily enter the shop and exchange products for money. We do not expect them to. They are kids of course and the matters of the world such as these are due in right time to be given to them.

It will one day be their times to practice this same ritual with their offspring. No doubt they will have an adult appreciation for the times we had to tell them “NO”. There is that word again. You see they will be in their right element as adults to understand that the time has come for them to develop an appreciation for an understanding of what it feels like when it is their time to give the ride to their children. They will, no doubt, make sure their children enjoy and understand fully what it is to be a child with little to no worry. After all, we all aspire to give our children better lives than we had.

As an adult, the child-like thinking is not so fly. Many adults still find it hard to understand that the ride is expensive to someone. If you are not paying for your seat in the truck, someone else is burdened with paying twice the fair. The greatest things in life are truly free; it is just the rest of it that you have to pay for. It seems that many people were never given that “NO” by their parents or they were never made to eventually learn that the trip is only cheap or free because someone else is paying your way. It indeed cost. It maybe that you just don’t pay your part to ride in comfort while someone else is worrying about how to get you there at their expense. I say let these people stand in the sun until they get their own busfare and work their way up to their own ride. I had to and they are no better than me, I PROMISE! If you are paying the emotional, spiritual, psychological, or financial cost for an able bodied adult…STOP IT. They will be ill prepared if and when your car has no more room in it because of all of your own “Stuff” that requires the space that they have abused and occupied for so long.