How one father’s words continue to guide his daughter, 15 years after his death.
“Felicia!!!” I jolted from my sleep as I heard my name screamed. The screeching sound of metal against metal jarred me. The car jerked to the left, as my sister-friend grabbed the wheel—steering us away from the guardrail. We were heading north on I-95 when I’d suddenly fallen asleep.
I was 17. And, besides seeing my brief life pass before me, I had to go home and face my parents. I wanted to be raptured when I saw the damage. It was 11PM, but when the morning came I knew I couldn’t tell my parents I’d nearly driven off an overpass!
I didn’t sleep a wink. At 7 a.m., my father left for work. Seconds later, he was back and yelling out my name. My moment of reckoning had come. I told my parents the perfect lie and they seemed to accept it. But later that evening… my father came to my room. He looked me in my eyes and asked, “What happened? I measured the scratch along the car and there is no way you ran into a gate. Your Mama believes you. But I don’t!”
He knew I was lying. I wanted to unburden myself… but couldn’t! I repeated my lie. My soul quivered under his stare. “That’s how you want to leave it?” he asked. In shame, I nodded. He responded, “Alright then. But I know better.”
That wasn’t the first or the last time Daddy called me out. I often thought I’d outsmarted my parents, just to find the only fool was me. He could have insisted on the truth or punished me for lying. But he felt it was more important for me to know that he loved and knew me—lies and all.
His love was like that guardrail on I-95. It protected and kept me from losing complete control. Almost 15 years after his death, my father’s words still guide me—helping me see beyond life’s smoke and mirrors. I find focus and direction in his simple and sometimes comedic wisdom.
For Father’s Day, I would like to share a few “Willie James-isms” with you to help guide and guard your way:
1. You better adjust your maladjustment! Whatever you do, do it with the right attitude. The attitude of our execution makes the difference in how we experience the results. Attitude determines performance and results.
2. Walk with your head and shoulders erect, if you walk with your head down… anybody can ride you. We teach people how to treat us. They are drawn by either our strengths or our weaknesses. If we live out of a negative self-concept, life’s leeches will take advantage!
3. You were born by yourself. You will die by yourself. Live for yourself! Daddy was the first person to let me know that living true to who I am is a responsibility. During my teenage years, as the possibility of negative peer pressure existed, he demanded I make my own decisions and mistakes. If I landed in trouble, it definitely shouldn’t be because I followed someone there!
Do Your Work! Which “Willie-Jamesism” stood out to you and why? How will you apply it?
Define Your Wealth! Affirm out loud, “I respect, I acknowledge and I live in obedience to wisdom. When wisdom speaks to me, I will obey.”
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.
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