My Umi Plays Spades

It feels like a long time ago since we stressed personal character as being the most important asset a person can possess on a more global level. We instilled these virtues in our children, including integrity and honesty, kindness, gratitude, compassion and a loving spirit. Somehow we have redefined these traits as antiquated or for religious purposes only. I fundamentally disagree with this position and believe these virtues represent the foundation for a healthy, fair and balanced society. They define our humanness and distinguish us as intelligent, relational beings. The historic educator, Mary McLeod Bethune’s quote about about a race being being measured by the character of its womanhood resonated with me as a young girl. It still does even today because women are the first teachers in any society. We set the foundation for future generations. 

“The true measure of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.”

Mary McLeod Bethune

If you are operating in state of mental and emotional buckery (yes I really mean what you’re thinking) how do we prepare the next generation? Your past experiences and actions need not define your future life, but we must demonstrate authentic character in order to manifest our greatest self. We all reap what we’ve sown and attract what we truly believe about ourselves. If this doesn’t sound like the path you’re on, its never too late to walk in a different direction. But before you get there, you may have some “splainin” to do.

Some of us are fortunate enough to encounter truly unique elder women who possess genuine character in spades. They knew how to play the game called life, always holding the ultimate Ace card to win. For some reason unbeknownst to us, we might get selected from obscurity, and receive their mentorship, sponsorship, or even real friendship. I have been one of those girls who had this incredible opportunity with numerous women. “Shine, my daughter,” some would say. These individuals represented different ethnicities and served as bosses, advisers and confidants. I am a product of their energy, encompassing elements of their unique personalities and insight. 

I am more than grateful. I revere and honor the commitment and willingness to share their lives with me, as I tried so desperately to become the best version of ME. They represented the most amazing examples of divine womanhood – – beautiful, intelligent, strong, caring, honorable, sophisticated, shrewd and wise. Some were vulnerable, and even surprisingly a little gangsta (don’t mess with Umi). To encompass even an inkling of what they had, in just one little finger, is a privilege.

Je t’aime Umi – Emma, Barbara, Essie, Jestene, Mildred, Marva, Jeannetta, Sandy, Maureen, Johnny, Sandra, Linda, Josephine, Dorothy, Elaine, Josephine, Christina, Enid, Georgiana, Karol and Pearl. You helped to ignite the fire in my belly.

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