Commentary: Despite problems, we must always be thankful

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Commentary: Despite problems, we must always be thankful
November 27
13:46 2019

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

“If you don’t have any problems, just keep on living.”

 I have heard that expression many times. When I am speaking with young people, I always use that phrase to let them know that life won’t always be a bed of roses. The sooner the next generation understands that timeless saying, the better off they will be.

When we were growing up, our lives were carefree. Our so-called problems were quite minor. For example, during the summer, I had to decide whether to go swimming at the Skyland swimming pool or the 14th Street swimming pool. Now that was a big decision, at least in my young mind. As children, we went along unencumbered by the travails of life.

Now it is a different story. I have decisions to make and problems to solve. Yet that is the way life goes as you get older. As adults, responsibilities and accountability come our way. We can’t fault others as we must look in the mirror.

As we mature, certain realities come our way. That is where role models come into play. They help us with good decision-making. What I had to do years ago was to have the good sense to listen. Most times having a hard head only gets you into trouble.

In today’s world, we must control what we can control and react rationally to what we can’t control. We know what is happening in Washington is out of our control. The current administration has created so many problems that we have become paranoid in our own country. Immigration issues have brought us unwanted attention. The impeachment inquiry, no matter what side of the aisle you are on, is an embarrassment. It is my opinion that POTUS will remain in the White House when all is said and done.

Another issue that is in Washington, D.C. is the funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The FUTURE Act (Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education) was already passed by the House and a similar bill was introduced in the Senate. The bill is being held up by Lamar Alexander, Republican Senator from Tennessee, and others who think like him. Henry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, said recently, “This critical funding stream helps eligible colleges and universities enhance their fiscal stability, improve their institutional management and strengthen their academic programs.”

The good news about this chaos and sidestepping is that it can be fixed. There is a remedy to be had. What We The People must do is vote POTUS out. If we want better, then we must vote better. We must be at the polls next year and make no excuses about why we couldn’t make it. I would say this is the most important election in my lifetime. The person currently there is bad news.

With all that is going on, we must still be thankful for all that we have. Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings our family and our friends together for food, fun and fellowship. I have many fond memories of Thanksgiving when I was growing up in Winston-Salem. My mom was a great cook, so the food was always delicious. Being out of school was nice because it gave children in the neighborhood some extra days to sleep late and to play.

Now that I am in the 4th quarter of my life, being with family and friends has become even more significant. Back in the day, I took Thanksgiving for granted. Why? Because I knew I would see another Thanksgiving the following year. At this point, if you are a senior citizen like me, you can’t take next year, not even next week, for granted.

So, let us be kind to each other. Be slow to anger because being upset is just not worth it. Let’s be happy and put a smile on somebody’s face. It will come back to us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at

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