MJ Passing a Lesson in Life Appreciation

Posted in Columns, This Generation by 311zine on 07/05/2009

By Deon Price

The entertainment industry mourns the death of a global mega super star and legend. The sudden and shocking passing of singer Michael Jackson exposes the hypocrisy of main stream media. We have seen a borage of dedication tributes on every media outlet from radio, T.V., in print  and on line for the King of Pop, yet these same venues have done just about everything possible to destroy his image, demean his character and derail his career. Now that he’s gone there is a phony love fest displayed by the media that many people including his family clearly recognized.  Michael Jackson endured years of image assassination attempts by mainly American media that forced him into exile. His recent career comeback tour that was planned this summer was a testament to his resilience.

As a society, we tend to rarely show sincere appreciation for people until they are gone. I can honestly say that I also allowed public perception to influence my appreciation for true talent. I was what you might call a closet MJ fan.  I know I’m not the only one who would be reluctant to blast MJ music in public. However, I do have a few of his jewels stored on my MP3 player like  “Human Nature,” or my most recent favorite, “Butterflies”.  I also made a point over the years to share his genius and talent with my children by proclaiming Mike as the “King of the Stage,” taking the thrown over their favorites Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake or Usher. His videos alone convinced them that he has the trophy for all-time best performer.

If there’s a lesson in this it is to appreciate people while they are here.  How many times have we seen t-shirts worn by people of their loved one who have passed away? I often ask, “would you have made a t-shirt” if that person was still alive. Most of the time the answer is, “probably not.”  Don’t wait until I’m gone to show me love.  Make a t-shirt of me now, while I’m here. We just celebrated a family event honoring my mother who is 75 years old.  Prior to the event we had t-shirts made with her image on the front. The event drew a larger than expected amount of family members from all over California. The sentiments of many of the folks attended was, “We should to this more often.” Most of the time families only get together like this when there’s a funeral. Whether it’s quality time with your immediate family, calling your grandparents once a week or attending the annual family reunion, these gestures are sincere and everlasting.

Never pass on an opportunity to show love and appreciation for someone because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  That holds true for family, friends or, in this case, a talented artist. Years ago I had a rare opportunity to see Myles Davis live at the Circle Star theater in Redwood City. I decided to pass thinking I’ll catch him next time. Unfortunately, he died a few months later. More recently, I had a chance to experience the God Father of Soul, James Brown in Cache Creek. I decided instead to go to the Berkeley Jazz  festival. Little did I know, James would pass away on December 25th that year. How many people who were constant critics of Michael Jackson are showing appreciation for him now that he’s gone?

Deon Price is youth advocate and freelance writer who lives in Suisun City, Ca. He can be reached at Deon.Price@comcast.net or http://www.priceedutainment.webs.com


Fatherhood is Always ‘Job One’

Posted in This Generation by 311zine on 06/19/2009

By Deon Price

There are many debates on what is the most important occupation in the world. Is it a doctor, teacher, lawyer, engineer, cook, governor, president, construction person or farmer? All are extremely critical for our society. Yet at the end of the day, you’re just a dad. A more detailed perspective would be to consider that a father is the most critical role. Although we often go unnoticed and not openly appreciated, arguably the greatest contribution to the world is the cultivation of the greatest resource in the world. The best position to do such nurturing of a child is as a father starting with your very own. The greatest act of love the world has ever known was demonstrated by a father for the benefit of us all.

Let’s take a moment once a year to give some much needed acknowledgment. The role of a father transcends all career or worldly responsibilities. No matter what your day job is, once you clock out and arrive home, your real job begins. You get no days off, you can’t call in sick. You are on call 24/7 and 365 days per year. Claims of fatigue will not be accepted as excuses from your roles or responsibilities. You are the playmate, provider, supervisor, servant, disciplinarian, mediator, coach, counselor, teacher but not the boss. You humbly take orders and perform your duties with no reward, acknowledgment or fanfare. You simply do what you do. If you show me a fatherless community and I’ll show you a community in chaos.

Your children could care less that you are exhausted after work and just got out of an hour and a half of traffic. You just suck it up and muster enough energy to play catch or show some excitement for the picture he colored just for you. Our commander and chief, who holds the most demanding and powerful position on earth, set a fine example of this perspective when he acknowledged his first order of business as president of the United States is to up hold his promise to his daughters to purchase them a dog. We may never fully understand the complex role of a father in the life of his child but here are a few famous visionaries on the matter of fatherhood:

J. August Strindberg — ‘That is the thankless position of the father in the family . . . the provider for all, and the enemy of all.’ Sigmund Freud — ‘The greatest gift I ever had come from God, and I call him Dad!’ George Herbert — ‘I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.’ Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eyes — ‘One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.’ Helen Rowland — ‘All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye. You know… fathers just have a way of putting everything together.’ The Bible has also greatly mentioned about the role of a father in a child’s life. Proverbs ‘A wise son is the one who makes a father rejoice and a stupid son is the grief of his mother.’

Take a moment this weekend to show some love and appreciation to the father or male figure in your life. Consider the impact or influence that individual had on you that helped you navigate through some of life’s most difficult terrain. He probably won’t expect much so any gesture will be appreciated such as a phone call, a card or dinner. Having said that, I would like to offer a few humble suggestions. Although he will never complain, regardless of how bad the gift is, here are a few Items to avoid; Socks, ties or anything that will be categorized as an accessory. I’ll go crazy if I get another tie clip or shaving kit. Happy Fathers Day! You are appreciated.

Deon Price is a freelance writer and youth advocate who lives in Suisun City. He can be reached at Deon.Price@comcast.net or http://www.youtube.com/priceedutainment.