It started on a Monday. After ten years of non-stop work I decided to quit and focus on writing and studying for the GRE. And, boy let me tell you… it was depressing. My money was tight, I would be in the house for days on end and conversations during social gathering were terribly awkward.
Person I just met: So, what do you do? My flaccid answer: I study all day… for the GRE and… that’s it, really.
So, I’m hanging out in a coffee shop one day and a friend sends me a link to a YouTube video with a message: this dude will get you hyped. The link he sent me was to a web series called Thank God it’s Monday which featured a motivational speaker name Eric Thomas.
Every Monday, T.G.I.M was Thomas’ response to people who were bummed out for having to go back to work after a weekend of chillin’. He felt like it was silly to be overly excited for work to be over. If a person wanted to be successful one day they should welcome and be excited for Monday.
Sounds like common sense, sure but this little piece of advice changed my whole perspective on how my attitude affected my week. After watching that clip I was hooked. I watched all of the back episodes, spreading them out over the next few months. By the end of the year I downloaded his app onto my iPad and was eagerly anticipating his next season.
But, there were other things about Thomas and his show that really connected with me. The more I watched his series and watched his hit count shoot through the roof it became clear how important he was to people. It was a simple little statistic that ran across my computer screen one day:
An estimated 80% of African American children can expect to live part of their childhood away from their father.
Thomas’ speeches are a combination of strong work ethics, Christian beliefs (Thomas is also known as E.T. the Hip Hop Preacher) and a stiff kick in the ass. He’s Swift from The Beasts of Southern Wild. He’s Madea minus the dress and Tom Foolery. There are so many of us – black folks and otherwise – who have dreams that are about as attainable as a winning lottery ticket. It isn’t because we lack the inherent ability to see these come to pass it’s because we’ve never had the men in our lives to provide us with those basic needs: courage, discipline and genuine passion. You know, those things fathers are supposed to teach you.
I hate to put too much on the brotha. Eric Thomas is definitely not the surrogate father of YouTube but it would be naïve not to notice that T.G.I.M. does fill a void in peoples lives. And, it’s a void we desperately need.