Gwen Iffle had a clip tonight on Washington Week of a Black woman she
encountered on the Mall at the Inauguration. The woman was on her
knees crying as Obama took the oath. Iffle asked about her tears
and the woman said, “I have a son—and now he won’t have to be a
rock star or a basketball player.”
And I remembered an angry fight I had with my adolescent son on our trip
to the Smokey Mountains back in the mid-1980’s. At dinner one night,
Jim spoke of his dreams of becoming a star basketball player, maybe play
ball in Europe, etc. And, I thought: NOT on my watch.
We were most unhappy with each other that evening, because I came
down on that dream hard, probably much too hard for a teenager.
I understand the woman’s dreams for her son, so well—and her great
joy that the role models have changed. Barack Obama has begun to
transform the landscape.
There are no words to say how proud I am of my sons—-a professor
and a finance and budgeting software expert. Both are highly skilled men who bring
a serious knowledge to their work. My dream was not deferred, because
we had the means to educate our sons and the family role models to give
them guidance. Oh….there were rocky years in your late teens and early
20’s, but you both settled down….finally….and began to gain the complex
skills needed for today’s world. And, true to your father’s training, you took
your inheritance and ran to the bank. Then both of you used the interest to
earn further degrees. You showed that you valued education and you showed
that you valued money, which made both of your parents happy.
That mother’s joy—oh….how I hope she can have the joy and pride my sons
have given me.