As I mentioned over social media yesterday, my blog’s undergone some exciting new updates specifically related to my job as Miss Nashville and my platform, The Power of One. One of the biggest challenges I think that people of any age face is the crippling idea that they are insignificant, that they don’t matter, that the world would be more or less the same without them. But that’s not been my experience. Whether you’re eight or eighty, I’m sure if I asked you someone that had been important in shaping who you were, you’d have an answer.
My vision for Power of One Wednesday is to share stories. Stories of people who have made an impact and also had people impact them. I’m hoping to capture the stories of people from all walks of life, because I think my hunch about humanity holds true: no matter who you are or where you come from, you do matter. You can make a difference. You are The Power of One.
I wanted to start off this segment with probably the first person that would come to mind when I think of someone who’s inspired me. Some know her for her friendly face working at Johnson Bank, some will laugh and recount stories of funny memories at her church group, and people who have tried her cooking will tell you that she’s absolutely capable of starting her own Trinidadian restaurant. I just call her Mom.
My mother was born on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, and moved to America when she was just 23. Although her life has been fraught with hardship, her faith has been her anchor, one that has held true in even the darkest of storms. She has a light that radiates from her that somehow leaves everyone she meets a little bit better because she was around (that’s not me saying that either, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in years the other day, and the first thing she asked me was how my mom was doing and how much she admired her). I got to ask my real-life superhero a few questions about making a difference—here’s what she had to say.
Who is one of the people who’s had the biggest impact on you?
This is a tough one to answer, because I honestly believe that everyday people are constantly impacting my life. Tracing back my history and foundation, I would have to say my four brothers. I have always admired how family-oriented and hard working they are. My oldest brother Derrick became a dad at a young age of 18. I remember the day he left home to start a life with his own family at this early age. He had so much working against him. With only a 5th grade education I was able to see how difficult life can be without higher education. But he never gave up, no matter what life threw at him. I have watched him seek out opportunities to provide for his family by being a fisherman, hunter, farmer and a fireman. He did anything and everything he could to put food on the table for his family. He has worked very hard to put 2 of his daughters through college which is very rare and expensive where I’m from. They are the 1st in our family’s history to earn a college education. After sadly losing one of his beautiful daughters a few years ago due to an unexpected illness I watched him nurture his family through this very difficult time with courage and humility. My brother Romel also didn’t have the opportunity to obtain a college education but still continued to work hard in the face of challenges. He is now a medic and uses his skills and knowledge to help train others. He runs an Emergency Response Team operation in Trinidad which is a huge success. The most important things my brothers taught me are to stay focused in life, don’t give yourself the option to quit, and that if you have the willingness to learn and change, you can overcome anything.
What is one of the moments you’ve had where you realized that what you did mattered?
When I was 12 years old, I had an experience where I learned just how important it was to take responsibility for my actions. I stole a neighbor’s doll because I did not have one to play with. My dad found out and made me return it. I even had to go to their house and confess to them that I stole it. I remember feeling so embarrassed and ashamed having to own up to that. That day I learned an important lesson: that life is about choices and that choices have consequences. I’ve come to cherish that memory instead of avoid it and I’m grateful to my dad for giving me that learning opportunity.
What is one of the biggest issues that you believe is facing our world today?
There’s a lot I could say about that subject! I think a lack of self-control and wise decisions are some of the biggest. I think the world we live in today tries to avoid distinguishing right from wrong and trying to avoid consequences of their decisions. We need to ask ourselves in every situation what the wisest decision would be. Self-discipline is also central to our problems. If we learn to live a self-disciplined life, I believe we would be much happier and more content. We would be more successful with relationships, we would handle our finances differently, we would be better employees, and most importantly we would treat people with more respect and tolerance.
What’s one thing that you think people can do to make an impact?
A simple thing each one of us can do that can have an impact in the world around us is just to learn to love and accept one another. We need to understand that we are all in the same boat and each one of us are just trying to figure out how best to live life given our own unique situations. The truth is, we all need each other in some small way or another. I believe that by understanding we all have a story and we are all teachers to each other, we can really learn to appreciate and be more accepting of each other’s differences. Judging others does nothing but destroy growth and progress, but acceptance can repair even the most damaging wounds.
Thanks for joining us this week for the first Power of One Wednesday! Stay tuned for next week’s interview and be sure to continue to follow my adventures as Miss Nashville on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!