I believe in the power of words and the existence we bring to them as we speak. Dr. Martin Luther King proclaimed in his Dream Speech that one day, black children will attend the same schools as white children. His words manifested and it came to pass.
The power of my last name amazes me—Mason. It’s the foundation of my life, character, and legacy. Friends have neglected me, and thieves have taken my possessions, but I’ll forever uphold my name. My name refers to one who works with stone, but if I could delineate it, I would state one who seeks knowledge because of my desire to learn. My name embodies the heart of my grandfather who strived to live while battling cancer, even after the doctor informed him that he had six months left. However, living by faith, he vowed that he’d live, and went to heaven thirty-three years later at eighty-eight to see his Father on Father’s Day. Thus, I inherited his strong will which allows me to pursue a higher education because without an education, King’s speech would remain “A Dream.”
Nevertheless, failure was what I’d always lived up to. Failure was the word sent to crush and shrivel my dreams. I felt the bitter salt as if I were a snail dying, overlooked, and stepped on. For example, my seventh grade teacher stepped on me, often shrieking in front of my International Baccalaureate’s class that I was unmotivated, lazy, and inadequate. Instead, I embraced those words and used them as motivation. I wasn’t a thug. Nonetheless, I never thought I’d enjoy reading Shakespeare on my own time. I’m a mentally strong, wise, young, black man who is now attending Saint Leo University. Listening and analyzing those enlightening, yet insensitive, words my teacher spouted matured my mind. Those words lingered in my soul as my body felt the cold chill of isolation and embarrassment. Rubbing my hands together, feeling my damp palms, I decided to succeed against all odds. Then and there, I decided to become one of few black educators and role models.
Henceforth, I will motivate our new generations with my words of encouragement. Our youth have great aspirations, but aspirations are like seeds; without the proper fertilization they will remain dreams and will not blossom into successful careers. For me, my teacher’s words were fertilization for my dying harvest.
Words can defeat us or enable us to accomplish our dreams; words can grow into weeds or something that sustains us. The roots of my name speak for me when my body isn’t present. As with my name, the names Jordan, Trump, and Jesus speak for themselves. My personality and my decision to educate youth will speak for me when I’m resting in heaven. I will impact my community with the blessing of breath God has given me, speaking, teaching, and using my words wisely. I will live up to my name, the legacy of Christopher G. M.
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