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You Can Do It Too
3/26/2014 4:59:07 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

Life is full of challenges for all ihabitants of the globe. That’s a statement very of us will argue with. With that pragmatic scenario being an unquestioned given I’d like to speak today about a “hue-man” being, who, in my view, exhibits what believing in yourself is all about. He’s a powerful example of succeeding against all odds.

His name is Gabe Sonnier and he’s an African-American from Port Barre, Louisiana. The brother’s story is one of inspiration and uplift and I thought I’d share it with you because, if read carefully, it could be a motivation for you and others to reach their dreams and desires in life.

Mr. Sonnier is a first year elementary school principal in Louisana and that on surface value may not seem like a big deal. The story behind how he got there is one that will arouse any soulful “hue-man’s” belief in miracles.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, first let me inform you that I was made aware of this amazing “hue-man” when watching a past segment on CBS’ Sunday Morning show. On the show the reporter for the show featured Mr. Sonnier and his rise to the position of administrative leadership at the Port Barre Elementary School.

The show talked of how this energetic Black got there in his employment climb. You see, Mr. Sonnier statrted out as a janitor in the very school where now is the head man thirty-years-ago.

Mr. Sonnier related how his first office at the school was the small and cramped custodian’s room. He spoke of how the then school’s principal, Wesley Jones, told him he should be grading papers instead of picking them up. Mr. Jones encouraged him to dream that he could be more than a janitor, if he so desired, but it was going to take work along with his desire to become a certified teacher. At the age of 39 Mr. Sonnier began his academic climb, never looking back.

This animated and cheerful Black man with a contagious smile wanted to be a schoolteacher and after enrolling in college, he finally got his degree and started teaching, yes, at the very school where he was the custodian. It was a struggle but he believed in himself, just as the former principal believed in and encouraged him to believe in himself and to reach for his dreams.

After getting his initial undergraduate degree and beginning his teaching career, he dreamed of getting a Master’s degree, which he eventually did thus preparing himself academically for his dream of becoming a principal at his school. He was appointed principal at the school this year, thus fulfilling his wildest dream.

Talk about fate.

Gabe Sonnier’s rise to overcome obstacles is nothing new to African-Americans or other ethnic “hue-mans,” who dream of and prepare themselves for their “wildest” dream positions and goals in their futuristic mind-sets. It’s said that a dream is only a vision waiting to be fulfilled if (only) the dreamer prepares himself or herself for same. It takes sweat equity to reach the apex of your aspirations.

The thing that I got from the CBS Sunday Morning’s penetrating segment about this brother of color is that you can accomplish anything, even the unimaginable, if you only put forth the effort. That’s something that lured me into the story because I was glad to see another “hue-man” accomplish his or her dreams.

While on that point, I’m thinking about how many “colored” folk in “hue-manity” do the same and on the other hand, some others fail to do so because of their own lethargic mental limitations and inner self-doubts. I hope as you read this that you’re not one of those unfortunate souls.

I believe that affirmative encouragement is a necessary tool in “hue-manistic” interaction, and it’s a key to one’s self-advancement in many ways, because no one makes it by himself or herself in this demanding world of educational hurdles and employment obstacles. The former prinicipal at Port Barre Elementary School played a pivotal role in Mr. Sonnier’s career because he believed in him. I’ve always felt that you’ve got to “want” a dream badly enough that you’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices to accomplish the desires and goals you seek. That’s simple realistic measurement no matter how you call it.

My late mother, who was an honored and revered schoolteacher, use to tell me that you have to go after a desire like there was no turning back from when you first thought of the thing that turned you on. I hope you understand that because, “As I See It,” life is full of “hue-mans” who heartbreaking never fulfil their potentialities.

Today’s frenzied world is saturated with many of two-faced naysayers and faux talkers, who never finish what they say they’ve wished and intended to do. Some folk are are climbers and others are qutters.

My mother, the educator, would tell her students, “Whatever you do. Do it well.” I believe in some ways after watching the television segment on Mr. Sonnier, he did it well. He never accepted failure. He didn’t quit on himself. It didn’t enter into his mental comprehensive vocabulary about not achieving anything in life.

I studied martial arts for more than ten years and I remember my humble instructor would echo the following words to me as best I can recall. He said that “a (true) student in arts and in life must understand that failure begins to germinate when the student in the arts and in life begins to slight his or her work load.”

To this he added that “the slight may be ever so minute, but don’t be deceived, because when you do that, success has begun to die.” That’s a powerful lesson that applies to all realms of “hue-man” understanding in the desires to do this or that in life, and you don’t have to be a martial artist in training to, hopefully, comprehend the wisdom behind the meaning of this metaphor.

I believe that a key aspect every “hue-man” being should decipher and master is learning from the (frequent) errors in one’s life’s daily trials before they become embedded mental mistakes. There’s a serious difference between those two philosophies to the wise aspirants among us. Nothing that is desirable and worthwhile is something that’s unimportant to the desirous seekers of goals and accomplishments. Whatever you or any seeker of same in this life aspires to positively achieve or accomplishes—do it well.

Oh, by the way, the the segment on Mr. Sonnier didn’t end with his (just) being the principal of his school. No. He said he’s set his sight on being the superintendent of his school district. With his tract record of believing in and accomplishing his dreams, who’d bet against him. I don’t gamble in any format and, even if I did, I wouldn’t bet against this man. Would you?

I don’t think you would. Don’t let your dreams become vacant efforts and invisible deeds. Please remember that if Mr. Gabe Sonniers did it and is still doing it,“You Can Do It Too.”

For today and always, never give up belief in yourself, and that’s, “As I See It.”

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