Authors: Eric Thomas
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Copyright Â© 2011 Eric Thomas
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The author assumes full responsibility for the accuracy of facts and quotations as cited in this book.
Cover and Interior Design by Daryl S. Anderson Sr., Founder and
CEO of Spirit Reign Communications
Cover: Karl Phillips
Studio Photo: Nicholas Brezzell
Written by Eric Thomas
Michigan State University Founder of Advantage Retention
PhD. Candidate Educational Administration
Senior Consultant of International Urban Educational Consultant
Senior Pastor Place of Change Ministries
Special Thanks BTM and BTC family: Black, Tre, Byron and George Purnell, David Richardson, James, Eric Smith, Gilbert, Ian, Kelly, Rupert Thompson, Jamal, Mason West, Big Will, T. Black (Xist entertainment) Frank Dent, Sheldon Kay, The entire West End family, Rebecca Willis, Stonophia Burrows, Tracy Fitz, Trabee, Lydia Henderson, David Arrington, Derrick Williams, Tina Riley, Geraldine Malory.
Special Thanks to The Detroit Center Church (Glenda Moseley for all your love and support, Pastor Phillip Willis and Sister Willis for your tough love, sister Burse, Elder Craig and King. Bethel Lansing for giving me my first assignment and A.P.O.C. Ministries for letting me be myself and realizing that some birds aren't meant to be caged.
Thanks for looking out: Shawn Crockwell (Bermuda Love), Patrick and Paul Graham, Marcus Flowers, Jeff Ross, Equa Epps, Gama(s) (Bernie, Bam Bam, Keaton, Al, Lonny, Shawn, Angelo & Byron Scott) and Maurice Gordon, Davion Fouche, the Graham crew (Camille, Dave, and Michele), and the Raw Dogs (Rodney Cooper, and Jeff Wilder).
OC West Wings for life: Mo from the N.O. (New Orleans), Jeff Harley (Atlantic City), Gerald Pennick (L.A.), Christian (Oklahoma), Henry and Curtis (Birmingham).
Educators: Henry Ford High Mrs. Nun
Oakwood Elder Shan the Man, Dr. Barnes, Dr. Janice Johnson, Dr. Evelyon Johnson, Coach Roddy, Dr. and sister Paul, Trevor Frazier, President and first lady Baker, Deborah Fryson
Michigan State University Rodney Patterson, Murray Edwards, Dr. Chris Dunbar, Dr. Bonita Curry, Dr. Lee June, Dr. Sonia Gunnings, Dr. Pero Dagbovie, Dr. Susan Printy and Dr. Nancy Coldflesh.
And sincere thanks to All my Haters. Your negativity and criticism continues to push me and challenge me to reach new levels of greatness.
This book is dedicated to:
Vernessa and Jesse Thomas (mom & dad). Thanks for being courageous enough to be my parents and not my friends. I can see clearly now the rain is gone (meaning, I have children of my own... lol).
De De Moseley (the love of my life). Thanks for being the other piece of iron that sharpens me and for being the wind beneath my wings.
I will Love you always:
Jeneco and Malori (lil sisters)
Jalen and Jayda (my seeds)
Ladies of my life:
Grandma Gwen, Grandma Lama, Auntie Wanda, Auntie Cleo, Auntie Booby, Auntie Tawana for your continued support since diapers. Sister Lamb, Ma Trotter and Ma Bez (Sterline Foster)
Men of my life:
Unlce Bruce, Uncle Jimmy, Tim and Wayne Smith, Robert King, Leon Burnette, Pastor James Doggette, T. Marshall Kelly, Preston Turner, Rupert Cannonier, Clift Kyle, Renee Chandler, Steve, Pastor James Black, Elder Ward and E. E. Cleveland
LaDon Daniels, Lee Lamb, Lloyd Paul (S/O St. Marteen), Carlas Quinney, Burks Hollands, Shannon Austin, Greg Arneaud, Adrian Marsh, Derrick Green, Quest Green, Joey Kibble, Karl Phillips.
Oakwood legends who inspired me:
Dennis Ross III, Virtue (mad love for the Trotter sisters) and Shavon Floyd, Sharon Riley and Faith Chorale, Charles Arrington, Angelic Clay, Angela Brown, Brian McKnight, W.S.B. (Willing Succeeding and Black) DP (Owen Simmons), Voice of Triumph (Damien Chandler), Whitney Phips, Barry Black, Chris Willis, Take 6, Dajuan Starling, and Connect Four.
This is an excellent book, written by a person with a profoundly relevant message. The message is inspirational, motivational, and timely. It is inspirational because it is a message of resiliency, hope, and success. It is motivational because it leads the reader to see that success is possible; that one can overcome odds; and that what appear to be setbacks can be building blocks. It is timely because there is a need today, and in all ages, for a message of hope for all, but particularly for our youth and aspiring high school and college students.
I remember vividly meeting Mr. Thomas (Eric) when he first gave his presentation at Michigan State University. The presentation was well received and I said to myself- “This is a person with a message”. The message that day was one of honesty, hope, survival, resiliency and yes-motivational. So well received, he was invited back to campus numerous times. As I have come to know and respect Mr. Thomas over the years, I can now say that he is not just a motivational speaker, but someone with a life story that motivates. He walks the talk and practices what he “preaches”.
I recommend this book to all. While autobiographical and gripping in the story it tells, it is also filled with success and life tips. This is what I really like about the book. The tips are born out of life experiences and presented in a way that is appealing, gripping, and educational.
The book is a must read for those seeking inspiration and hope; for those looking for a tool to instill inspiration and hope; and for high school and college students who are aspiring for success in the midst of what seems like obstacles. It could also be used as part of a curriculum to teach much needed life skills and success principles.
The book presents Mr. Thomas' story only up to a certain point in his life. He continues to be a person of inspiration to many across the nation. I thank and congratulate him for this contribution via this book, and expect much more from him in the future. As it has been said- “To whom much is given, much is required”. To Mr. Thomas (Eric), much has been given and experienced, and thus it is required of you to share with us and to continue to walk in integrity.
Lee N. June, Ph.D.
Michigan State University
Formerly Served as Vice President for Student Affairs and Services and Associate Provost for Academic Student Services and Multicultural Issues.
“Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.”
Robert Green Ingersoll
“I hate you!” I wish I could take back the words I said to her that day, but I couldn't. I swear it was not premeditated. If I could only turn back the hands of time, I would have done it differently. I should have sat her down years ago and just talked it out. I should have gotten it out of my system instead of being so secretive about it. I should have told her the day it happened that I felt betrayed and angry, and that I felt as though I couldn't trust her anymore. Why didn't I just tell her? Well, it's too late; I have gone too far. I can't go back and change things now. It is what it is!
“What you still doing in the bed?” Melvin said in a surprised tone.
“What? It's Sunday, it's cold, football season is over, and I have the house to myself. Unless you know something I don't, I don't see a reason to get outta bed! The question is, why are you calling my house so early? Don't you got a girl yet?”, I asked jokingly as I readjusted the covers.
“I'm lifting weights and I need someone to spot me,” Melvin replied.
“Why didn't you say that in the first place? Give me thirty. I need to hop in the shower real quick and throw some gear on.” I jumped out of the bed, grabbed a pair of all red Lathrup High jogging pants, my red Lathrup hoodie, a pair of socks, a white t-shirt, my underwear, and headed for the bathroom.
Suddenly, I heard a noise coming from downstairs. It sounded like someone opening the garage door, but that was impossible. My parents were in Chicago visiting my aunt Wanda. Then I heard loud footsteps moving toward the living room. My heart was pounding so loud I was afraid the intruder could hear it. My adrenaline started to kick in and I tiptoed back into my room, grabbed my baseball bat from under my bed, and headed toward the stairs. With the bat tightly clinched in both hands, I gently walked down each stair trying desperately not to make a sound. As I approached the last step, I turned my body toward the direction where I heard the sound and out of the corner of my eye I saw a large male frame standing in the living room area. I walked slowly toward the figure with the bat at my side, ready to swing and bring whoever it was to the ground. I bent down trying to stay low when suddenly, the image became clear. It was my father. But that could not be, he was supposed to be in Chicago with my mother. I stopped dead in my tracks, did an about face, and ran back up the stairs. With each step my heart pounded harder and harder. Once I made it to the top of the stairs I shot into my room, grabbed the phone and called Melvin back. “Dog, you're not going to believe this my father's at the crib!” “I thought you said they were in Chicago,” Melvin asked. “I thought they were too, but apparently he's not. I think he's been here the entire weekend.” “Alright, calm down, just calm down, whatever you do don't panic, just act normal. He probably doesn't even know,” Melvin whispered. “You right, I put all the beer bottles in the garbage, put everything back like I found it and I cleaned the house pretty good. You're right, I'm trippin, he didn't notice. We did trash all the bottles and clean the grill, right?” Melvin was quiet.