HBCU family, many of us come from broken homes with only a single parent mother to fend for us or a single parent father trying to raise us upright the best way that he can, living in this country as a black man. Of course, some of us are luckier than others, enjoying the benefits of both parents being in the household, but still struggling to make ends meet.
It is all about perspective.
That is to say, if you come from one of these types of homes you cannot be a victim because of it. You have to know that you are a survivor who has people in your life who wants nothing but the best for you.
This kind of upbringing only made you who you are today and there is no reason to be ashamed of that.
One Morehouse College graduate would agree with me, writing that “This past weekend I was conversing with a friend about work. He stated to me how he desired to be promoted and work with a prominent executive at our company.”
When the black college grad, Chris Sumlin inquired more about what made his friend think that he was qualified for the position, his friend said this:
“They can’t say no to me. I come from nothing, and I’ve made it this far…”
His friend’s response led Sumlin to write an amazing piece titled “Stop Saying You Come From “Nothing” Because Your Parents Aren’t Rich.”
“On the one hand,” Sumlin writes, “I appreciated and understood his confidence. This is a man who has overcome a lot of obstacles and as a result, believes in himself. I think that self-confidence is healthy, and so when he made that statement, I felt where he was coming from. As the conversation continued, he expressed more of his qualifications, and the conversation was pleasant. Unfortunately, after our interaction, I kept replaying his words in my mind. I couldn’t help but ruminate on the idea of “coming from nothing.””
He continued, “As a first-generation college graduate, I get it. I have often muttered those same exact words in conversations, in speeches, and even job interviews. I understand what my friend was saying when he made those remarks. As I often do after discussions with friends, I began to ask myself some deep questions.”
Sumlin later admitted to being guilty of using this negative phrase himself, challenging him to think more of his own upbringing, not just revisiting bad experiences but more so remembering the good times and how his earlier memories of childhood helped to shape him up to be the man he is today.
He writes, “As much as I remember boiling water for a hot bath, and eating beans and hot dogs for dinner, I learned so much about living on faith. My parents taught me so much about trusting God and being optimistic by example. There were moments when our lights would be caught off, and my Dad would make jokes, and we would reminisce about funny church stories. I’ve grown to become a man who can smile no matter what the obstacle because of how I saw my parents act when we faced hardships. No matter what, I always have a sense of groundedness because of my experience as a young child.”