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Feed The Meter
9/28/2016 2:17:50 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali 

My mother died more than thirty years ago and I do miss here presence in my worlds of existences something real. She was a truly dynamic, delightful and caring spiritual soul.

I'm sure you understand that without me having to expound on that point because most folks feel the same way about their parents, particularly about their mothers. So, hopefully I'm not speaking in a wind tunnel when I mentioned my first thought.

As you probably know, as a reader of my thoughts over the last twenty-five years or so in "The Chronicle," you know I reference my mother's insights, comments and teachings to me and others on many, many instances. Today, I'm going back to this little lady's wisdom, beyond question, to share something with you that I shared with a lifelong buddy of my from New Jersey recently.

We were rapping about the state of today's educational malaise in Black America among both the young and older Afro-American segments. Somehow, the discussion drifted toward the topics of the underdeveloped public school systems, reading, Black on Black crime and why so many Africa-Americans don't support the Black Press of America en masse.

The conversation was a lively one, as most of our raps have been and certainly can be. But this particular one was a passionate display of us feeling that many folk in our communities don't really know what's going and furthermore, by their actions, don't seem to care about the nationwide escalating murders of Black men, the abysmal academic disparages that exists between our youth and other ethnic American folk, regardless of excuses, etc.

All of these optical nightmares were of concern to us. That's where the issue of concentrated, indecent and committed reading and mentoring hit our conversational wave length, because Black America has some serious business it has to deal with whether they realize it or not.

Well, knowing me and by God Alone's mercy, I thought of something my mother said to me about offering no excuses in life and her thoughts on about "Feeding the Meter." My pal and I realized that we as African-Americans have to step up as a viable part of "The American People" grouping and face the issues that affect us big time.

My mother, who was a retired professional schoolteacher at her death, used to tell me that any Black person has the capacity to deal with and accomplish anything he or she desires in life if they only would get up off of their backsides and stimulate their minds, which she casually called parking meters. Mom had away of emphasizing that being unsuccessful was your own fault and not the blame of others solely.

I told my buddy that my mom told me never to allow myself to be lazy, unaware and uneducated, and she told me that to gain knowledge about and to overcome anything in life, you have to constantly "Feed the Meter," or, simply put, you have to feed your mind with knowledge that can only be acquired, for the most part, by reading and by practicing patience. This was something my mother said were the initial keys to success and overcoming trials, backed up with and followed by unbridled energy and dedicated action.

"The mind is likened to a standing parking meter," my mother once said in her unique South Carolina soft, one of kind speech delivery, "and it’s there to take in all the cash that people put in it." She would ask me that if I had a car, "would I park my vehicle near a meter outdoor, forgetting to put the required number of coins in it in order to ward off having to pay a heavy fine from the city?"

Obviously, you know what my response was. So, she said to think of myself as a vehicle and my mind as a parking meter, therefore I have to feed it knowledge (coins) constantly so that I wouldn't be caught short and have to pay later because I didn't study and use my mind properly.

I was taught to never blame others for my errors, and my mother would never, ever allow me to say when asked what was I doing, to say that I was doing "nothing." No, no way, because she would always tell me to get up and read something to enhance my life for the better.

In my mother's realms of realities, knowledge was powerful, but you have to acquire it first before you can use it enough to speak or act accordingly. I wonder if some of the many tragic and dastardly ills that impact could be resolved if we used her methodologies.

I told my old New Jersey pal that my mother said that some folk don't want to put in the hard work and necessary efforts to be successful at anything other than being mediocre. She said that came from them parking their vehicles of self next to the parking meter of stupidity, and all they did was pay that meter was with wasted time, senseless inactivity and "woe is me" coins.

My mother told me that it wasn't always easy for her being a Black, female teacher of color back then, but her mother (and others) told her to keep on pressing on and to continually feed that meter called her intuitive brain with knowledge, no matter what. Until this very day, I'm obsessed with the love of knowledge and collecting books and memorabilia of all kind due her wisdom.

I owe so much to both my parents for teaching me so many things, but especially to my mother for explaining finite issues of importance for me as a young, emerging African-American man. She was the one who laid the foundation of constantly "Feed(ing) the Meter" in my developing academic discipline and aware spiritual consciousness that exists to this very moment. I can never repay her for that.

With the dire plight of today's dismal and chaotic mis-educational systematic plantation public schools that continually exists, I ask, "Who's feeding the parking meters of today's youth?" That's a relevant question for discussion for everyone in this nation, especially in the Afro-American communities, if we are to ever climb out this bigoted hell hole that so many ethnic old of color are subjected to.

Some of the answers could possibly be existing in the home where the first realities of being all that you could be should be applied. If "thoughts are synonymous to actions," then parents should and must do their parts with love, discipline and devotion.

"Feed the Meters" of your and other children's minds constantly because it's "fun" and "mentally" sound for all of society, so please don't exclude yourself. It helps, educates, and promote ideas of peace and understanding through mutual respect and clarified insight.

"Feeding the Meters" aids in the mentoring process, supporting our own businesses and learning to do self, in all spheres, and is what we need to uplift our own and stop the killing from within. For today and always, watch what you put in your and other's meters, and that's, "As I See It."


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