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  • Vernalee


Updated: Aug 13, 2021

By Vernalee

About thirty years ago, I participated in an educational program with my son. I can remember that Saturday very vividly. The audience was Black male teenage students. There were a few parents there as well. The school's guidance counselor brought in this motivational speaker and dynamic rising star, a former radio personality turned legislator named Les Brown. He talked to the young students, many who didn't want to spend their Saturday in school. So to create some excitement, Les gave them an exercise. "Imagine that you were on a deserted island and all you had was your belt. List how you would use it." We gathered in small groups to take on this challenge. I served as the notetaker for our group. As the boys came up with ideas, they were listed. Then Les Brown had a spokesman from each group to tell how they would use their belt. Many of the ideas were indeed creative. At the end of the exercise, Les pulled out a crisp new $50.00 bill. "Now then, let's look at the team who had the most ideas." Of course, it was ours! Then, he gave the $50.00 to the winning team. There were about 5 boys (my son included) who had just earned $10.00 each. WOW! The money perked up the group and created excitement. From that point on, the boys were all in! Who knows...there may be another chance to make a few bucks... . Mr. Brown's message - "Always do your best!" It was a lesson that my son, the boys, and I remember. You have to approach assignments with seriousness and do your very best. Eventually, you will reap the rewards and see the fruitage of your labor! In the words of Les Brown, "Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else."


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