Category: Family (PHAMILY)

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going to Let it Shine: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021

I can remember hot Sundays and weekdays sitting in the pews of hot Mississippi churches listening to my grandmothers sing:

“This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine, (Ohhh!)

I’m gonna let it shine

This little light of mine

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…”

If you have never heard a deep, southern gospel group of adults or even children sing this song, well, run to YouTube quickly and find some videos or download the music at Apple, Amazon, Google, etc. The song can be an uplift, whenever you need it most. I can still hear both of my grandmother’s voices in my inner ear, singing this song among the other church choir members. At one of my home churches in Mississippi, I can hear the choir singing under the direction of my aunt playing the piano and keying up the verses. I am telling you; the church was hot with the bright sun beams coming down on both of my family churches (in different parts of the State of Mississippi), but the song was “SANG” the same. I can still hear the passion in the voices of the choir, most of them older women: mothers, grandmothers, aunties, cousins, sisters, family…instructing us in the audience to let our light shine.

Most of the church was much older than me. My grandparents’ generation lived through World War II, Jim Crow Laws of the South, and the Civil Rights struggle and gains of the 20th Century. They combatted the ugliness of racism: burned down African American owned stores, fire bombed churches, challenges to perform the guaranteed civic duty of voting, discrimination, and racial bias in the Armed Services while fighting for the United States of America, inability to get farm loans, etc. because of the color of their skin. But through it all, they “let their light shine.” By law, it was determined that they would live as second-class citizens in the South, segregated as “separate and unequal” and through it all they “let their light shine.”

It didn’t matter if you were an older adult, adult, teenager, or child…in the church, listeners were told:

“Everywhere I go

I’m gonna let it shine

Everywhere I go

I’m gonna let it shine

Everywhere I go

I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

And why? Why did (do) we have to shine the light? It is true that the Bible reads, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NIV). But I tell you more practically, my grandmothers and the leaders of their generation were singing more practically. They were teaching and encouraging, saying to combat White Citizen’s Council policies, redlining, Jim Crow Laws, lynching, unlawful arrests, racial profiling, and other violations of African Americans (& People of Color) civil rights, we must let our light shine. They did GOOD when faced with EVIL, demonstrated LOVE when given HATE, and offered FORGIVENESS (not forgetfulness) when presented MEANNESS, OPPRESSION, and OFFENSE. The choir knew what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Let’s choose to love today and every day, loving our neighbor (others) as we do ourselves (Mark 12:31, NIV). Love to all of you and thank you for your leadership Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. May we continue to let our light shine!

A Note of Love to My Wife Khalia: Thank You Sweetheart

My dearest Khalia,

Thank you for your love.

Thank you for being patient with me. Sometimes my ways are not your ways and your ways are not mine, but you choose to love me through the tension.

Thank you for being kind to me. I realize there are times I am unpleasant to be around, but you choose to love me with your gentleness.

Thank you for being generous with me. I realize there are times between us that inspire resentment, but you choose to pursue goodwill in our relationship.

Thank you for diminishing my faults, remaining down-to-earth, and being civil and polite. I realize there are times I come off rude or high-and-mighty, but you choose to not be irritable with me and forgive my wrongs.

Thank you for being fair with me. I realize there are times where your sacrifice or compromise is not celebrated, but you choose to exercise truth in a respectful manner.

Thank you for not giving up on me, not losing faith in me, remaining hopeful with me, and enduring life’s circumstances with me! Thank you for being a loving wife to me!

Your Husband,

Larrell L. Wilkinson

Reflecting on 2020: The @Home Haircut while in Quarantine


No doubt, 2020 was a hard year! There were many tragic circumstances (I won’t list them in this lighthearted post) that transpired through the year. Life changed for many of us. As I type this reflection, it is hard for me to remain cheerful because the year was filled with many challenges for the nation, there were many struggles in local communities, and many hardships for individuals close to me (myself included). Still, in this posting, I will choose to reflect on a lighter side of life. So here it goes, among the many reflections I have about 2020, at least one of those is the Quarantine Haircut. Now, it may not be what you think…I don’t have a horror story. I am bald, so I am good! And, I know that we are to “not worry…about your body, what you will wear…is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV). So, we shouldn’t worry about haircuts? Right? Well, I do want my son to look good, but…$15 – $20 per haircut. I mean real talk; he is 3 years old. He doesn’t like to sit still and sometimes he cries when I cut his hair, especially when he was younger. Plus, that is low end $180 to high end $480 a year. We’re on a budget, so yes, I have and will continue to cut his hair (at least in the short term)!

The reason why I can appreciate 2020 is because so many other parents did the same thing. Many parents (& adults) got their haircut at home, imperfections or haircut fails and all! I won’t comment about the stress that the women in my family experienced. That is another post for another day…or never! For me, I didn’t feel that fatherly guilt knowing my son didn’t have the “tightest fade” or the coolest new design! Everybody did what they had to do, and the world kept on spinning! So, parents, are you going back to taking your son to the barbershop? Or, are you pocketing the haircut money and putting the money away in savings account, using the money to invest, or placing the money for your vacation fund?

At least for the time being, there will be no strong tape ups (fades) for my son [although I will start to practice] and sometimes his hair line is a little crooked (I know, but it grows out). But there is also, no 20 – 30-minute drive to the “shop” and then another 20 – 30 minutes back home; no appointments or wait times for the “chair” (the wait can be so long); and we continue to place the cost savings into other budget areas for the family. Plus, we still aren’t going much of anywhere…anyways! And although we aren’t supposed to worry about how we look so much , my son is still very handsome!

Fatherhood: Black Men are Challenging Negative “Daddy” Stereotypes

Watching TV, the other morning, I came across an interview of leaders of “The Dad Gang.” According to their website, thedadgang.com, the mission of the Dad Gang initiative is partly to “shatter myths and celebrate black fatherhood everyday.” Started by Sean Williams in November 2016, The Dad Gang started as an Instagram page focused exclusively on reflecting positive images of active black dads. In learning more about this organization, I am reminded a little about what active dads do. Deuteronomy 11:19-21 (NLT) instructs leaders of their households (men) to “Teach them (decrees from God) to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.”

Active dads are leaders of their children. Active dads are ministers to their children. Active dads are protectors of their children. Active dads are providers to their children. Active dads are teachers to their children. Active dads have fun with their children. Active dads are involved with their children. Active dads train their children (in the way they should go) [Proverbs 22:6]. Active dads develop the character and talent of their children. Active dads serve their children. Active dads love their children. I appreciate the men of The Dad Gang Initiative and encourage US to work to promote a positive and healthier fatherhood for all to see and witness. Let’s do it, together!

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