Is There Room For Spirituality In Our Daily Lives?

Two key focuses of my blog are Health/Wellness and Spirituality. A key aspect of our personal health that can often get overlooked is our spirituality. The following contributed post is entitled, Is There Room For Spirituality In Our Daily Lives?

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For many people, spirituality is a ‘fluffy’ term that doesn’t factor into the practicality of their daily lives. But what does it really mean? Spirituality is the process of being focused on the human condition, rather than physical or material items. It looks beyond someone’s job, status or wealth, and looks at them as an individual. In our fast-paced human world, it is the process of looking at the human condition. Is there room for spirituality in our daily lives? This article will try to answer this question.

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Spirituality Can Help You With Your Wellbeing

Wellbeing has practical applications in our daily lives. We need to be okay in order to perform at full capacity. Spirituality can help you with your wellbeing. There are a number of practical exercises that have roots in spirituality that can help you to feel good and at your best. Techniques like meditation can help you focus the mind, and yoga even releases endorphins, which make you feel happy.

Spiritual Literature Can Help Us Achieve Our Core Values

We all have core values, even if we don’t physically sit down and list them. Spiritual literature like the Bible or the Quran can help us explore certain moral codes and ethics and see how well they align with our own. An online theology course is a great way to learn about religious texts if the idea of reading the whole book seems daunting. Discovering our core values can help us establish meaning and purpose in our daily lives.

Becoming More Spiritual Can Help You With Resilience

Spirituality can help us with several incredibly useful skills, like resilience and determination. Learning how to focus the mind through meditation can help you stay calm in stressful situations, or even help you cope when you lose your job. Regularly practicing yoga can help you develop a skill that boosts your confidence and sense of independence. Spirituality can help with several fundamental life skills that make navigating the complexities of our world easier.

Spirituality Helps You Remember There Are Bigger Things Than You

Perspective is everything, and spirituality can help you remember there are bigger things than you out there. If you’re preoccupied with worrying about that event at work, or whether you said the right thing to your boss last week, then spirituality can help you remember that these things may not matter a year from now.


There is room for spirituality in our daily lives. Spirituality is a way of looking at what it means to be human, rather than simply focusing on work. It can help us better understand our core values, and even boost our wellbeing and resilience. Spirituality can be reviewed through religious or spiritual texts, as a way of exploring our core values and code of ethics. Finally, spirituality is a way of connecting with others around you. It can help you realize that there is a whole world out there and those problems might not be as bad as you think.

Mother’s Day 2020: What Mom Taught Me That Helped Me Through The Coronavirus Pandemic

A Quick Plug

Hello. Thank you for clicking on this link and I hope you enjoy this essay. Writing a book was the genesis of me blogging and becoming a video content creator. I am close to publishing part one of my book project entitled, The Engineers: A Western New York Basketball Story. Please consider visiting the page to learn more about the project and see promotional content I’ve created surrounding the project. And now on to our feature presentation.

Mother’s Day Blog Posts

Those of you who have read my content know that I’ve written blog posts for Mother’s Day since starting the Big Words Blog Site. As per usual, the links to my previous Mother’s Day pieces will be shared at the end of this piece. I thought of this piece, while driving back from New York State’s Capital Region as I was recently checking on my father. My Mom is quite cautious and wanted me to shelter in place as much as possible, but following her example, it was important for me to check on my old man during this Coronavirus/Covid-19 Crisis/Pandemic.

Before I get into the messages in this piece which I hope to keep short (by my standards), I want to tell any readers that while our country is looking to reopen shortly, and while infections by the Coronavirus are expected to fall off during the warm weather months, beware of a second wave. It’s predicted that when the cold winter months return, infections will as well. This blog post in some ways may in fact serve as a survival guide for some people who were unprepared for this first tsunami, and it may be helpful should there be future lockdowns and quarantines.

Important Health and Life Habits for the Pandemic

So in terms of Mother’s Day, as I drove back to Washington, DC recently, it occurred to me that my mother imparted some valuable nuggets in my life that helped me survive over the last two months since our country went into this lockdown. Among them are:

The Ability to Cook: In previous Mother’s Day blog posts, I discussed the home that my mother created for us. A part of that was the meals she prepared for us, ALL of which were prepared with her hands from scratch. Her ability to cook along with my natural curiosity resulted in my ability to cook. I often jokingly tell people that at an early age, I was in the kitchen trying to figure out how she made those scrambled eggs. In addition to picking up recipes of all kinds over the years, from other people and from cookbooks like those from Emeril Lagasse, there are quite a few of Mom’s recipes that I took with me when I left the house. There are secrets that I’m still collecting today, such as most recently how to steam the green beans and onions with enough flavor and succulence at the time of consumption. I’m saying all of this to say that when the lockdown started, I already knew how to cook, so I didn’t severely feel the bite of not being able to eat out. The ability to prepare your own food is a critical skill and if there is in fact a lull in the infections, I would encourage people to learn how to prepare as much of your own food possible. Also learn to prepare healthy foods that you can eat for days at a time and even store for later. That said, I’ve learned that not everyone can eat leftovers, but we learned to do so. Finally, cooking at home also saves you money and stretches your dollars out time-wise.

Personal Health: In addition to cooking, Mom was big on vitamins and even natural herbs and remedies. Likewise, as I was leaving Buffalo as our country was going deeper into the lockdown, she strongly encouraged me to start regularly taking Vitamin D which has therapeutic benefits for our immune systems. As I’ve been quarantining, I have in fact made Vitamin D a regular part of my daily diet and now Vitamin C as well. I shot videos on my science and technology YouTube channel about the benefits of both vitamins. Please check out those videos and my channel.

Education, Writing and Building: I give my mother a lot of credit for the blogging platform you’re reading this post on right now. Both parents stressed education at an early age, but it was my mother who insisted that me and my brother learn how word process with proper form at an early age. We also had a computer in the house when we were young, so she saw the wave of the future coming in the early- to mid-1980s. Social distancing and quarantining isn’t natural for human beings and hasn’t always been pleasant at times, but I’ve been fortunate to be able to be keep myself busy and my mind occupied, writing and publishing content. Just as my mother was able to turn her writing abilities into a business, I have as well, which I’ll describe shortly via written content here on the Big Words Blog Site and on my Big Discussions76 YouTube channel.

The Importance of Faith and Spirituality: Faith and spirituality can be a polarizing topic these days, but no matter how much you have or what you believe, it’s important to have it. Mom was always big on faith. When I go home to Buffalo, I try my best to get myself out of bed on Sunday mornings to attend her church’s services. Just before the lockdown set in, I was at home in Buffalo for two and a half weeks and I attended the last church service at the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Buffalo where the members, like most churches, were able to gather for the last time in a while. Before releasing the congregation, the Pastor read Psalm 91 to us, which was very, very powerful for what was taking place at the time. That scripture is now forever etched into my memory.

Closing Thoughts

So, as I have lots and lots to do, I’m going to stop this here. In the Black community we sometimes dwell on what we didn’t have when we were growing up . We can inevitably get caught looking at what our peers had within our community and in other ethnic groups/cultures. It’s natural in a way, but it’s also important to acknowledge what you were given from your parent or guardian. What did your mother teach that helped you through this challenging time? What might you use if this crisis or another one comes back around?

Oh by the way, fortunately I was able to craft this Mother’s Day blog post pretty quickly and concisely. Right on schedule, Father’s Day is coming up next month and I’ve thought of another really good money-related story involving my father and me which involves a very, very important lesson, so look for it. And in closing, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers out there.

The Big Words LLC Newsletter

For the next phase of my writing journey, I’m starting a monthly newsletter for my writing and video content creation company, the Big Words LLC. In it, I plan to share inspirational words, pieces from this blog and my first blog, and select videos from my four YouTube channels. Finally, I will share updates for my book project The Engineers: A Western New York Basketball Story. Your personal information and privacy will be protected. Click this link and register using the sign-up button at the bottom of the announcement. If there is some issue signing up using the link provided, you can also email me at . Best Regards.

James Tate discusses fitness, health, wellness and his new book: Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants

One of the goals for my blog is to help expose for other individuals with new and novel ideas/projects of their own which is in line with my principle of “Creating Ecosystems of Success” – a major part of which is health and wellness.  Occasionally my alma maters will show up in my writings, and in the spring I conducted an interview with Robert Ridley, President of Johnson C. Smith University’s DC Alumni Chapter regarding our “150 and Beyond Campaign” to raise money for our scholarship endowment.

I recently heard about a children’s book created by another fellow JCSU alumnus; James “Big Dogg” Tate, who has his hands in numerous projects relating to health and wellness.  I thought interviewing James would be make for a compelling interview for both of us, and would further be educational for any readers based on his passion and knowledge of health and fitness.  In the following interview, James talks a little bit about his background, and his new book Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants.

Anwar Dunbar:  Hello James.  First, thank you for agreeing to do this interview and discussing your new book, Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants on my blog.  It looks like you’ve created something really positive and helpful here.  I graduated from JCSU in 1999, so I vaguely remember seeing you on campus.  Where are you originally from?

James Tate:  I was born and raised in Washington, DC.

AD:  Where did the nickname “Big Dogg” come from?

JT:  I had many nicknames growing up, but that’s the one that stuck.  Because I was an overweight child, teen, and adult, I had nicknames like “Fatz”, “Biggie”, “Big Daddy”, “Pooh”, etc. – but “Big Dogg” has stood the test of time, through different schools and states.

AD:  What did you major in at JCSU?

JT:  I’m a 2002 graduate of JCSU.  I majored in Computer Science/Engineering.  I am also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

AD:  A couple of years ago, you were the featured speaker at our JCSU DC Alumni Club’s monthly meeting where you gave us a powerful talk about diet, health, and fitness.  With your training at JCSU being in Computer Science/Engineering, what got you into health and fitness?

JT:  I was actually forced into health and wellness.  I was an overweight child, an overweight teen, and an overweight adult.  I was involved in an accident that left me immobile for a year. After that year, my weight was over 400 pounds.  I then had three years of physical therapy.  My doctor told me that my injuries would never heal unless I lost weight.  With me being overweight my entire life, I didn’t think it was possible.

I rededicated my life to Christ at the New Year’s Eve service going into the 2010 year.  I prayed for help, and I started studying scriptures about health and wellness.  I read Christian wellness books, and attended Christian wellness group meetings.  By the end of 2010, I had lost over 200 pounds naturally.  I then went to nutrition school and finished with my first certification. I currently hold six wellness certifications and own my own wellness practice.

AD:  Wow, that’s amazing.  I too was overweight as a child for a little while until my mother stepped in and made me get more active and controlled my portion sizes; so we share some common ground there.  In middle school I had some nicknames that I wasn’t too fond of myself.

Before we talk about the Kool Kids, I started reading SALT: Black America’s SILENT KILLER.  I pretty much knew about kidney dialysis, but Dr. Surender Reddy Neravetla also went into graphic detail about cardiac bypass surgery – specifically, how high blood pressure can persist even after the operation, and how the surgeon can only prescribe more blood pressure lowering medication at that point.  There’s a definite mental/quality of life cost to having conditions like diabetes, and heart disease.  There’s a financial cost as well to the individual and to society.  With all of the debate here in Washington, DC about the Affordable Care Act, I think there is something to be said here about preventative care/lifestyle.  I mean who wants take 10 medications and go on dialysis if they don’t have to?  Can you say anything about the financial costs of being unhealthy in terms lifestyle – maintaining a poor diet and not staying physically active.

JT:  That’s a great question.  Healthcare starts in your kitchen and obesity costs our country a lot of money annually – roughly 200 billion dollars depending on the source reporting the dollar amount.  Many of us don’t consider the cost of obesity and obesity-related diseases.  We only consider the cost of the food we purchase today.  Because we think this way, we go for the cheapest, most convenient options, not thinking about the long-term effects of that food.  I like to say that people will put 93-Octane fuels into their $50k car, but will consistently put 87-Octane (regular) foods into their multi-million dollar bodies and expect them to run at an optimum level.  Ironically, they’re shocked when their bodies eventually break down. For African Americans, 95% of the chronic illness that we suffer from today are caused by poor food choices.   That means that a lot of what we suffer from is preventable.

AD:  How did you come up with the idea for Kool Kids & The Land Of The Giants?  Just briefly, without giving too much away, what’s it about?

JT:  The Kool Kids are a group of Christian kids who will motivate, educate, and inspire you and your family to defeat the giants in your life/land – giants such as Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Depression, Debt, etc.  We have become comfortable living with certain diseases and have even given them cute nicknames like calling diabetes, “A touch of sugar.”  I wanted to remind people that diseases are monsters and we should treat them as such.  Also, it’s been said that this is the first generation of children that will not outlive their parents due to obesity and diseases related to obesity.  So I want to teach them about health and wellness in a new and fun way with characters that they can relate to while including biblical principles.  I was unable to find any health and wellness books that were biblically based that starred super heroes of color, so I decided to create one.

AD:  Wow.  That’s a great idea James.  Are you envisioning any sequels?

JT:  Yes. The Kool Kids is a series and in each book they will take on a new giant.

AD:  Where can people purchase the Kool Kids?

JT:  You can order a copy of The Kool Kids from my web store, You will also find Kool Kid merchandise there as well.

AD:  Do you have any parting words?

JT:  First, thank you for interviewing me, and I thank everyone who takes the time to read this interview.  It’s my prayer that we learn to take our health seriously.  Again in terms of the chronic illnesses that we suffer from, especially as African Americans, 95% are caused by poor food choices.  We can change and reverse so much just by paying attention to what’s on the end of our forks.

AD:  Well James, thank you again for agreeing to do this interview.  I’m going to get a couple of copies Kool Kids for some of the folks in my own network.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this interview.  If you’ve found value here and think it would benefit others, please share it and or leave a comment.  To receive all of the most up to date content from the Big Words Blog Site, subscribe using the subscription box in the right-hand column in this post and throughout the site or add the link to my RSS feed to your feedreader.  Please visit my YouTube channel entitled, Big Discusssions76.  Lastly follow me on Twitter at @BWArePowerful, on Instagram at @anwaryusef76 and the Big Words Blog Site Facebook page.  While my main areas of focus are Education, STEM and Financial Literacy, there are other blogs/sites I endorse which can be found on that particular page of my site.

Chris Brown discusses true stewardship and financial peace

sports-jacket-standing-hands-together-close-up2_backdropAround 2012, two friends introduced me to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University – a faith based curriculum for managing one’s finances and achieving financial security and stability.  I had heard of Dave Ramsey before and knew that he had a radio show, and maybe had written some books.  I admittedly was suspicious that it was potentially another Multi-Level Network Marketing business proposal.

It turned out to be something very different, and four years later it has changed my own finances and life, and I also help out with the Financial Peace Ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church.  The following interview was published on the Examiner shortly after Dave Ramsey’s Washington, DC Smart Money Tour stop in the spring of 2016.  There I met Chris Brown who took the stage along with Dave that night, and was subsequently granted an interview.

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On April 21, 2016, talk show host Dave Ramsey and his team visited Washington DC for one of his many Smart Money Tour stops.  That evening, Ramsey shared the stage with a member of his team, Chris Brown.  This Chris Brown, however, is not the controversial recording artist who shares the same name as they joked that night, but instead he is the host of the True Stewardship talk show.  Shortly after the tour stop Chris granted an interview to talk about his background, his True Stewardship talk show, and Financial Peace.

Anwar Dunbar:  Hello Chris.  We met briefly just after the Washington DC tour stop when you took the time out to talk to all of the current and prospective Financial Peace University (FPU) coordinators in the audience.  I really appreciate the opportunity to follow up with you and talk a little bit more.

Just a little bit about me for some context here. I’m a coordinator in the Financial Peace Ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.  When I start with a group these days, as part of my personal story, I tell them first and foremost that I have a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan.  I share that at one point in my life I thought being a “Dr.” would be the key to having a good comfortable life.

In the sciences, a Ph.D. typically commands a significant income.  It wasn’t until after I completed my doctorate, got my first job and made some money mistakes that I realized the degree by itself, while definitely an accomplishment, didn’t put me where I wanted to be in life.   There were a lot of aspects to the financial world and money that I just didn’t understand, and several lessons that I hadn’t been taught.

At the end of the DC Tour Stop, you took some time to acknowledge the FPU coordinators in the audience.  Did you start off as a coordinator yourself?  How did you get to your current position where you’re working with Dave Ramsey and hosting your own talk show?

Chris Brown:  Yes, I remember meeting you.  Well, I think it was important that I had a background in Financial Peace University, and whether or not I was a coordinator or had been to a class, I think that it’s important that whenever you’re going to be representing a philosophy and a way of life – you’ve got to know that you’re behind it and living out what you say.  So I think that’s important.

Whether or not I was a coordinator, I don’t think that would’ve mattered. I’ve never personally coordinated a class.  I’ve been in several of them.  I’ve actually led at a church and my role was to make sure that we had several coordinators and that they felt equipped.  So for me, I went from attending a couple of Financial Peace classes to making sure that several of them happened at my church.  I kind of skipped over the coordinator piece.

AD:  So you must of have distinguished yourself in such a way that you got to meet and work with Dave Ramsey.  How did that all come about?

CB:  Yes.  I view my role at Dave Ramsey Solutions not as a platform thing.  It’s more of a calling.  We lead out, Dave and myself in particular, with our mistakes, not necessarily as experts.  It’s more of a vulnerability of saying we have been successful, but more than that what people are actually relating to is that we have failed, and that’s what people are resonating with the most.  We’ve applied biblical principles and they’ve worked, and we’ve applied non-biblical principles and they haven’t worked.  And so we’ve seen both worlds, so we lead out with our vulnerabilities and our huge mistakes.

AD:  How long have you been doing your True Stewardship talk show?  When did that start?

CB:  It’s been about a year.  Dave has always had a passion for stewardship which is managing God’s blessing, God’s way for God’s glory.  It’s deeper than just financial principals, the Xs and Os, and the mathematics.  It’s more of we’ve been entrusted with resources, our time and our talents.  And how do we manage those things for those who have lived by faith as believers?  And we wanted to make sure that we ministered to that particular demographic.

Dave is obviously serving everybody whether you’re a person of faith for not.  But he wanted to make sure that we had a branch of our organization that just ministered to those people of faith, and broke down what the Bible says about money.  There are 2,350 verses in the Bible all about how to handle wealth and possessions.  We want listeners to not only be educated, but empowered, and that they feel a little bit of encouragement and hope wherever they find themselves in their stewardship financial journey – when they apply themselves they can find themselves being successful on the other side.

It’s a twenty-five minute show, and just like Dave’s it’s a call-in show.  Dave Ramsey has a call-in show Monday thru Friday.  It’s a three-hour call in show in 550 plus markets around the country.  Mine is a twenty-five minute show.  It’s also call-in.  I occasionally have a guest, or I occasionally do a full teaching myself, but it’s on Monday thru Friday, as well in 20 different markets and both of us have podcasts that are associated with the show, and also we stream on our websites.

AD:  With so many financial gurus out there with their own systems for wealth building, do you find that some people perceive Financial Peace University to be a hustle or is it perceived the way you guys intend it to be?

CB:  I’ve never really thought about it that way because we’re really focused in on what we’re trying to do.  We like to say that we’re on a crusade.  We’re really trying to enhance a movement that’s already started so we’re more focused in on what we’re doing.  I don’t know about what all of the other gurus are doing.  I don’t know if there are any, if they’re twisted or if they’re shady.  I’m actually not familiar with any of that, but I do know that we have a very loyal tribe, and I also know that there are a lot of results, and people will follow where there are a lot of results.

Over the last twenty years there have been over four million people who have gone through this class and have experienced an average $8,000 swing in their finances in just the first 90 days. And so for around $100 for you to enroll in Financial Peace University and have a kit and some resources, and a book and all of that kind of stuff – after 90 days to have an $8,000 swing in your finances, for me the value of that is so big.  There’s never been a question about the value added to society.  So I really feel that way.  We give away a bunch of stuff for free on our websites and podcasts and radio shows.  It’s our way to serve the community.

dsc03840AD:  From your testimony at the tour stop, it sounds as you were pretty deep into the real estate investing world and experienced a lot of success, which is a lot of further than I ever got.  I did some learning, but never got any deals done.  Based upon your experience, once someone’s life becomes “Financially Peaceful”, would you recommend that arena for someone else?  Once you get out to Baby Steps Five and Six and you’ve got money in the bank and no debt; you’ve got your 15% retirement savings going, and you’re saving for your kid’s college funds, would you recommend someone going into the real estate investing arena to acquire properties, flipping homes, and similar things?

CB:  Let me just say that investing in real estate is great.  So there are a couple of factors.  First you have to make sure that you’re already diversified.  What we teach in Baby Step Four, which starts getting into investing, is to start with 15% of your household income going towards long-term investments – things with tax advantages.

You want to think long-term so you want to make sure you’re diversified: mutual funds, 401-Ks, Roth IRAs, 403-Bs, 457s, those kinds of things first.  Then you’re going to go to Baby Steps Five and Six; pay off your primary mortgage first – that primary has to be paid off first, and then you can get into rental homes, flipping homes, but only with cash so you’re not borrowing anything for that to happen.

So let’s say you go out and buy a $100,000 house with cash and two and a half years later you sell it for $175,000 – that’s really good.  You get cash, you use that $175,000 and then you go buy two properties for $70,000 each, and then clean them all up, and then two years later you sell them both for $200,000 each, or $150,000, whatever it is, but it’s always with cash.  You also want to buy investment properties where you have a local intelligence where you are, and where you can feel it.  You don’t ever want be a landlord if you’re living out of town.  You want to do it in your town.

AD:  As a literacy Examiner, from time to time I’ve written about money, not telling people what to do or trying to sound judgmental myself, because I’m not rich and have made my share of money mistakes.  However, I think the principles of Financial Peace University and money lessons in general are important to talk about.  With the exception of one or two pieces I’ve written, many of my financial articles have gotten little to moderate reaction.  Have you found money to be a sensitive topic in your experience, and if so, why do you think that is?

CB:  I’ve personally seen more traction on articles, and videos and teachings when they have a personal, emotional or a relational component in them.  So it’s not really just about the facts because we live in Google society where you can look up the information.  You need the inspiration with the information – some kind of personal or vulnerable moment whenever you’re explaining anything financially or some kind of personal anecdote.  Those pieces tend to be shared and liked a little more often because, yes you’re right, it’s a sensitive topic.

It’s taboo to talk about money and there are lots of opinions out there and nobody can argue with your experience.  For me, I deal with the faith-based side and on the faith-based side you can’t argue with the scriptures.  So I lead out with the scriptures and my experience and that’s a lot better than if I do a cold article that says, “Here are the three steps to budgeting”.  You can find that stuff on a lot of different websites, but what you can’t find is your story.

AD:  You’re right, I wrote a piece called, The Difference Between Being Cheap and Frugal, and it got a lot reaction I think first because I told a story with it in a humorous way, and also because it’s something a lot of people have been personally faced with.

When you were coming up, did your folks talk to you about a lot of this stuff or did you have to find it all out on your own?

dsc03836CB:  I have an interesting story.  This is pretty cool.  I did not have a dad growing up.  I actually had four fathers who were all violent and we were always running away from them, from abuse shelter to abuse shelter.  So I didn’t have a dad and my Mom, because she was a single, Mom was always working three jobs and was never home.  So I really raised myself, but I say that liberally because I’d be sitting in an apartment with no food and no furniture for days at a time completely bored stiff, but the one thing I did have was my Yellow Sony Walkman; if you remember from all the way back in the day before the Sony Discman.

I was listening to the radio and I was never a really big music guy at the ages of 11, 12 and 13 years old.  I was always more intrigued by learning because to that point, I had just been sitting around the house by myself and bored, and we didn’t really have TV and cable or anything like that, so I was just intrigued by things that would get me to think.  So I would listen to guys like: Charles Stanley, James Dobson and Larry Burkett, and then later on Dave Ramsey.

Pretty much the radio raised me.  I mixed that in with some pastors, some teachers and coaches – there ended up being some bosses later on that really walked me through life and taught me these principles. Then I found out about Financial Peace University which made it more formalized.  But for me, I was never taught this stuff other than listening to the radio, and no one ever sat me down in a formal setting and taught me these things.  For me it just clicked and as soon as I knew that it was God’s way of handling money, it made sense to me.

I actually didn’t make a lot of money mistakes in middle school, high school or college.  I did great financially starting off as an adult.  I was the man.  I was rocking and thinking that what I was doing at the time really worked.  And then one day I decided I was going to get cocky.  I was flipping homes and I said, ‘Why am I flipping homes one at a time?  This is great.  This is fun.  This is awesome.  I’ll flip eight at a time.  I’ll go borrow a million dollars and I’m going to expedite this thing.  I’m going to get rich quick.’

The year was 2007 (the start of the bursting of the housing bubble) and for the next 36 months I couldn’t put a renter in any of my properties and I couldn’t sell any of them, so I was paying out $10,000 a month on vacant homes all of the way to January 2011 when I had to walk into a filled courtroom, look a Trustee in the eye and I had to file bankruptcy.  So it was a major fall because of one month of getting greedy and getting cocky.  So I was never taught, but I learned more from that big mistake than I learned all of the rest of the time.  I will never go borrow again, not even for a house.  I will never borrow money again period.

AD:  So at the DC Smart Money Tour stop you told us the funny story about your sons and the garage door.  As an education writer and a science tutor, I’m always fascinated by what resources some kids have access to early in their lives versus others, because what you learn at a young age can greatly impact your life as an adult.  Are these lessons you’re going to teach them gradually?  Or are you going to sit them down one day and say, “Okay guys, we’re going to sit down and watch Financial Peace University today and then we’re going to debrief afterwards”?  How are you planning to do that?

CB:  The best thing I can do is teach them the world view and the heart behind good financial management.  I don’t want to manage their behavior, I want to manage their heart and so every day from the time they’ve been able to retain a thought – so four, five, and maybe six years old – anytime anything happens with relationships or anything else, there’s a great teaching opportunity to say, ‘That relationship, that brother of yours, God has put that relationship in your life trusting you to make sure you handle that relationship well and for His glory.’  And they’re not going to get it right away, but I’m planting seeds all of the way throughout their childhood.

Now as far as formal guidance, they’re already getting that.  They actually love it because kids are sponges.  We have what we call Financial Peace Junior.  It’s a great curriculum and age appropriate for my kids and they actually love it.  They’ve got this savings jar and it’s got three different compartments where you: give, save, and spend.

They have a chore chart where they get commissions for their chores.  Two of my three have bank accounts where they save and we go out to the mall and they save their saving part, give their giving part, and spend their spending part.  So it’s been great and when its time they’ll go to the next curriculum for middle-schoolers and high schoolers; Generation Change and then Financial Peace University.  I don’t ever want to make them do anything.  I want them to want to, and I’m never going to force them.

I think the only thing I would do if they were rebellious and looking to get married at 23 years old, I think about six months before they got married, if they hadn’t done it yet, I would probably bribe them to make sure they’ve got it in their brain first.  I’d say, ‘I’ll give you $200 to watch this class just so that I know that you did,’ and just so that I know that I equipped them on my side as a parent.  I would say, ‘You’ve got to listen to this.  This is going to save you thousands and thousands of dollars, maybe even millions if you sit down and watch this.’ So I would make sure that before they got married they did it, but I don’t think I’m going to have that problem so far.

AD:  And once again Chris, when does your show come on?  You have a livestream broadcast right?

CB:  In DC we’re on at 3:30 pm on 780 AM-WAVA.  And, of course, we’re on in 20 different markets at all different times from noon to 8 pm depending on the market all of the way from Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Washington DC, Detroit, all over the place.  We also have iTunes podcasts and we’re on Google Play and we’re also at So there are lots of different places people can connect with us.

AD:  Well Chris, those are all of the questions that I have.

CB:  Thank you, Anwar, we appreciate all of your work.

A special thanks for this interview goes out to: Chris Brown, Dave Ramsey Solutions, to the Alfred Street Baptist Church, and finally to Tommy and Erica Walker, founders of the Financial Peace University Ministry at the Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this post. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

The difference between being cheap and frugal
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing story
Your net worth, your gross salary and what they mean
Simone Griffin discusses homeownership and the African American community part one (also parts two and three)
Mother’s Day 2017: one of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff
Father’s Day 2017: reflections on some of Dad’s money and life lessons

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