Motherhood, Reflections

Comprehension Over Career

You’ve probably heard about or saw on TV Jesse Williams’ speech over the weekend during the BET Awards.  If you haven’t, check it out here.  It’s worth watching.  He received BET’s Humanitarian Award for his activism, and it was a beautiful thing to see his work come to life.  His passion is so evident.

I’ve only known him as a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy.  I actually haven’t seen any episodes from the last several seasons, but that’s beside the point.  His words in his speech are so beautifully put together and so compelling.  I was so moved, and I think it’s something worth putting some extra thought into.  Just watch it and take it all in.

Aside from feeling inspired and wanting to share his speech, I felt so inspired in another way.  Note that I am not trying to take away from the true purpose of his speech.  I just know there are far more people well-versed on the topic of his speech than I am, but I wanted to expand on something that really called out to me.

At the beginning of his speech, he thanked his mom and dad.  He thanked his mom and dad for teaching him “to focus on comprehension over career.”  As a new mother, that part really stayed with me.  Honestly, it probably wouldn’t have if I wasn’t a mother, but I am, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

One thing that I was once told by a seasoned parent that has also stuck by me was a version of this quote: “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”  While watching his speech, there was a moment where that quote started running through my head, and I started to think of Dominic and all of the possibilities he has.  I only hope that my husband and I can encourage him to go beyond the norms and make a difference in this world.  How we can accomplish that, I’m not quite sure yet, but the seed has been planted in my heart and there I have faith that it will grow throughout the years.

I have to admit as a first generation American, I struggle sometimes with the concept of “comprehension over career.”  It was only as I got older and was exposed to more complex ideas in a public college as well as the internet that I started to think differently and learned to keep a more open mind. I’ve become more willing to learn beyond the norm, beyond what’s fed to me.  I wasn’t taught that before, and not by any fault of my parents.  They did what most first generation migrant parents focus on – career.  Go to school.  Get A’s.  Get the job.  Thinking beyond that wasn’t completely necessary.  I know differently now, and I hope it makes an impactful difference in my son’s life.

I guess if you’re going to take anything away from this, it’s that you have an overwhelmingly amazing potential to shape the future through your children.  We can make waves ourselves as we grow older and wiser, but what we pass down to our children will continue to help the changes grow and spread.  Things that are unfair in the world – the division, the cruelty, the judgment, all of that and then some – it all can change by how we choose to present them to our children.  Sure, they will grow up and will have the free will to choose what they want to believe, but the basis of it all really is comprehension.  We can teach them to want to learn beyond the norm.  There is just so much power in comprehension.

“Comprehension over career.”  I love it.  That statement has created a passionate and intelligent person in this man, and I hope it moves you to inspire your children to learn just the same.  Let’s move mountains.


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