We all remember some of the funny Black sitcoms of the 70s and 80s. In fact, we can probably sing the lyrics to those shows right now: “Scratchin’ and Survivin’… GOOD TIMES! Eating at a Chow Line…GOOD TIMES! Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em…GOOD TIMES!” And who could forget “The Jeffersons”: “We’re Movin’ on up, movin’ on up, to the East Side, movin’ on up! We finally got a piece of the PIE!” These were shows that put smiles on our faces; we could relate to them in more ways than one. By examining the financial and socioeconomic status of the sitcoms’ two families, we discover that the family structures presented in the 1970s still exist in 2012. In “Good Times,” the family barely made it, even with the father working. Sometimes meals were hard to come by and their clothes were not appealing. They struggled day to day but stuck together as a close family. ”The Jeffersons” portrayed a thriving entrepreneurial black family living in a high-rise apartment. The display of power and success was uncommon in those days. Take the prospective views from these sitcoms and reflect on your life. Which view can you most relate too? Are you “Survivin’” like in “Good Times,” “Thrivin’” like in “The Jeffersons,” or are you somewhere in between and just…well, “Livin’?”
There is a push by the federal government, non-profit organizations, and educational sectors to provide more financial and educational assistance, support, and knowledge to families and individuals about bettering their lives. Unfortunately, these efforts aren’t enough for the overwhelming number of individuals that need services. The need for governmental assistance can put a strain on learning for young kids and families trying to survive. These families focus more on “What are we going to eat?” and “Where are we going to live?” then on “What colleges are my kids going to attend?” They are “survivin’.” They try to make it day to day. The focus on existing can take away from the focus of establishing a bright future.
Then, there may be a two working-parent family with a home, a couple of cars, good health care plans, a 401K, and kids working to get into college. Parents want to make a decent life for their children and their futures. They may have good jobs or work toward finishing a college degree, actions which lead to comfortable lives for them and their children. This family is simply “Livin’,” working every day and paying bills. They try to save for something special like a nice vacation or home improvements, anything to make their lives easier.
“Thrivin’ people and families are those whose dreams have become a reality. They have a home in the area where they want to live. Their kids are dressed well, attend good schools, and have their eyes on inheritances and college savings plans awaiting them in the future. These people have money in their saving accounts to spend on vacations and back-up funds for their businesses and personal endeavors. Their plates are laid out to maintain their status of success for themselves and for several generations to come.
As you look at your life, in which category do you fall? The number one point I always advise individuals is that if you aren’t where you want to be, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help! Start to seek out individuals, mentors and life coaches. Ask them: “How did you get to where you are today from where you started?” You would be surprised to know the number of people who started out Survivin” and with a lot of faith, hard work, and determination, are now “Thrivin” and living out their dreams. Finally, don’t ever think you can’t come out from where you are and move toward a better life! YOU CAN DO IT! If you can believe it, you can achieve it! It takes one solid dream and focus point to work toward accomplishing your goals!! Stay true to that dream or goal. Once you complete one, start working towards another one. These important steps will help you rise from where you are to a better life. You will surely be able to turn your passion into action!