After days of thinking, I’ve decided to write about a group of people that have made the most impact of my life: mi familia (Thanks Cedric Lyons). In later blogs, I will write in more detail about my family, and will discuss my friends, mentors, and people I’ve encountered in life that have influenced my philosophy, my ideology, and have stretched my mind to levels I’ve never thought can imagine. I am a fortunate man, but I must give you a snap-shot about 4 people who I lived with most of my life: Thomas Lee Houston Sr. (Dad), Dorothy Faye McDowell Houston (Mom), Thomas Houston Jr. (Brother), and Natalie Lynn Houston Hunter (Sister).
Dad (My example)
Outside the Russell Glen Residence, Tom Houston was a very influential banker, businessman, and entrepreneur in the Dallas community. He was one of the first black corporate bankers in the city, developed businesses, and led the oldest and largest black chamber in the country. But inside the house, Dad was a relaxed, domino-playing, v-neck and boxer wearing patriarch who enjoyed family trips to Elgin for hot sausage and time with his friends. Honestly, I didn’t know the depth of the “legend” of Thomas L. Houston until after college when I was being acclimated to the “real world”. Initially, I didn’t understand why he hid that from me. I appreciate it now… He wanted me to be my own man. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t pressured in going into his shadow (whether it’s basking in his glory or making the same mistakes he made). He wanted to make sure I understand that your home life needs to be your safe haven from what you experience in the outside world. I respect that, and will use that as an example now in my professional life and when I start my own family. Thanks Pops.
Mom (The Nurturer)
Everywhere I go, I always hear good things about my mother; in fact, I don’t think she has ever made genuine enemies. She’s neither a gentle woman, nor one that’s quiet… just authentic. She has an honest, nurturing aura to her that, regardless what she says and how she says it (the good, bad, or ugly), you can’t despise or hate her. Mom has your best intentions at heart. It was evident when she helped me sell candy at her own rival high school to pay for my band uniform or when she’s tired but still helps my sister by taking care of her grandsons. She is smart, clever, witty, and beautiful. She’s diverse: one of the best cooks I’ve EVER met, loves to joke around, but at the same time would love to dress up and go to a formal function. She’s the total package, and I’m fortunate to have her as a guide on my quest for my wife.
Tommy (Mr. Persistent)
Tommy was fifteen years older than I (yes, I was my parent’s “blessing”). Honestly, I didn’t know him much, but the things I remember left lasting impressions. In my mind my father and brother had the same intensity (stubbornness), so when there was conflict, there was no resolution. My brother had a lot of my mom’s qualities: easy to talk to, compassionate, gentle (despite his 6’4’’ 350+pound frame). He loved people: he had a warm smile and cared for the welfare of people he was close to and even strangers. He was also VERY PERSISTENT… He sold everything. Pre-paid Legal, Kirby, ACN, Olive Leaf Oil Extract, property, baseball cards, Noni Juice. Every Multi-level marketing plan that was in existence, Tommy sold (or tried to sell). Lastly, I feel that Tommy was misunderstood in our family. He was the emotional being in the house. He was very relational, wanted to be appreciated, and wanted to always impart his wisdom (or his ideology) on us. We as Houstons typically don’t operate like that. In hindsight, I (we) could have done more to show we cared. I regret I didn’t spend the time I could have with him before he died. I love and miss him very much….
Nat (My Swag lifesaver)
My older sister is the reason why you see the Matt Houston brand today. After graduating college, she moved back home and changed my life. I was in middle school (an awkward time for me) and she taught me the importance having my belt match my shoes (outside of a suit). This changed my life. She ignited a fire in me that made me question what I used to wear, what I want to wear, and how I carry myself. She didn’t just give me fashion conscience, but she gave me confidence. I changed from a zero to a hero in the matter of months! (a little exaggeration). Seriously, Natalie showed me the importance of appearance and how people always observe how you carry yourself. Most importantly, Natalie taught me the importance of discipline. She is the most regimented person I know. Before there was surgery or lap band, she lost tons of pounds through hard work, healthy eating, and exercising. She’s amazing. She is also a phenomenal model as I’m on my search for my life mate. She is a professional, yet takes care of her husband and two very active sons. She’s a great package and I’m lucky to have her as my big sister.
These four people molded me into the man I am today. There is not a day when I don’t appreciate them. Thank you and I love you very much. I’m blessed to be your son and your brother.