Wednesday, July 23, 2008

work hard and don’t complain

Growing up in Memphis, there were 3 general things I was inculcated with from either my Grand folk, Mom or Uncles:

1] If you gone be a ditch digger be the best ditch digger and they will always call Torrance to dig that ditch

2] Somebody gotta be number one, may as well be you.

3] Competition is for folk who have to prove something to themselves; you don’t need to compete boy if you already know yourself.

Over the years, I have had a lot of things said about me, but never have I been called lazy nor have I ever had my work ethic questioned. The little I know about my mothers father and my granny’s brother, I do recant both of them giving me advice as a child under the age of 4. My Great Uncle, while drinking Scotch and chain smoking Pall Mall Red would say “what makes a man is how hard he works, not for himself but his family and neighborhood – men take care of others.” These were straight old school cats, with my great uncle, like my granny, being straight up on out of Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Even after they both died, and my mother’s brother took over the reign of my family being the last oldest male in the household, he said the same thing to me over and over but added “we will always work hard and take care of out children, and working smart is the hardest work to do.”

I am writing this because of a request I received from one of my readers. He suggested that I was always talking about self suffiency and that I should share my joy of hard work and working for myself to others such to maybe motivates them to do the same. I honestly hope that this tractate does his request honor. For it is a joy, a joy unfortunately equal to that I experienced when my son and daughter were born, only without the tears. You see after both were born, I left the delivery room, looked at the moon in one case and the rising sun in the other and cried, like it was straight out of Roots.

Nowadays, not like there is nothing wrong with it, but many of us want the easy way out, We want to rely on our looks and become models, or we want to rap, or worse, we spend $10 to $20 dollars weekly trying to hit the lotto. No longer do we desire to wait or even earn what we desire for in our myopic purview, me, and me now is all that counts. We will complain while we have other providing or taking care of us because we cannot see that their work ethic is what sustains us, or that the opportunity given to us is always a function of chance; and that we need to make the best of all opportunities for we may not get another.

But for some of us, the easy way is the best way. Even if that means selling drugs, jacking someone’s shit, depending on others or just not being able to be on time for a job if one is fortunate enough to have one. And dont give me this bitch azz shit about its the only way folk can make money. Truth be told, hard work is a throw back like black and white TV. I mean we are so lazy that we will walk in front of a TV looking for a remote control to change the channel instead of doing it manually. We even too lazy to change our oil or even cook our own meals, preferring to waste loot at Jiffy Lube or McDonalds, while at the same time being, or saying we are too busy to sit at the dinner table together. To busy with all the convience around us – go figure. All I am saying is that work ethic is what engenders sprit of faith and accomplishment. Without such, we have nothing, for we will ask and wait for folk to give us shit, even if its freedom, liberty or equality. I see what George Clinton meant now when he said Free your mind and your ass will follow. For I am the last eldest man left in my family and outside of love, alll i can leave them with are my actions through my work ethic - can u dig it?

Amplification: In last post ACTION means macking or trying to get a girls number for yawl lames LOL - not sex.


NoRegrets said...

Lovely. Wonderful words, to be passed down. My parents never said stuff like that out loud, they just led by example, and we all followed.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

example dont work no more unless u walk around with your thong or draws showing

Amina said...

you have great ones but I love this one.
my father always say the hard and don't complain!!
i could relate a lot to this post since there are many folks in my family prefer to do nothing and each month come to you with sorry excuses about how they couldn't pay this because life is hard..

and most of them say, i won't be able to pay back but God will

Tera said...

Torrance you know I learned some of the best lessons in life from my grandmother...she talked some real true shit to my ass! And to this day, I thank her for having me in the kitchen since 7, for learning to recognize a busta ass sucka when I see them, and for charging me to accomplish my goals in certain increments in my life. She was my everything and to this day, I KNOW BETTER and teach my kids the same exact things!!!

P.S. It's funny that she smoked Pall Mall "reds" too...back in that day, I could actually go and get them for her!

Melody.Darlene said...

we are disconnected, that's why. i wrote a blog about this. we are too dependent on other things to provide thrill and excitement in our lives. we are lazy. back in the day when i was a kid i got my excitement from playing hide-n-go-seek... these days kids isolate themselves with video games and the internet. back in the day when i had a book report, my ass worked hard and went to the library... these days you can just go on the internet and cut and paste ur whole damn report.

working hard is becoming a thing of the past... it's foreign to this new generation. scary isnt it?

Big Cheekz said...

Motivation is a good thing. But the true motivation has to come from within. That's my opinion. What you are providing is a good example that success CAN be achieved, but getting there will be different for everyone. And like you said - hard work is the key - and no matter how much you try to motivate, not everyone will be willing to put in the hard work to get where you are.

Kitty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T.C. said...

i grew up seeing it and my father always said gotta work for what you want in life, nothing will just be handed to you...many young people NEED this right here, they need to read it and hear and see it...problem is my generation and yours we aren't showing them, we aren't telling got 40 year old men out here creating lives making up stuff, and their sons follow right behind got 40 year old women using what they got in between their legs to get their bills paid and you got their daughters who will follow...

so even before we get to the young folk we gotta start listening to each other, you never know what a seed can do to change...then we talk...hell how about we just talk to everybody and show everybody what it do...

one day, hopefully sooner than later...TC will be working for TC, until then imma keep doing what my country (THANK GOD) momma and daddy and em taught me to!

T.C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
4GOTTEN1 said...

Hard work and not complaining is the only way. Trust me i know i've been fending for myself since i was 17 years old. The get rich quick schemes were definetly not worth it for me to fucking risky. Working hard and saving my money is the only way i know how to survive so I do it. I have to work harder than a slave sometime but i think it will all be worth it in the end.
Great Post as always man thanks alot.

NoRegrets said...

BTW, I didn't know you could make requests for posts on your blog! I think, if you haven't already, you should do one on saving money, vs. spending all you have and being destitute in your old age.

sista gp said...

Working for someone else encourages me to do my own thing.
Thanks for the inspiring words of wisdom.

NoRegrets said...

I just realized that was you on the second comment. LOL - can you imagine 70 year olds walking down the street like that??

Keith said...

I feel you. I learned some of the same lessons from My Grandfather and my Uncles...They too were straight old school. Now that I'm a new grandfather myself...(Thanks
for the compliment on my post today!)I'm going to impart that same work ethic and old school wisdom to my little man.

Nina said...

Great post. I agree whole-heartedly. My dad was from the Caribbean and he was taught the same thing. A man must provide for his family. He can wear rags, but his daughters must be fed and clothed. This has also been engrained in me and my house.

Sauce said...

Hard work aint never killed no one but John Henry.

blackgirlinmaine said...

I love this post. Sadly it seems hard work has indeed gone out style with the younger generations. I tell my son, heck I had my first job at 14 and been working ever since.

All this technology we have is great but I wonder if it has contributed to folks getting lazier? Just wondering out loud.

By the way, my Pops gave me similiar advice "Whatever you do be the best, ditch digger, whatever, just do your best"

The Flyyest said...

i feel ya babe!!!

KELSO'S NUTS said...

Torrance: I agree with you, as usual, being your twin. I had the same expectations on me and the same advice and grew up in a version of the same neighborhood with all of its temptations, and also with relatives who'd gone seriously astray. 1970s economy not terribly kind to White immigrant people without money either! And I had role models who practiced what they preached vis-a-vis hard work.

That's probably true of everyone who comments here. I read the comments and they're all well-written and reveal a high-level of education and achievement.

We've all taken those early lessons of hard work and having to make it happen for yourself to heart.

There's something missing from the WORDS of your post Torrance, but it's there in a huge way in the way those WORDS are arranged: JOY.

My old man's a great guy and I love him and respect him beyond all measure, but if I couldn't find PLEASURE for myself in doing the work, I wouldn't have done it or I would have done it and been miserable. His words wouldn't have had any meaning.

Maybe his emphasis on work and taking nothing for granted got me out to school but something else kept me there. At first, it was very much a desire to be #1 and it's close cousin "competitiveness."

At around 11, when most kids start to get the gift of conceptual thought, I began to LIKE it.

I had a math teacher who was killing time between having been a labor lawyer and beginning a municipal political career in the North Bronx as part of the old Irish machine. I never had any idea why he'd want to do that because becoming a middle-school teacher is not the easiest thing in the world to do even if you are connected to the world of local politics.

He really looked the part of the Irish ward heeler, too: sharkskin suit, french cuffs, long sideburns, pomaded hair, tie-tack. This was not an unfamiliar figure in my world growing up and generally these were dudes to be very wary of and whose good side it was important to get on.

The man, as a teacher anyway, was not that way. He loved teaching math and used the very things our parents warned us about as pedagogical techniques.

No one who ever had a math class with this guy will ever forget the story of "Meyer's Mobile Muggers" he told on the first day. Then, how the teacher used the example of the old gangster named Meyer's truck hi-jacking crew as a means to teach algebra, Cartesian geometry and even give us a first glimpse at differential calculus.

This was like ear candy for all us young boys but the girls as well got into it. He'd teach the lesson and then illustrate it with -- let's say -- a story about Meyer sending two vehicles out to hijack a truck bringing cigarettes from North Carolina to New York City somewhere en route on the Turnpike. The lesson in it might be solving two simultaneous equations with two unknowns: the market value of un-stamped cigarettes and the cost to Meyer of bailing out his guys and paying for their defense if it all went wrong.

Nobody in that class ever became a truck hijacker or got involved in crime or corruption.

But most of us never lost a love of math and never again asked the silly question of how "is this going to help us in the real world?"

It's a simple thing then to realize that there are valuable pearls of wisdom in all academic endeavor.

And in all labor.

I have great admiration for this guy because he knew how to reach students in unconventional ways and bring in a lot of kids to the joys of learning who otherwise would be left to the devil. He didn't shy away from the EXISTENCE of this sort of thing in the neighborhood. Short-cuts to easy money and crime are no good but children see and understand especially in the city. I think a role model does a child a disservice to ignore or explain away such things as "stuff bad people" do.

I try to use some of the "wrong" motivators with my own son when he's lazy. I explain to him how the schoolwork is just like a video game or baseball which he enjoys. Work at it and get good marks and you're "winning" the game I tell him. Take it as seriously as Little League.

No idea whatever became of that math teacher. He never went far in politics, that I know. Maybe he went back to teaching.

Charece said...

Inspiring, I teach a Life Skills class and I'm always trying to stress the importance of good work ethics...My father never got to do a job that he wanted due to the lack of education but even working at a job he despised, he got every morning for 30+ years at the crack of dawn to go to a job that he hatted just to make ends meet. never did I hear him complain about it.

You would never know how much he really hated his job if you based it on his work ethic. For years I thought my dad loved his job that's how dedicated he was...I wasn't til recently my father told me how he always wanted to go back to school to become a biblical studies teacher which he does part time at his church but if you could see the dedication he has even today man all man...I get home a little to late the night before and wanna call out the next day LOL...Now and days people wanna quit cause somebody look at them wrong on the job, it's crazy.

I'm reading all the other post realizing how everyone else seem to be writing about their fathers too... It's something about Fathers and Work Ethics they just seem to go hand and hand. That's a combination I love to see cause aint nothing worst than a LAZY MAN!Great Post!

Charece said...

You just gave me the inspiration for my next blog.I think I call it,"Aint Nothing Worst" Look for it soon.

B said...

Lovin' this post here, bruh. Seriously. I like to think that at 23 I have good work ethic. I works hard for mine. Can't make excuses if I tried.

....and I know how to change the oil in my car.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

Thank u albeit my favorites are Pomegranate pu**y, dick ridin aint my thang, among others

Sound like a wise woman to me and it was my great uncle, grany loved argo starch

So true, that’s why u got ghengis khan here in me so don’t be scared, and im gone chk the post

Big Cheekz
Well we gotta have faith


Yo pops sounds like the shit

Its justv the man in u folk. Gotta love that jones

Maybe we can do that one day u good folk

sista gp
now that’s motivation

Who u think it was folk

Just the teruth and do that young man justice like I know u will

Thank u hon, perserverance and not having makes u want

True and he was a legend

some things are universal

The Flyyest
Thanks hon, and I wish LOL

Yes u are right, couldn’t go in detail about the feelings with kids. But our folk taught us well. Math included

i will and thank u hon

sound like a real human being to me that happens to be a woman

Gee said...

That's definitely one of the realest blogs I've ever read. It sounds like we come from similar anyway. The 2 men in my life, my dad and grandfather are not college educated. But the one thing they are is hard workers. Both work 60 and 70 hours a week to support the families. My grand dad no so much anymore, but he still works at the age of 78 because thats all he knows.

And i'm proud to say those qualities were instilled in me as well. Sometimes its cool to "work smart, and not hard," but the easy way is very rarely the best way. Another thing that I was always told is that "try" is not a word. Either you do or you don't. There's nothing inbetween. I don't want to talk don't on young folk and say that they are lazy, but the times and mentalities of black youth are changing

Tasha said...

Awesome post....made me remember why I bust my ass day in and day out.

I look around at those who seek the easy way out and laugh at them because in the end, they will NEVER learn and make positive progress. They'll forever be searching for a way to "get by." It's so sad that our society has become so lazy....what happened to the pride one experienced when rewarded for hard work?!

Emeritus said...

"We want to rely on our looks and become models"

mane, you jus mad cuz i'm prettier than you. :-)

i'm all for making money off your looks if you have a college degree that can feed you when your looks don't pay the bills anymore.

BeKinky_Paula said...

Yazoo MS?!?! Whoa..the backwoods! lol My dads parents are from Grenada MS, never been there and I know nothing about it. Too country for me. I'm a citygirl

I wish I could've met my mom's parents....

I was never told anything about working hard....I just figured I didnt want to be poor all my life LOL

and crooning IS singing! Just a specific type of singing. SO *sticks tongue out* And maybe you like him because you sound like him :P I want you to look up Notorius B.U.M on youtube LMBO

Big Momma Pimpalishisness said...

Selling drugs and all these other fast money jobs won't fulfill you emotionally, and neither will the big screen tv or car you bought with that easy money.

Hard work, a sense of accomplishment, and people around you that you care about are what will make you a success.

That's just my opinion on the matter :P

Lovebabz said...

My Mom had an amazing work ethic. She was very proud to earn her own way after my Father left us. I am of the same blood. I had my own business when I was 12 years old, complete with business cards and flyers! I was always enterprising.

This mindset is hard to convey in the face of fast money, fast cars, fast women...FAST everything. There is no waiting. There is no delayed gratification, there is no waiting for the fruits of your labor. We live in an age where waiting is inconvenient. We want what we want RIGHT NOW...even love I daresay. No one hangs in, or hangs on. We quickly move onto the next fast, fashion, job, partners.

You have reminded me of my Mother and I thank you for that.

George Malik Abdul-Mahdi said...

Raw Dawg,

Without a doubt, this is the most powerful post you've shared with us.

Damn, it's wonderful to know that there are so many DEEP thinking people of Color in this concrete jungle.

You stated that "I mean we are so lazy that we will walk in front of a TV to looking for a remote control to change the channel instead of doing it manually."

I rest my case. Keep coming with the hard punches, bro!


KELSO'S NUTS said...

I expect the Obama Adminstration is going to have to walk a very find line in dealing with the US mortgage crisis. He'll have to find a way that both borrower and lender give.

The lenders knew what the risks were -- default, prepayment -- or should have, so they have to be able to shoulder a larger portion of the burden. Nobody who's buying exotic debt securities should be doing so without a full knowledge of what they're doing.

A good portion of the borrowers, however, have to be held to account. By what right exactly did Middle Class Americans feel they had a RIGHT to live in a mansion? To drive his-and-hers Escalades?

When I was a young man just out of college, I did very well financially, but I never thought I had a RIGHT to live above my means. I lived where it was responsible at that phase of life to live so as to allow for saving. I didn't own a car. I didn't take lavish vacations. I didn't buy my girlfriend (later 1st wife expensive jewelry).

I worked and worked and worked with the goal of being as great at my craft as I could. I let the money be an indicator of how well or badly I was doing my job. Not an indicator of what kind of "status" I had.

As I proceeded through an adult professional career, I was prudent about changing my standards of living. I've taken that to extremes because of how prudent my parents are and because of the approach my two most important professional mentors took. These were guys with 10s of millions stashed away everywhere. In off-shore banks, in safe-deposit boxes, in equities and bonds, etc. They wore simple clothing and drove 2nd-hand cars. They had proved to THEMSELVES that they could do it. Intrinsic satisfaction.

The world's admiration of material possessions didn't count for anything with them. They worried that if they spent lavishly they would only make people angry and jealous and inadaquate. It didn't suit them philosophically and they knew that such behaviors usually beget trouble.

So, while I still look to get the best of it out of every situation, I hate excess. I dress to fit into the backdrop now.

Maybe I've missed out. But I know that when someone buys an Aronow boat or a Testarossa ride, that's 100 kinds of fucked-up. It shows a lack of intrinsic satisfaction for one's work, and it's a green-light to be robbed and/or investigated.

Believe me, our role models' attitudes towards a work ethic also speak to how to behave once that work ethic has borne fruit.

Lovebabz said...

Kelso darling,

I agree with you. But the mortgage crisis for those that aspired to the lifestyle of the rich and famous is totally different from folks who live in urban and rural centers, who were honestly and hopefully looking to achieve the american dream.

Mortgage companies were extremely predatory and misleading in marketing their products. Sure we can all say folks ought to have been more sophistcated and savvy in their financial lives, but at the end of the day, there is enough wrong doing on the side of lenders and those that invested in the shit lenders were doing. The affluent folks won't take a big hit... It will be the working poor who will shoulder this burden and the bail out.

You ought not have to be penalized for being poor and trying to grab the brass ring. Especially when everything and everyone says the brass ring is the thing you ought to have.

Part of the problem is the idea of the "American Dream" and the foolish notion of what is success and what makes someone successful. It is all driven by money and greed...he who amasses the most wins! Until there is another model of success designed by personal need and fulfillment you will have folks who want to achieve what someone else has deemed success!

There were/are a great many folks who worked hard to make their mortgage payments and maintain.

We cannot lump the the same basket as the working poor.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

LOVEBABZ: I made clear that the lenders' ought to bear the brunt of the final work-out, si o no?

I was also clear in referring to Middle Class Americans, si o no?

I can't help it if the Marxist lexicon is verboten in the USA and that the words "middle-class" stand in for the more accurate "working-class" or more properly still "proletariat" and "lumpen-proletariat."

[Hey, I come from a European family, what can I tell you! We tend to stick with the old-time lingo!]

You and I agree completely in the way the crisis OUGHT to be handled.

A working person who has been fooled by a mortgage company into thinking he or she didn't qualify for a fixed-rate loan is in a very category than a middle-manager somewhere in Exurbiaville who feels entitled to live in a 10,000 square foot house!

KELSO'S NUTS said...

LOVEBABZ: If I told you how I really felt about this, you'd call me a Communist!

no_slappz said...

lovebabz, you wrote:

"Mortgage companies were extremely predatory and misleading in marketing their products."

That's a rather broad accusation without any support. Can you offer some specifics?

In all but a few cases I've come across, the stories of people with mortgage problems include -- in figurative small print -- a statement that the homeowner goofed, but somehow should not bear any responsibility.

You also said:

"It will be the working poor who will shoulder this burden and the bail out."

Not true. Not true at all. IF, as Congress made possible today, IF the federal government (taxpayers) is tapped to aid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the "working poor" will receive virtually ALL the benefits. And those benefits may be substantial.

shine said...

I dig.

Shy said...

I can identify with this right here, lol! My dad is the greatest example of wonderful work ethic in my life. If it weren't for him, I would not be in school right now. He's always held down at least 2 full time jobs since I've been alive, all so he can provide for my mom, me, and my little brother. It's crazy, because I have the bad influence of frivolous spending from my mother on one end and the drive to earn, work hard, and save from my dad on the other end, so often I find myself torn between the two. But honestly, I think I'm taking after my dad and I'm so thankful. And even though I depend on my dad to pay tuition every semester, I still think he raised a pretty independent daughter who doesn't mind working for what she wants at all. :-)

paisley said...

just want to let you know,, i am here lurking,, reading each and every post... oft times you are so above my field of vision i cannot coherently comment...

but today i want to say that what i have seen of you since i have started reading here,, is a man, a role model, and one hell of a brilliant intellectual thinker.. i am honored to have you as a friend in this cyber world of which we are both a part...

fly tie said...

excellent. and i too am a big advocate of self sufficiency (and funkadelic)

The Jaded NYer said...

my fam passed down similar bits of wisdom, but dammit if I wasn't too spoiled and bratty to heed their words.

thanks for the reminder...

Naeemah said...

'Work hard and don't complain'-damn that sums it up! VERY well said! I love this post:) and it really should be emphasized more, esp. to the younger kids nowadays.

Stuck in my head said...

"Truth be told, hard work is a throw back like black and white TV. "

So true. People are so lazy now-a-days. I am not excluding myself completely from that group. Though I work hard, there are times when I try to find the easy way out. Some times I am successful with the easy way, but more often than not, I have to go ahead and do it the "right" way so trying the easy way was just a waste of time.

Roxy said...

I finally updated! LOL I didn't think you'd be interested reading my superficial blog, but I really don't have as many deep thoughts as you seem to have. I totally agree with you about work ethic today. I think a lot about it myself. How many times have I thought, I wish I could just get famous for something stupid I did and get paid loads of money for it. But in reality I know that's NEVER gonna happen. I'm an engineering major, and I've wanted to quit sooo many times especially now, but I keep telling myself that I KNOW I can do it if I just get off my lazy ass, start studying instead of reading blogs all day. LOL But I added you to my faves too, because as much as I love my superficial junk, I love a good blog that makes you think. =] BTW, your blog made me think of Malcolm X for some reason. Not completely but it just crossed my mind. I had to read it for my first summer class, I didn't finish it yet! But it's just crazy to think about what went on.

Miss Foxxy said...

it is a shame how lazy society has become. we use technology and come up w/ inventions to make life easier.. we have computers doing shit that people used to do now. this keep going, each generation is gonna become lazier and lazier than the previous! luckily, my brothers and i were brought up with many of the same advice you got.. our parents drilled the whole "hard work will pay off" into our heads. both my parents came from nothing [my mom left her country to come to the US to further her education and make a living for herself] to work their way up and make enough where they are able to afford a couple homes, luxury cars, and more.. yet they STILL work their asses off. AND they don't spoil us either, so we know the value of money and hard work.

anyway, this was an excellent post!

uNWrItten* said...

*free your mind and ur ass will follow* lmao!
haha..ur right tho..true words..and dude ur quite impressed..what you know about nigeria tho..get with it! lol

Taffy said...

Wow, No doubt that what was vested in you from the grandfolk, your mum and uncle hasnt been put to waste..Its up to you to drum into the younger generation now...

ShonaVixen said...

this post was a great read!!and so true, people want the easy way out, some think they're all Lil Wayne but they arent!Hard work brings satisfaction and a feeling of achievement!

Mocha said...

Thanks for the "drive by" great blog..and it doesnt get any real-er than this post.
Our parents are amazing; in what they told and showed us about how to be MEN & WOMEN.
I hope I do as good a job..and better *wink*

Tia's Real Talk said...

real nice T...i didnt know you did blog requests...hmmm (puttin thinkin cap on)

Urban Thought said...

I can dig it. Truer words haven't been said in quite some time. I need to pass this on to some folk.

no_slappz said...


what field of engineering are you majoring in?

ingridspeak said...

Amen and well put. I feel everything about this post especially the quote on competition. I have never been overly competitive, never felt I needed to prove anything to anyone. My actions speak volumes for me. Thanks for this post Torrence it was well received by my eyes and my heart. Thanks for sharing. I wish more of "us" thought like you.

QH said...

This was a very positive, but honest work. Nice spot here...very gritty in a good way.

This piece helped me gain a bit of composure over some minor stuff I was tripping over, work, enjoying the fruit of those works is what life is about. Sometimes, we have to be reminded of that. And yes, you will be blogrolled know. Ta.-QH

Lena said...

This is exactly why even though I don't know you personally, I can honestly say that you are one of very few men I can respect because of your work ethics, your devotion to your family, being an involved and great father and just not being an ass. I mean it too!

plez... said...

thanks for dropping by my blog this morning.

this is REAL TALK, man... my parents were the same way with my siblings and i: get your butt up, work hard, work to be the best in all you do! without realizing it, they were passing on their values to the next generation. i don't recall either my father or mother taking a sick day from work (and incidently, i never missed a day of school until i was in the 7th grade!), or coming home early from work, or not providing for us, or making sure we got up and went to church on sunday morning, or blessing our food before we ate, etc.!

"work hard and don't complain!"

torrance, man, i think we're kin!

CaroleMcDonnell said...

Sooooo true, Torrance. I was thinking also that we should tell teenagers to study hard. Back in the day when I was teaching I would look at kids who were intelligent and who other teachers thought were dumb. But I knew the kids had trained themselves into a kind of laziness where they just didn't study. They skimmed the book on the last day before the test. They just didn't learn to love the hard work of studying. -C

Keli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms. Jones said...

An abundance of wise words in this post. The essence of a pure work ethic has been lost for the most part, especially with the upcoming generation. I think that's partly due to the fact that you have babies raising babies so it just becomes a vicious cycle of learning how to "get by".

Keli said...

Competition is for folk who have to prove something to themselves; you don’t need to compete boy if you already know yourself.

-Please say that again! Now I am very competitive, but my mode of competition is one that raises the bar and motivates those around me to rise to the occasion…

But it seems that folks that feel the need to compete (in the sense of trying to make others look bad), typically are those that lack confidence in their own abilities.
There is nothing like working hard and being duly rewarded.

The sexiest thing a man could wear is ambition.

Pajnstl said...

Those 3 are truly rules to live by.

where is the video?

MrsGrapevine said...

We do want an easy way out, our souls are tired from those that work so hard before us, but the key ingredient to success is hard work. If we can keep our eye on the prize as they use to say or see the bigger picture then we will know work now, play hard later.

What's up with music, you need warn a sista in case the kids are nearby. I have to check out later.

MrsGrapevine said...

Is myopicy a word, we may need to coin that one, because most people today are unable to see beyond themselves. Their vision is one dimensional and quite narrow and near sided.

Garth Sullivan said...

work ethic is important, but, it is easier to develop a work ethic when you receive fair pay for work.

wages in this country have been stagnating for decades and the disparity of wealth is worse than at any time except just prior to 1929.

try putting food on the table and a roof of your head working a minimum wage job, never mind, having anything left over to give back to the community.

no_slappz said...

garth sullivan, you wrote:

"wages in this country have been stagnating for decades and the disparity of wealth is worse than at any time except just prior to 1929."

False. Today a far larger percentage of Americans live far better than ever before.

You said:

"try putting food on the table and a roof of your head working a minimum wage job, never mind, having anything left over to give back to the community."

Are you arguing that "not working" gets you more food and shelter?

Anyway, almost no one lives entirely on the wages from a Minimum-Wage Job. Thus, the claim has no merit. The statement is essentially false.

Bygbaby said...

Very tight post & I tell you, there is nothing like being called out by a reader!!! You rose to the occasion & I appreciate the personal look back on your old school wisdom! Working hard is a bitch no don't & when you are, there is no time to complain!


FlyyGurl said...

dope-ass blog! I suppose i attributed my wanting to be famous and all that bcasue Im still young...but i guess everybody has some type of dream of future dlitz and glamour...and your number 3 at the top? Im gonna have to steal it, bro....
ps...I'm back!
flyy kisses

Christopher said...


I don't need to tell you that there are so many gifts we can teach the young 'uns and leave behind.

Our work ethnic, our morality, our commitment to treating all people fairly and justly.

My family came to this country in 1930. They didn't speak English and no one had more than a 6th grade education. So my grand parents did what many Italian immigrants did: they opened a restaurant.

Their timing wasn't very good. The U.S. was in a depression in 1930 and times were tough for them. But they worked 24/7 for the next 45 years, raised my father, and later, raised me (that's a whole other story), but like you, I saw first hand their work ethic and their decency and generosity.

I miss my grand parents something awful. They were the salt of the earth.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

They sound like fine men to me

Thank u sister

Yep u are, im not mad, just unattractive folk

Y u hating u know im a country boy lol

Big Momma Pimpalishisness
I would say that is a valid point and opinion

Yep moms that are such are the shit, gald I could do that 4 u

George Malik Abdul-Mahdi
Y thank u and come back man, leave a url so I can show some love

Great point. Now u and babz continue you elopement (sp)

Lovebabz & KELSO'S NUTS
Yawl feeding slappz yawl know that lol.

I was just joking LOL

It’s the warrior in u folk

Yep, stand by pops he sounds lik the truth

u can always add something sister

fly tie
a woman that loves funkadelic loves me

The Jaded NYer
U spoiled and bratty LMBAO

Thank u hon. Do come back

Stuck in my head
Notice how I said WE including myself. I have to own up to what I am not helping to ameiolriate (sp)

I can learn from anyone, and it was obv to reading u that there was some science behind the rheteroic

Miss Foxxy
Thanks hon, where u been, thought u had let the blogoverse

ebe Ka ina ga?

Thank u sister. Keep me posted on Zimbabwe, I aint been there in 4 yrs, or 5.

Lil Wayne
Is a Lame
My rap LOL

Anytime and im sure u will

Tia's Real Talk
Maybe that will be a post one day

Urban Thought
Thanks for the love

I knew u would like that and do u ever like any of my post brother?

Anytime sister. Im still indebt to u for the fine review u did on Butterbrown

Thanks folk, im gone do the same nice meeting smart black men, well smart men period who blog, welcome to the fam. And do comeback folk

Y thank u sister, thank u very much. I write from my heart and what I think and belive, typos and mspelled words included

I told u long time ago, u just get better like I said a virus is going around jones

Thank u it as if we have learned to settle for mediocrity

Ms. Jones
And where have u been jones

Ambition – hum, u calling me sexy? LOL. Obviously u aint seen folk here

Thank u. no video to the song it would run u and the rest of my readers off

And I don’t know where that came from. Like all of a sudden./ and my fault on the funktry muzk. 4give me pls
It should be because u are right on point

Garth Sullivan
I hate to kinda even be any where close to agreeing with slappz lol. But even without pay, washing dishes, washing clothes cleaning ones room, that’s what im talking about

I aint call you out LOL, Besides I know how much time u put into perfecting your craft. You live it by action, I was talking bout them folk on CNN.

Thanks sister, dream to be famous just remember it requires hard work too and just give me and my folk credit

Morality and commitment are curse words now and grand parents are the best

Ms. Jones said...

I've been around, here and there! Really just been trying to get situated and zoom in on my purpose ya know.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

ms jones
well do u just dont neglect me no more k?

Ms. Jones said...

I got you ;)

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

My lil' Miss 12 year old wants you know, Torrance, under no uncertain terms, that her generation, unlike ours, has 500 channels.

"We don't have a dial with only four stations to click through. I'd miss half the show by the time I changed the channel! Gee, y'all are so old."

LOL. Don't ya love it? I cut her slack; she has a babysitting job.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

Ms. Jones
u got me is that good or bad, sounds naughty lol

Kit (Keep It Trill)
LOL ok cut her slack, i just hod the button down, but i dont have satalite would be a waste dont cut tv on

Bygbaby said...

Oh, i did not think you were calling me out, I was referring to the reader asking you to do this post. I am constantly getting called out so it is all good!!


sapphirestarr said...

thanks for stopping by. I just added a post to organizekaos, workplace blues;I hate my job ealier this week. Great minds think alike. Hardworkers are definitely the last of a dying breed. Proverbs 13:4 says The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
Once I figured out what blog roll is I will definitely do that.

profunksticated said...

Great post! I admit to working hard but complaining anyway. The difference between my 40s and my 20s-30s is that I now restrict my whining to behind my closed doors. And my blog.

Blog Queen said...

I can dig it, Doc. Wish more people had that work ethic your uncle preached to you about. It's tough still being in the South and witnessing some of what I see...I know lazy folks are everywhere you go. But Mississippi outshines almost every other State in the negatives. Then it's safe to say there are a bunch of lazy, SORRY, uneducated folks in my back yard.
Keep bringing it!!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Good post T.
I've been saying the same thing to the hillbillies over at my place.
Number one were exactly the words I heard as a kid. . . if you're going to dig ditches be the best ditch digger. . . unfortunately for me, they didn't give me the rest.

Regina said...

Great post!! A lot of our younger people today have no idea what a "work ethic" even means or is. Sadly enough a lot of older folks have the same problem!
Today's society is operating under a terrible sense of entitlement, everyone thinks that someone else owes them something.
Glad that you are passing on the real deal to your kids!

RiPPa said...

I'm originally from Trinidad & Tobago, so I rarely had, or have contact with the elders of my family. Just in reading the jewelss they dropped on you, it made me tear up a bit.

I think that essentially is, or has been the breakdown of the black family; the disconnect, between our elders and our youth.

I learned a few years ago that there are no lazy people. Instead, the people we call lazy are just not properly motivated. That, coupled with a lack of dicipline (or as I'd like to call delayed gratification) has led to a decline in basic values necessary for sustaining the existence of some without any co-dependence.

Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. But teach a man to fish, and he'll be able to start a company and hire a bunch of other people to do the fishing.

Excellent Blog

Dusty said...

Yes Torrance, I surely can dig it! ;)

Traycee said...

Great Post....

Sister Girl said...

Oh man...

I can dig where you are coming from on the real !

My strong work ethic comes from my father as I watched my father for 26 years wake up before dawn for a construction job that kept him often times after sunset. I'm forever grateful for him teaching his 5 kids how to "handle your business".

But also, it was a different time being born in '62. I can recall how things were extremely different than what you see today. We sat down as a family for EVERY meal: breakfast,lunch,& dinner. If my father wasn't home at 6:00 pm when the dinner bell sounded, she would feed us & WAIT for my father to share the evening meal.

We were brought up doing so many chores that were no fun whatsoever.Even though I complained then, I'm forever grateful for it A-L-L because I know how to survive !

One love always,


T.Allen-Mercado said...

This is a great post Torrance, I'm forwarding it to my 16 year old son.I think he gets it twisted; the formal education, the middle class lifestyle, the perks. It only looks like easy living he missed the mid-term migraines, finals arhythmia and the thesis nausea. All suffered because I witnessed the swollen calloused hands, numerous carpal tunnel surgeries and long arduous hours. It was in witnessing my grandparents hard work that I avowed myself to work smart and for my damn self. What an uplifting and inspiring post!


Most Excellent post!!!!

My favorite part, "What makes a man is how hard he works, not for himself but his family and neighborhood - men take care of others"...

I am going to print this out and live by it, people including myself are way too selfish these days and wonder why this country is in such bad shape...

T. Michelle Theus said...

I love it! Great post, I totally agree that "work ethic" does not seem to be on the top of people's list, anymore. It's crazy. People brag about how much work they can get out of, how they can scam some guy or girl out of their money, blah blah blah. *smh*

I love the advice your fam gave you, I am going to have to pass those gems on to others. Thanks for sharing :)

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

Ok cool

anytime – that proverbs was classic

thanks folk

Blog Queen
LOL and don’t call me doc in public please

A lot of folk sleep on us being country thinking we aint smart or wise, bet u can sniff a lie out to with the quickness

And we aint entitled to nothing

So true
It is essential and real me cry


Thank u sister

Sister Girl
Glad I could make u smile sister

Thank u babe I hope he is well served.

So true, and it is worse when thoese that are close to us are as such, my personal example would be my daughters mother, who is attempting to keep my daughter from me, for what ever reason, when I pay her rent and for her car, she even called today to ask me to pay her tuition LMBAO, but she does nothing, only started working in march and was in a movie until her bipolar made her curse every body out and she losse the role

Moral don’t be selfish

Tamra said...

Great post!

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

thank u hon

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

T. Michelle Theus
scamming is for lames and fakers, just promise me your brothers will be the first to hear such from your lips

msladydeborah said...

I see you have got folks working just to respond to this post.

My grandparents were the ones who set me on the path of having a work ethic. I often give thanks to God for their insistance that I develop one.

My parents are in the mix too. They both believe that you need to be about some legal business while you can conduct it.

I have tried to keep that flowing. With my own twist on the school that taught me. Work smarter and not harder.

Daysha Writes said...

Right on Torrance!!! I agree I take pride in the hard work that I put into any job.

(fŭng'kē) [blak] [chik] said...

'nuff said!

WArd PrEfEct said...

I used to work with a lot of youth groups, and one thing I did notice is that they all, or nearly all of them had no sense of duty or work ethic. These, unfortunately, were mostly black children. That was sad in itself, but what's more terrible is that their parents don't instill those sort of values into them. They don't express the importance of that truth.

Free your mind, and your ass will follow.


Tiffany said...

Interesting post topic...I agree with most of the points that you've made. At this time in American society most people are trying to get rich quick by playing the lottery, and pyramid schemes, etc. There's a million people out there trying to sell the working class American a slice of the "American Dream", which means what nowadays? That we never have to work a day in our lives and the wealth will just accumulate of it's own? I have a friend who's been involved with these pyramid schemes and she just doesn't seem to understand that one MUST work in order to make money. She just wants to sit on her ass all day and not have to do anything. To date, I have not met one person who ever got rich by doing nothing, and not working. People should remember that.

SjP said...

Beautiful! You were taught well by the matriarchs in your family. Your pride in them shows!

BadTux said...

But let us not forget about those poor folk born with a silver foot in their mouth, who fail at every job they are given by their wealthy parents' friends, who laugh at people in need, who run business after business into the ground due to sheer laziness after being appointed CEO due to family connections, and eventually are elected President of the United States by a people who see someone who is just like them, a lazy oaf, except this lazy oaf is of course rich.

Which is one reason why so many Americans today see no reason for hard work, for perseverance, for education. If connections are everything and work is worthless in getting ahead, what is the point of working hard? When the game is rigged, what is the point of playing?

The problem is that nobody is giving us any alternative to playing a game that it is increasingly clear is rigged and rigged hard to ream us up the ass but good. Dumbasses who think selling drugs and rapping and shit are gonna do anything to make them less of slaves to a system gone crazy are smoking too many of the crack pipes they be sellin'. But too many people, they say "well, yeah, that game be rigged too to keep black folk 'in their place', but what's the alternative, everything is rigged."

My biggest fear is that someone is going to provide that alternative, and provide it in the same way as Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, Huey Long, Robespierre... and then the game really will be rigged, but it'll be rigged towards the meanest, the most vicious, the most amoral, and if you think things are bad now...

-- Badtux the Depressed Penguin

Seattle Slim said...

Real talk Torrance, I feel like forwarding this on to SEVERAL people I know. I honestly have no other words because everything you said is perfect. EOD!

KELSO'S NUTS said...


Reading the history of my tribe in America, it all sounds very similar. All we were good for in the eyes of White Americans of the era was bootlegging, shylocking, vaudeville, and prize-fighting. Sure, a lot of kids thought going up to Niagara Falls with tommy-guns to get Canadian whiskey from Fort Erie glamourous. But that whole thing represented a small fraction of the community.

Books like "THE BLOOD-HOUNDS OF BROADWAY" were the "STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON" of the era. White Christian teenaged boys loved that book and their parents would scold them for reading it and speaking in the lingo and "talking like a Hebrew."

Nobody particularly enjoys being judged by a majority based upon silly stereotypes but it's better to OWN the stereotypes and have a little fun with them than to let them own you.

But I'm preaching to the choir on that one!

The centuries of slavery and the American obsession with race just makes the process slower and more arduous. Moreover, the transitional stage of "passing" that White-skinned immigrants did is virtually impossible for African-Americans.

Look, Obama shouldn't be leading by 6 in the polls. He should be leading by 26. It's pure silliness. There has never been a starker difference in the quality of two candidates for President on all levels. This ought to be a stroll in the park for Obama but instead it might even be very close.

Just check out the invective toward Michell Obama outside a very small corner of the American blogosphere. It's pretty shocking really. You've got an extremely intelligent, dignified, and accomplished potential first-lady and the shit you read about her is mind-bendingly stupid. "Angry." "Reminds me of the Black Panthers." "How is she going to sit and have tea with the Queen Of England?"

The question is how is the Queen Of England going to sit and have tea with Michelle Obama? The Queen of England has very little formal education, a weak vocabulary and is extremely inarticulate.

But, nah, it's not racial!

Tony OH said...

Ok Sirus... I can Did It!

You're absolutely right...Folk hate hard work!

Sheliza said...

Excellent post! I was just talikng with my hubby last night how kids base their ability on music videos and think man, If I rap or dance I can have it all. We know it's not realistic and this leads them to other "easy" ways of making money to have all the bling. I agree with you that folks don't like to work hard for what they want. and yes, you should take care of those around's not all about YOU. Have a great day!

Tera said...

Damn, my Grandma did too!

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

Toast to parents who parent and grand[parents who grand parent. How I got folk working hard here?

Daysha Writes
Good deal the future hubby and u will make a great team as long as you don’t lie or use one another, yawl shold be able to get the biz up in no time

(fŭng'kē) [blak] [chik]
Y thank u madam

WArd PrEfEct
That is sad man, how is or was Washington man, I need more pics

I know a lot of folk who would prefer the quick route. She, you friend needs help. Thanks for the scope and do return folk

Yes , they are queens and even if a woman don’t act like one u still treat her as such

Hey folk, aint seen u n a while, how has my favorite historian been> So true on the comparison. And since when have u become depressed – did my post trigger this? LOL

Seattle Slim
Thanks sister, but u know how we get down. Cant tolerate nonsense

Great point Books like "THE BLOOD-HOUNDS OF BROADWAY" were the "STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON" of the era. White Christian teenaged boys loved that book and their parents would scold them for reading it and speaking in the lingo and "talking like a Hebrew." but u always do such dont expect nothing less

Tony OH
LOL u warrior u

That is a great convo to have, with the entire fam, I know the lil one wont understand but it preps him to listen, the earlier the better

Granny sounds wise

Dr Zen said...

Only the poor even have to work hard, bro. This is all boss talk: Work hard and don't complain, take your wages and don't look at how I'm making so much more than you are out of the work you do. As long as there are people on the "left" preaching the cringe, most of us will be left cringing.

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Soulpower said...

I'm complaining...because I'm tired of all the work and not bearing any fruit and work is ALL I do. How do you get by that????

P_LOCA said...

This is a great post. It's all reality. I can agree and understand where you're coming from about how are ppl lazy, how ppl want the "easy way to make money and be rich", some work hard for what they got like you me and others. Because we were raised right and the knowledge of appreciation and be grateful for what we got and to make something of ourselves. Now others may not be as fortunate like us. Some ppl were born and raised with that mentality "getting things done faster and get it now-the "easy way" is better than to work hard for. I don't blame some ppl-it's sad but the truth. feels good to know and say I work hard for my money. I earn my every dime lol.

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