Through the years America is portrayed as a lady. A lady of grace and beauty from sea to shining sea, purple mountain’s majesty, amber waves of grain, among fruited plains.

President Abraham Lincoln cautioned all present and future Americans to cherish and protect this incredible nation that is a beacon to the world when he said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

All great ladies must be protected. For nearly 50 years I taught youth to honor their mothers as a core value for basketball and life skills curriculum.

As a mother is to her daughter and son so America is to her children. Again I turn to a core teaching emphasis of NBC camp where I gave my mind and heart with the hope of helping girls become ladies and boys become men.

We did not choose our parents but we do get to decide the kind of parents we will become. Therefore be grateful for your parents; honor them for bringing you into the world. Your job a son is to become a better dad than your father and as a daughter, a better mother than your mother, building up beyond their foundation.

I contend this gratitude and honor be applied to America the lady. Most of us did not choose to be born in America however we can choose to make America better.

For those who want to burn America to the ground, I tell you this is as foolish as burning a bad mother at the stake. It borders on insanity.

This Words of Hope isn’t written for what I call the 10% who carry baseball bats to demonstrations, break windows, write vulgarity on buildings, tear down statues, throw bottles filled with gasoline, or beat people up. Rather, this is written for the 90% who want safe streets, shopping centers free of violence, and sidewalks clear to open a storefront for commerce.

I finish this grim writing with two words that prevent depression, negativity, and other mental ills.

Hope creates a heart full of life. Gratitude builds hope.

It is with joy my mentor inspired me to grow my gratitude factor. My commitment has been to daily record five things I am grateful for, one day I even wrote 100 gratitudes

The impact of writing down 5 daily gratitudes on paper is now in my DNA. Gratitude is as natural as breathing. Once I battled to make shots on the basketball court. Today gratitude is my scoreboard, and if we are keeping score, you can’t lose by choosing gratitude.