The Way I See It # 273

Well I am back again at my Starbucks haven.  The sounds of smooth jazz and acoustic guitar play through the speakers.  As I sip my chi latte and look out the window, I am in a place of joy.  There is no one to bother me here.  I can sit and reflect on life, love, and God.  It is an oasis away from the struggles of making ends meet.  We all need an opportunity to contemplate life.  We all need a place we can run to when we just cannot go on.  For some, it is a lake watching the sunrise or the sunset.  For others, it is taking a long drive or taking a long walk.  For me, it is Starbucks.

I am not very original with what I order.  A chi latte, a marshmallow square and Ethos water do me just fine.  Why change what you know?  There is nothing better than a great cup of chi latte.  Sometimes I just look out the window and watch people.  This is the same Starbucks with a Panera Bread right next door so there are always people outside eating or people walking around in general.  As the world runs it’s coarse, I sit and watch and drink my chi latte.  On the back of the cup, I read a new quote from someone famous or perhaps a random Starbucks drinker.  Today’s quote is no different.  It makes me think.  It provokes me to write.  I guess that is their purpose.

All children need a laptop.  Not a computer, but a human laptop.  Moms, dads, grannies and grandpas, aunts, uncles – someone to hold them, read to them, teach them.  Loved ones who will embrace them and pass on the experience, rituals and knowledge of a hundred previous generations.  Loved ones who will pass to the next generation their expectations of them, their hopes, and their dreams. – General Colin L. Powell.  This is the quote printed on the back of my Starbucks cup this week.

I have never been a big fan of Colin Powell.  I guess because his job; his line of work seems so boring.  Does anyone really know what he does?  It seems to me that one of Colin Powell’s main responsibilities is to parade around the TV telling us that we, as Americans, are hated by most of the world in general.  It does not take a cashier at Wall-Mart to realize that for the most part, the US has generated a lot of negative vibes around the world.  For whatever reason, Collin Powell is always available to tell us what the majority of US citizens know already.  I guess it is an important job though.

Can we even argue though with his quote?  I think not.  Considering most fathers end up abandoning their children for selfish reasons, Colin Powell says what most others are either too afraid to share or will not share because they do not want to offend anyone.  This is an offensive quote.  It is a slap in the face.

My parents have been married for almost 44 years.  Considering 58 percent of marriages this year will end up in divorce within three years, my parents have gone beyond the ‘normal’ marriage life span.  Marriage takes work.  It takes compromise and a decision to make things work.  If one in the marriage cares only about themselves, the likelihood of their marriage lasting is far and in between.

I have met kids in the public schools who do not have a father in their life.  Their heart is calloused to love.  They hold back any emotion.  To be vulnerable means the possibility of opening oneself to disappointment.  No wonder.

I did not know my grandparents very well.  What I have learned though has shaped me in ways I could have never imagined.  My grandfather always said, “Make your relationship with the Lord personal.”  It always impressed me when he would read the Bible.  I could not understand why someone as old as he would spend so much time reading a book.  I remember asking him once when he was going to finish the book.  Looking at me from behind the black leather binding, he smiled and said, “One day.”  My grandfather was a wise man.  If white hair really was a crown of honor obtained by righteous living, my grandfather was one righteous dude.  Even now, I sit back and think about how he invested in his grandchildren, as well as his own children his faith.  Even when we did not understand what he understood, he never got impatient.  He was really good at living what he shared.  I have a long way to go.

The only addition I would make to Colin Powell’s quote is the need for mentors and positive leaders.  We are lacking in this area.  It is hard for a young kid to understand their parents.  They are old.  To a child, their parents just do not understand what they are going through.  Mentors seem to understand though.  Mentors open the doors of communication between a child and their parents.  A Gilmore Girls relationship is not very natural in our current society, though it would be nice I guess if it were.  When mentors and positive leaders work together with parents, a manifestation of communication begins to evolve.  We all have something great to share with a younger generation.  We all have time we can give.  All we need to do is shut off the TV and reach out.  Taking time to mentor or disciple a young kid is not going to win you a Nobel Peace Prize or a million dollars.  The chances of ending up on Oprah or J Leno are not very likely either.  Then again, why do we always have to do something that betters ourselves?  Can we not just love children because they are in desperate need of love?  Can we not just spend time with children because they are the future of civilization?  The reward for being there for a young child has never resulted in a material gain but the satisfaction and joy that comes from it is priceless.

With all of that said, Colin Powell, despite my limited knowledge of his positional responsibilities has hit a chord with my heart.  To some, the quote might be a last resorted attempt to gain favor with the general Starbucks public.  To others, perhaps they never take the time to read the back of their Starbucks cup.  Whatever one’s thoughts may be, I have, once again, been challenged and provoked by the back of my Starbucks cup.  As I said before, I guess that is their purpose.  So what is our response?  For me, I guess it is a continued effort to mentor children who are without parental guidance.  As Colin Powell writes, “All children need a laptop.  Not a computer, but a human laptop.”  Good job Colin Powell.  Good job.

For more quotes, either check out the back of your Starbucks cup or go here to read other thought provoking quotes from other people.  Be provoked.  Be encouraged.  Be challenged.  Thanks.


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