My eyes, ears, heart, mind and soul have taken in much over the last four weeks. As much as I have received, I have also given. It is nearly impossible to ask someone to share their stories—joy, dreams, hurt, pain and anger without sharing your own. Sharing my story always leads me back to the values that my parents—John and Lois Powell—have instilled in me. I wouldn't say that I was an ungrateful child. Far from it. What I will admit, though, is that there are things that my parents said, did, or made me do which I never said "thank you" for. Why, you ask? Well, it was mostly because at the time I wasn't thankful. As I mature, I recognize the blessed wisdom that my parents had (and still have). When I work with young people, I realize just how important the union of structure, discipline and love are when raising a child. So tonight, I pause to give thanks to my parents for all of the things for which I am grateful, things for which I never parted my lips and said "thank you."
Thank you, Mom...
...for waking me early on Saturday mornings to clean the house.
...for the sounds of Aretha and Otis that accompanied the smells of Comet and Pledge.
...for trusting me to go to the store by myself (even if I did often return with wrong items)
...for making sure my hair was healthy and always done.
...for making me sit at the dining room table to do my homework until it was done.
...for giving me a bedtime, even when I was a senior in high school.
...for working a second job so that I could attend NYU.
...for the Donna Olivia Powell permanent collection that you keep under your mattress.
...for being my amen corner when no one else will.
Thank you, Dad...
...for never allowing the word "can't" to be part of my vocabulary.
...for always ordering the latest volume of the encyclopedia.
...for allowing me to watch you balance your checkbook.
...for making me work for my allowance, even if it was just keeping your cup filled with ice and cold water.
...for working full-time until after I graduated from college.
...for still supporting me as I make my dreams come true.
...for demonstrating what a man—a husband and a father—looks like.
So here is to you, Lois and John...I love you and I am grateful!