When I was 4 years old, I watched my young grandma suffer a severe stroke. She died a few years later. My grandfather, the only grandparent that I was blessed to experience in the most pivotal years of my early life — suffered a crippling stroke at the age of 53. These two great individuals that I speak of were my mom’s parents.
My grandfather on my dad’s side, died one year before I was born. He was a heavy smoker (military vet) who suffered 7 heart attacks over the course of his life. My grandmother on my dad’s side — I never had the privilege of having a conversation with. When we spoke, the dialogue was one-sided. She too suffered a stroke when I was 2 years old, leaving her unable to speak and trapped in a nursing home for the remaining 5 years of her life. Observing these things all before the age of 10 did something to me. Being in and out of hospitals became a phobia that I can’t shake (even today).
Many of you reading this have a similar story to mine — the same fears. Whether we are honest about it or not, our individual health and mortality is something we worry about more than anything as black people. The great author, Dr. Napoleon Hill listed health as one of the keys to success. In his list, “The 30 Major Causes of Failure,” Dr. Hill lists ill health at number 6 on the list. He then explains, “No person may enjoy outstanding success without good health,” and he is right.
Many of us never think about our generational influences, and the effect that it has on our well-being. Struggling to survive, while battling the health demon — takes the focus away from our purpose and what God has designed for us in His perfect will for our lives. Although He has a plan, it’s up to us to make DECISIONS to put ourselves in position to answer the call. We often can’t make the right DECISION as it pertains to our health because of a lack of discipline. Where does discipline come from? Self-control. Proverbs 25:28 (my favorite scripture) states that a man without self-control, is similar to a city with no walls. Dr. Napoleon Hill also said that you must control all negative qualities before you can begin controlling conditions.
In order to control the negative, we first must recognize what qualities are in fact negative. My grandparents were from Little Rock, Memphis, and Paducah, Kentucky respectively. Those of you who also have southern roots know that eating the “southern way” is not considered a negative quality. We grow up competing to see who can eat the most food, the fastest.
We WILL, unlearn the habits we must trash, and grab ahold of the new. The good preacher says, “for olddd things must pass away, and ALLL things!!” ..I’ll spare you the rest.
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