It’s amazing the way God orchestrates things. I say God, some of y’all might call it “the universe” or attribute it to the laws of attraction. Whatever you call it, sometimes, through a series of seemingly unrelated events, the things we need to see, hear or experience, land right at our feet.
Last year, we told you about the incredible opportunity the people at Walt Disney World, Steve Harvey, and Essence Magazine provide for high school students called the Disney Dreamers Academy. A weekend long event, the Disney Dreamers Academy hosts high school students who attend workshops in their field of interest, engage with celebrity and motivational speakers and network. The weekend is meant to inspire them to nourish their talents and ferociously pursue the dreams they have for themselves.
It’s all about the kids. But there’s another piece of the puzzle. Each child comes to Disney with a chaperone, typically one of their parents. And yesterday, while the children were off enjoying free time in one of the theme parks, Dr. Steve Perry, founder and principal of Capital Prep, spoke specifically to the parents about their dreams.
He told the parents that in many of the essays they had to submit in order to be accepted into the program, their children wrote about them. Whether they detailed their struggles or described them as an inspiration, or both, he said, “the children wear your issues.”
Perry acknowledged that most good parents have doubts about the way they’re raising their children. He admitted that even as a principal of a school, dealing with other people’s children for a living, raising his own sons can still present a challenge. But he told the parents that despite their faults, they were doing something right and it was evidenced by the fact that their children had been chosen to participate in this program. He asked, “Those circumstances that you passed on to the next generation, did you imagine that they would be this?” In other words, the darkest moments in the parents’ lives ultimately afforded their children an opportunity of a lifetime. He told the parents, “You’re here because you taught your child to turn tragedy into triumph.”
I hope my paraphrasing of his words do the moment justice. It was powerful and I don’t even have kids yet. After he said it, I scanned the room to see if the other parents were as moved as I was and that’s when I noticed a woman silently crying, wiping away the heavy tears that were streaming down her face. Once Dr. Perry had finished speaking, I went up to her and introduced myself. She told me her name: Jamilah. I asked her why she was so moved by Perry’s words.
She said, “My daughter, so far, is having a very powerful experience here. She was interviewed by Mr. Harvey on his radio show this morning, they’re following her with cameras, a lot’s happening for her. A big part of her essay that she submitted was discussing one of the most challenging experiences that she felt she’s gone through in her life, which was a really difficult thing in my life and some things that I had to overcome…”
I interrupted her to ask if she’d mind sharing some of those challenges.
What she said floored me.