Personal Responsibility

Pop-Up Sermon: Be Valued and No Fool

Be No Fool

(Photo Credit: No Way Girl)

With this piece, Revolutionary Paideia launches a new weekly feature, “Pop-Up Sermon.” What is “Pop-Up Sermon”? From one sentence to a full-length piece, this feature, “Pop-Up Sermon,” will offer you a sermon that you might not receive from your church’s pulpit. Uncomfortable truths will often be submitted to you. As spineless, milquetoast, equivocating, and self-serving preachers are becoming more prevalent, I commit to being that preacher for you who will deliver what you might not want to hear but need to hear. The central goal is to speak some relevant, useful words into your life at least once a week. Be sure to check out Revolutionary Paideia each day, considering a “Pop-Up Sermon” could emerge at any time.

Today’s Pop-Up Sermon:

Learn to appreciate people. When people fail to appreciate you, then you have a responsibility to teach them how to appreciate you. This may, unfortunately for them, mean ignoring them. Know your worth; then govern yourself accordingly. Don’t let folks use you, and don’t be their fool.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Don’t Forget to Have Fun

Although many people across America have a significant amount of daily responsibilities, you must find some time to have fun.  Don’t get so busy that you forget that you have a life outside of those things that have you so busy and involved.  Make time each day to engage with something that’s totally unrelated to your daily responsibilities to just have fun—even if it’s just for a brief moment.  You will be amazed at what just a brief moment of fun each day can do for you to release some of the stress that accompanies being very busy.  While one can understand that the things that have you very busy can be things that you enjoy and allow you to have fun, you need to take some separate time away from those things to devote completely to having fun.

Some people have not allowed themselves to experience the fullness that life has to offer.  It’s okay to be adventurous sometimes.  Go out and experience life.  Do something that you’ve never done before.  Don’t get so consumed by your routine that you think that you’re truly living a full life through your routine.  You can be a serious and professional person and still have a significant amount of fun.

Never take yourself too seriously.

You don’t have to pretend to have fun.  Do you know people who will sit up and create lies about things they supposedly have done and/or are doing to make you think they are having fun?  Even when some people have told you that they did not have fun doing something, they will post messages on Facebook and Twitter about how they had and/or are having fun.  Why lie about something like this?  It seems that there are some deeper problems and challenges that people are struggling with that will cause them to resort to telling lies about something like this.

Although it’s vital to find time to have fun, you must understand that you shouldn’t dedicate so much of your time to having fun that you don’t take care of serious responsibilities.  For example, you should not spend so much of your money having fun that you end up not having enough money to pay your rent or car note.  Be responsible about how you have fun.  Some people are always having fun and not doing the important things that they should be doing.

Just because you devote most of your time to having fun does not mean that your life is any better than the person who is only able to invest a more modest amount of time to having fun.  Many people use Facebook to post pictures and location notifications to try to present themselves as people who are “living the life”—when in actuality they are not as happy and not as financially stable as they are attempting to advertise.  Now, in no way does the previous statement try to suggest that all people who post pictures and location notifications about the places they go to and the things they do are posturing—the previous statement just offers an assertion that many people are guilty of doing this.

You can live a fun and responsible life.  If you’re living a fun and responsible life, continue to enjoy your life.  If you’re not living a fun and responsible life, do yourself a favor by starting to live a fun and responsible life.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sometimes You Gotta Ride Solo

At some point you simply have to stop just dealing with the problems that the people around you cause for you. At some point you simply have to accept some of the responsibility for allowing the people around you to cause problems for you, especially when you voluntarily hang around or associate with them. Sometimes the things that people around you do just get old. Some people refuse to change and grow. Although it may be difficult to do, you have to make a decision to ride solo sometimes. To “ride solo” means to do things alone for a certain period of time and be alone for a certain period of time. The period of time that you ride solo can range from a day to a year. I would not recommend that you ride solo for more than a year because everyone needs someone at some point. However, you should make sure that if you start hanging around those same people again or associating with them again, make sure that they have made some significant change and/or have grown.

You also have to come to the realization that you just need to no longer hang around and associate with some people. One of the benefits of riding solo is you have an opportunity to begin to see just how much mental, emotional, and/or physical stress that people manufacture for you. Again, you have to own some of the responsibility for allowing this to happen. You don’t have to sit there and wallow in self-pity about what you let others do to you. All you need to do right now is make a serious commitment to ride solo when the appropriate time emerges.

When you ride solo, it does not necessarily mean that you don’t like, love, or are angry with the people you separate yourself from—it just means that you are distancing yourself from them because it’s the best thing for everyone. You should take some time each day to pray, critically think, and/or meditate so that you will be able to comprehensively analyze the phenomena and people in your life. One thing you are going to have to resolve is what level of involvement is best for you to have with the people and things in your life. Don’t continue to let people and things frustrate you daily. You have the power to change how you interact with people and things. When you appropriately change how you interact with people and things, then you give yourself an opportunity to progress.

To ride solo does not mean that you have to become completely selfish. You should, however, know that you need to reserve a modicum of selfishness to ensure that you are taking the proper care of yourself and that you are working zealously to advance yourself. You have to love yourself enough to know that there’s not anything wrong with promoting, marketing, and working to progress yourself.

When you ride solo, you have an opportunity to self-heal. Having people around you all of the time can prevent you from doing the critical reflection and self-critique that is vital to improving yourself. Sometimes what you should be striving for when engaging in self-critique is not renewal, but becoming brand new in many ways. Some stuff you need to bury and not renew it. There’s no need in continuing to renewal stuff that’s not any good to keep anyway.

Don’t let people zap the life out of you. You should not have to baby and spoon grown people for the rest of their lives. At some point, grown people have to stand on their own two feet without you holding them up all the time. This means that you will have to ride solo from those who you really support for a certain period of time to give them an opportunity to learn things on their own, evolve, and recognize their own purpose and destiny.

Some people feel like they have to be in a relationship to be fulfilled. You don’t need to be in a relationship to be complete. You should not allow anyone to pressure you into a relationship and/or into marriage. Don’t feel compelled to have a baby to satisfy anyone else’s expectations. Don’t have sex with anyone just to satisfy people’s expectations. There’s no need to try to make sure that everyone knows that you are in a relationship and/or that you are having sex. Don’t advertise the sex you are having and don’t go to extremes trying to make sure that people hear you having sex. Know that there’s not anything wrong with being single. There’s a certain beauty in being single and your possibilities are limitless when you’re single. You have to be able fulfill yourself first before you can effectively and appropriately fulfill someone else. Live for yourself first.

Learn when it’s best to ride solo.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Forget to Show the Best of Black Life Too

Far too often, I see too many people using all mediums, including television, radio, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newspapers, and etc., to show America and the world the worst aspects of Black life. During the very beginning of the 20th century (and even before then), W.E.B. Du Bois asserted that artists should represent the diversity of Black life, but also needed to present the positive aspects of Black life. There once existed a time when Black people had to concern themselves only with racist White people depicting them in only negative and exploitative ways. Although there are still racist White people portraying Black people in the most demeaning and damaging ways, there is a new and growing enemy for Black people: some Black people themselves.

Some Black people do not care what they report about Black life in public. People will present information to the public about Black life that casts us in the most horrific light. Now, I am not saying that I want people to cover up truths about aspects of Black life. I would never tell anyone to do that. In fact, I have presented some of the negative dimensions of Black life in my own writing and in public and private discourses. I have spent the majority of my work and public and private discourse on truthfully disclosing the positive aspects about Black people in America, however. Without a doubt, there are limitless positive things to divulge about Black people.

I am simply too keenly aware of the racial and racist history of America to be stunned when a White person attempts to exploit a Black person publicly. Although I should not be stunned at the fact that some Black people are being just as harmful to Black people in public as any racist White person, I continue to be amazed at how some Black people are finding it cute and profitable to depict Black life in only the most horrible ways. Of course, in America, we are blessed to have the freedom of speech and I would not attempt to limit anyone’s freedom of speech. I do think that Black people should be much more aware of the things they are presenting to America and the world about Black people.

It seems that some Black people have forgotten all about the reality of the struggle we have experienced in this country to gain some respect. Some Black people love to sit around and find all of the garbage they can find about Black people, especially Black celebrities, and try to destroy their reputations. I also see that some Black people even try to exploit the lives of ordinary Black people. Whether you know it or not, what you are doing is mean-spirited and harms the constant progression of Black people.

I would just like you to think about the fact that what you may get a momentary laugh about at the expense of some Black person who does something crazy, the stuff you report about that person stays around long after the laughs are over, especially when you put it into print and publish it. I would encourage Black people to be more responsible about how you talk about Black people and Black life. Again, be balanced in how you present Black life. If you are going to ridicule some Black people, be sure that you praise some Black people too. Fair is fair.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison