BE KIND: You never know who you’re sitting next to…
I work in education and I always tell my students to always be kind to their peers. I encourage them to interact with everyone, not just their clique. I learned this valuable lesson from my beloved mother, Beverly Sims, who always told me and my sister to treat everybody right, because you could be entertaining an angel. This jewel of advice came from a Bible scripture, Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
From the day I started school I was a social butterfly. I would talk to anyone with a pulse, and this behavior still holds true as an adult. My best friend says I will even talk to a wall. Sounds a tad bit nuts, but it’s true. I say all this to say, one should always be polite and kind to others because you never know who you’re sitting next to.
Back in 1997, as a 7th grader at Whittier Middle School in Flint, Michigan, I had no control over the seating arrangement in Mr. Earl Crowder’s math class.
I was a very studious student with an affinity for good
grades, good laughs and singing. Little did I know I’d be seated next to the
school’s resident rebel, Mr. JaQuavis Coleman. “Quavis” as we called him was
your typical middle school heartthrob: handsome, athletic, funny and bad as
hell! Due to his sense of humor and my love for talking, we became fast
friends. JaQuavis would have me cracking up every day from blazing on people to
him telling me who his next girlfriend was going to be. If you know me, you
know I laugh obnoxiously loud and so I got in trouble every damn day. JaQuavis
knew I could sing, so he would request for me to sing to him after I finished
my work. This too led to me getting into trouble. My punishment would be a writing
assignment from Mr. Crowder, dirty looks from Mr. Crowder and threats of
calling my mother from Mr. Crowder. My poor hand would be hurting and my nerves
would be shot! Quavis’ punishment was much harsher than mine, he would get his
classes closed or kicked out of class. However, none of this would stop us from
doing it all over again. Soon our middle school lives would be up and we would
enter high school; we remained friends throughout. Even though Quavis had a “reputation” that I
won’t get into, I never once judged him. He was just my friend who always made
me laugh and looked out for me if I was low on lunch money. Senior year Quavis
and I were both voted “Biggest Flirt”. I think that happened because we were
both kind to people, even to the not so cool kids, no matter what. People can
often take politeness the wrong way.
|Whittier Middle School, Crapo St. Flint, MI|
But, I digress. During our Senior year, JaQuavis and I would share one last class together. That class would be DRAMA class. Although we would hang out at lunch, at parties, or when I could convince him to come to church with me, we hadn’t shared a class together since middle school due to me being in the “gifted” program. So we were both geeked to be reunited in class again. And guess what? We sat next to each other. We were back at it again like we had never been separated, cracking jokes, laughing and him telling me about his girlfriend at the time, who would later on become his wife (Hey Ashley). Our teacher at the time, couldn’t understand how a student like me could be friends with a student like JaQuavis. Adults can be so petty sometime. Anyway upon graduating high school administrators, teachers, and others pretty much had high expectations for me. But what would become of Mr. Coleman, who had the world on his shoulders and the odds stacked against him?
How about Mr. JaQuavis Coleman became a New York Times Bestselling author, producer, screenplay writer and director on they ass!!!!! I am glad to call JaQuavis my friend. I am glad Mr. Crowder allowed us to sit next to each other.I’m glad my Mother taught me not to judge people and to be kind to all those I encounter, because you never know who you could be entertaining unawares. I happened to be entertaining a future mogul.
|Author/Director JaQuavis Coleman and I at his movie premiere "White House" is Dallas, TX|
JaQuavis isn’t my only successful friend, I could name about 100 more or so, but if you’re reading this I want you to understand the lessons in this story:
1. The Power of Networking- If at any time I call one of my successful friends for a reference, a word of encouragement or to help my students, they’re always down for the cause
2. Friendship- Friendships can start at any point in life. True friendship can always pick up where it left off; build friendships with people from all walks of life
3. Thou shalt not judge- Friendship may not always fit the bill of a Huxtable kid, Accept people for who they are, not how the world views them (including teachers and adults)
4. Laughter- Always find a way to laugh
5. Keep in touch- As we get older our lives become busy, but always find a way to at least say HEY!
6. SUPPORT- Always support your friends in their endeavors!
Who knew that the kid I sat next to, who got me in trouble would grow up take over the world?
A few of my Successful Friends/Family:
1. Jon Connor- Rapper/Songwriter/Producer on Aftermath @jonconnormusic (Instagram)
2. Tonika Arline- University of Michigan-Flint Rockstar of Admissions
3. Kendra Cochran- Makeup Artist @kcofaces (Instagram)
4. Tiffany Cole-Allen- Technical Designer/CEO of Non-Profit Org: Fashion Focus Initiative
5. Chuniq Inpower- NFL Players Association Digital Content Manager/CEO Just Regular Girls
6. Karhema Simon- A woman in S.T.E.M. that rocks!
7. Quintisha “Molly” Burns- Fitness motivator/Awesome Mom @napturalmolly (Instagram)
8. Laneishia Lamb- Fashion Designer/CEO Pretty Geeky Bowtique @prettygeekybowtique (Instagram)
9. Trevon Davis- Singer/Actor/Broadway Star @instagramtrevon (Instagram)
1. Pamela Balentine- Financial Guru/ Owner/CEO Viking Financial Services
1. Keysa Smith- Owner/Chef Spectacular Spudz @spectacularspudz (Instagram)
1. Brianna Grier- Owner D-Town Coney Island Dallas, Texas @dtownconeyisland (Instagram)
1. Kala Wilburn- Fashion Designer/Founder Vehicle City Fashion Week @kalasantrese (Instagram)
There’s more, but I’ll stop here for now…
Til Next Time… Be Kind