RENEWING THE MIND AS SEASONS CHANGE
NEW YORK (November 17, 2011) – Some 18 years of living in the New York City area and, I still can’t get enough.
Each winter season, I complain about my West Indian blood freezing over in this land, and pledge to my friends that it’s time to spend more time in the Caribbean or, maybe even, like the flocks of “Snowbirds” in the area, make a permanent move to Florida.
But I quickly remember it’s the transition from fall to winter – when it’s 45 degrees and bone-chilling breezy – that raises my own personal grumpiness gauge.
As Thanksgiving preparations get under way and the Christmas songs hit the airwaves, many things change; a warmth pervades the autumnal air and my heart as I have now psychologically prepared to settle in for another winter season.
The season of Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year in America. As Brooklyn businessman Edgar Henry pens in the Guyana Cultural Association newsletter, “Thanksgiving in the US has always been one of my favorite holidays. The story of the Pilgrims and the life-giving generosity of American Indians inspired us at the Guyana Cultural Association to continue planting seeds and harvesting the bounty. While much of the focus is on turkey and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is about giving and thanking – expressing gratitude for the gifts of God and the need to dedicate ourselves to serving and providing others who are less fortunate or underprivileged.”
Henry’s wisdom in his recent column, and the season upon us, reminds him of the importance of planting the seed of knowledge and educating our children at a very tender age in order that they too will experience life’s harvests.
Last Saturday in New York City I was doing both – as co-guest lecturer at New York University’s graduate program in public relations and corporate communication – planting and reaping.
Invited by Professor Gail Moaney to share Caribbean public relations practices in the context of Global Relations and Intercultural-Communications, Jamaican PR operative Lyndon Taylor and I were able to share with the students our experiences working in the field at home and here in our adopted homeland.
The experience, shared over six hours, was an enriching one and not only did we tithe our time with the students, but reaped a harvest of knowledge from the intellectual genesis of ideas emerging from the lively session.
We chatted about the reinvention of the print media, the challenges facing the education of today’s generation of young people, the electronic delivery of the news, ethical issues in PR and journalism, the elements of public relations – from writing to pitching to strategic thinking – and the importance of listening to people’s voices and understanding their hearts.
It was a truly enriching experience, similar to another on Monday evening where I was fortunate to witness our publisher Elinor Tatum being honored by Weeksville Heritage Center at Jumeirah Essex House in the city.
With daughter Willa in her arms, Tatum spoke of the importance of paving a path for future generations and remembered her pioneering father Wilbert who preceded her in receiving the prestigious Weeksville award, the last of many he was conferred before departing the planet.
I was similarly inspired by another honoree, Head Coach Avery Johnson of the NBA team New Jersey Nets, who in spite of his success remains grounded and is easily approachable. It is not surprising his motivational speeches are in high demand at churches and schools across the nation.
So you see, with experiences like these, unless God has other plans for me, I ain’t leaving The Big City any time soon.
But wherever you may be reading this, transformational experiences refreshing the mind are in abundance. So let’s seize them, and in all of our getting, let’s get and give, understanding. And give thanks for being able to do so.
Bye for now.
CAPTION: From left: Reginald Van Lee of Booz Allen Hamilton (left) honors Elinor Tatum this week. Also pictured are daughter Willa and Pamela Green of Weeksville Heritage Center.