DR. CUMMINGS: Excuses, excuses

May 11, 2014 

What’s your excuse? You’re too old? Or maybe too young? You can’t get a better job because you’re black? You can’t get promoted because your boss’s son wants that job? You can’t get what you’ve always wanted because, because, because. How many times have you dropped your dream because of some excuse?

A few years ago I met a 8-year-old child in our Georgia Blind Academy on Vineville Avenue. He wanted to learn how to play the flute. His teacher, a wonderful woman named Jenny, didn’t hesitate. She got a flute, put it in his hands, and showed him how to blow out the notes. Blindness was no excuse. He’s still playing the flute.

One of the best entertainers our country has ever produced was not only blind, but black as well. Ray Charles went blind when he was 7 years old. His mother was a sharecropper and his father worked as a handyman on the railroad. Both were illiterate and died before his fifteenth birthday, but Ray refused to let any of this interfere with his meteoric career as a piano player and song writer. Ray Charles loved music, no excuse could keep him from it.

But wait a minute. There’s a big difference between a “reason” and an “excuse.” The reason you’re unemployed is because you were laid off. The fact that you have remained unemployed because you were laid off -- is an excuse. The reason my wife and children find it difficult to read is because they have dyslexia but they have never made this an excuse for not learning. We all have reasons for our inadequacies, but they should never become our excuses for inaction.

What’s your excuse? You know, the one you use the most? I realized lately that I’ve begun to use the “senior citizen syndrome:” “I can’t climb those stairs because of my arthritis.” “I can’t finish that work because I’m too tired.” Old age excuses are limitless. I can find an elderly excuse for just about anything I don’t want to do.

Students come up with creative excuses for missing homework like: “my dog ate it,” and “my little sister flushed it down the toilet.” Luke’s Gospel gives us the parable of the man who threw a party and invited all his friends. “Sorry,” one of them said, “I bought a field and I have to run out and look at it.” Really? Another one said: “I just got married.” So, bring your wife. Lame excuses make lies even worse.

Politicians are experts at this. Last week, Bret Baier of Fox News was interviewing the former White House National Security adviser, Tommy Vietor, who gave the “Benghazi Talking Points” to Susan Rice. Susan, as you remember, maintained on six Sunday shows that it was a spontaneous demonstration. Bret asked Tommy: “Did you change the words from an al-Qaida attack to a demonstration?” “Dude,” Vietor replied, “this was like two years ago.” Perhaps the most explosive political cover-up since Watergate and the man who designed it can’t remember because it was “like two years ago, dude.”

George Washington Carver once said:

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

Click on Dr.C. Video on Excuses: http://youtu.be/zxe6Z69Rz18.

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