Category Archives: Personal

A New Day in Dallas Leadership: Let’s Make The Most of It!

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Yesterday morning, I was honored to attend the City of Dallas Council Inauguration ceremony at the Meyerson Symphony Center.  Yes, it was a grandiose occasion where dignitaries, civic leaders, role models, even our future (shout out to the Parks and Rec Department for sending a couple of summer camps to witness this event) were in attendance, but that’s not why I was excited.  Yes, it’s believed to be one of the youngest councils in Dallas’ history, speaking volumes based on the historical decision makers of the city and how this affects young intellectuals views of Dallas proper, but THAT didn’t even excite me, either.  For the first time, I had several friends (and one former teacher-she taught me AP Government) who were starting their career as a city policy maker, and I felt very proud of them.  I’m witnessing people who I’ve learned from and worked with in “the movement” achieve one of their goals, and  I’m extremely happy for them.  They have all worked hard the last several months (and years) to get to this point, and they deserve to enjoy this time….

This entry isn’t designed to be a very long message, I just want to thank the 15 people who will be doing the work of the people of Dallas; from enduring hours long of council meetings, becoming target practice at town hall meetings, not feeling appreciated for the daily decisions made to better the city, and sacrificing their time, energy, and talents from their families to help the greater good.  You are true leaders who will be admired, acknowledged, and appreciated for the work you will do to help your constituents.

With that, I trust you all are doing this for the right reason; to make ALL of Dallas a better city.  You all are the city’s highest ranking officials; the realization that, if different people from different backgrounds can work together and create a solution for the greater good, then ALL of the city will benefit.  Do you notice I’m emphasizing ALL, lol.

Everyone on that stage motivated me.  I was able to see the bigger picture, and want to make sure I’m able to do what I need in order to make your job effective at the horseshoe.  We need both policy makers and the citizens to pull their weight in order make this work, and I’m willing to do just that.

Let’s make Dallas Great!

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Life long learning

Thank you Phillip for writing this blog!  It was great catching up with you and I love what you are doing w/ your family, your community, and uplifting people ensuring their financial stability.  Keep up the GREAT work!

To look at his message, click on the link below:

Life long learning.

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My TRUE Frustration about McKinney… But First, An Amazing Message!

So……

I was about 150 words in concerning my position in McKinney and how frustrated I am at the situation, my region, and society as a whole…  I’ve saved my thoughts and may reveal them another time.  First, I would like to share this video clip of Jesse Williams discussing race issues in America and how people of privilege don’t want to change, because it insinuate that they have done something wrong; an idea I’ve thought about but never articulated quite like this…

What makes this piece AMAZING is not the aesthetics (yes, his pic will be my profile art so I can get clicks up this week, lol) but his content! He nails it!!!!!!! The frustration of a black man, the fight that oppressed people endure to survive, the “reality” that America shoves down our throat and how we react to it, the transparency and vulnerability of his situations in Hollywood… the whole package.

I have a new respect for this brother.  BTW, he’s not my brother JUST because of the color of his skin, but the content of his character (remember that from history class… may be we should practice this more in our society).

Happy Viewing!  I’d love to see comments so we can have a discussion…

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It’s the First of the Month!!! A GREAT Time to Build a New Habit!

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”

-Aristotle

I woke up this morning refreshed (mainly because there have been no nightly NBA Playoff games in the past couple of days, lol); I had a restful weekend, was able to do some yard work, admired the long-awaited sun after the weeks of rain, was comforted my mother arrived home from her travels, effectively planned/prepared for the following week, but most importantly, realized the next day was the 1st of the month!  No, not because I was picking up a check to chill (90’s rap humor), but because it gives me a chance to build a positive habit!  A habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary (thanks http://www.dictionary.com).  Habits can be both beneficial or detrimental to your way of life. Habits also are always formed, whether you like it or not; you determine if you want to have a positive or negative routine.

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Again, I really appreciate the first of the month falling on a Monday because it helps my mind establish a goal and track my progress; with most people’s work week starting on a Monday, it’s natural for us to get the shenanigans out of our system during our personal time and start fresh when it’s time to perform at the beginning of the work week.

Studying this word cloud above, I notice the words that are most associated with habits: life, control, positive, habitual, free. Theses terms are synonymous with my future aspirations, but in order to add or enhance these traits, habits must be formed to create consistency, which builds character, which in effect creates/perpectuates a positive reputation.

I’m challenging myself (and would like to challenge my friends and the world) to build on my brand by creating one more positive habit this month.  There are numerous aspects of your life where you can create positive habits; your health and well-being, professional, social, intellectual, technological, relational, etc.  You must put in the work to appreciate your value (this is your personal investment-hmmmm… sounds like another blog topic).  Studies show that habits are formed between 21-30 days, so use the month of June to kick-start your perfomance for the 2nd half of the year!

HAVE A GREAT MONTH!

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A Letter To The TLH’s

Yesterday was a rainy Memorial Day in Dallas, Texas.  As I watched a TV marathon of “Drunk History” on Comedy Central, several events happened:

1.  My sister-in-law posted a beautiful pic of my brother holding their oldest daughter, Kenedi, honoring him and showing that he is missed (Thank you for doing that, Michelle).

2.  I spoke to my sister as she and her family celebrates 14 years of marriage

3.  My mom is with all of her siblings in Austin/San Antonio and I called to check on her…

After these things, I realized we are moving on with life; not saying we have forgotten about the two eldest men in our family, we actually live for them.  There are literally different stages of morning, and we as a family, though you both are thought of and missed daily, are attempting to have productive lives.

I reflected on how I need to give both my dad and brother an update on how we are doing here on Earth.  A lot has happened since 2007; emotions, events…. life has transformed how we (really I) interact with others, how I view myself, and my decisions that affects my future.  Below are my letters to both TLH Sr. and TLH Jr.

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Hey Tommy,

I know we didn’t get to interact much as we are 15 years apart, and it seemed like we couldn’t really form a close relationship, but I genuinely miss you.   It’s apparent you received a lot of our gifts:  You were intellectually smarter than us, had more physical attributes, yet was still a humble, personable person.  The more I see people who know you, the more I admire who you were to family and friends.

Your daughters, Kenedi and Trinit, are beautiful, smart young ladies.  Michelle is doing a great job making sure they are loved and know about you.  I really appreciate her for that.

I’ve really received clarity on your “entrepreneurial” spirit the last several years.  I remember growing up hearing everything you were trying to sell; whether it was Prepaid Legal, Kirby vacuum Cleaners, ACN, Telephones… you name it, you sold it, lol.  I also remember seeing the frustration of dad as you pitched yet another great idea to get rich.  Initially, I didn’t like this; which lead me to avoid sales in my professional life; a mindset that’s been holding me back.  I also had an immature view of dad’s rationale; how you were using his contacts to “make money”.  As I grow older, I realize that wasn’t the source of dad’s frustration; dad saw how smart you were, sees how you can sell anything that you can put your hands on, and how persistent you are in a debate/conversation when you believe in something.  The dissonance occurred because of lack of knowledge transfer between you two (which is rampant across Black America-and is another blog entry) and his vision for you to pick up his businesses to make successful (which he understood was the true way of accumulating wealth, but situations prevented him from having that for you, which caused him to be more frustrated).

What I’m saying Tommy is that I misunderstood you; I didn’t take time to get to know you and I regret that.  If I can turn back the hands of time I’d be more receptive to our conversations and try to relate to you so we can both benefit from our strengths…  I love you bro.

Pops,

Yo Yo Homie…  I missed saying that to you; Nat and I are continuing the salutations (and mom is still frustrated that we don’t speak English to each other) but it’s not the same as you created/perfected the saying.  You are missed, both within our family and in the business community.

On the family front, Natalie and Irby are celebrating 14 years of marriage and your twin, Trey Hunter, is becoming more like you every day.  They also have another boy, Thomas Logan Hunter, who they named and have the same initials to honor both you and Tommy.  He’s a great musician who definitely likes to “eat cheese” with everyone he interacts with.  No, I’m not married yet, nor am I close, lol, but I’m not worried, in due time.  I’ve received my MBA and had a big graduation party- the time when you would probably approve of one since this academic achievement puts me at the same level with the rest of my siblings, lol (just kidding).  In all honesty, graduate school helped me grow as a man.

Mom says I’m starting to do/say some of the same things you did and fears it’s because I’m trying to emulate you.  That’s not it at all; I’m actually starting to understand what you went through as an entrepreneur (the good and the bad), at the Black Chamber, and with the city in general.  You taught me to care about other people, but you also said be successful first; I didn’t realize trying to achieve both can be SO hard; you reactions/decisions you made were a direct result of your training in business, your care for an oppressed community, the “cards” you were dealt with, and your vision for a better tomorrow.  As I take that journey, your decisions start to make sense to me and I see how you became frustrated, as society was not on the same page as you in terms of logical approaches to help ALL have the ability to succeed in business/life.  I really need your guidance now…

In closing, I love you both… and miss you dearly.  When you both died, I was in a very selfish stage in my life and regretted not being at the right place at the right time.  As I live, however, I’m starting to realize past experiences and emotions (both positive and negative) can enhance your decision making for tomorrow.  I’m no longer living in regret, but want to use my energy to make my world (and those who are in it) a better place.

Until we meet again,

Matthew Louis Houston (The caboose)

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I’m Back!!

Hello blogosphere… It’s been nearly a year since my last post and a lot has happened in my life.  I won’t bore you with the details in this message, but in later entries I will attempt to articulate emotions, reflections, frustrations, and possible lessons this season in my life.  I’m realizing the importance of communicating not only verbally, but emotionally, and tangibly; it’s time for me to evolve so I can help impact the world!

I’ve owned this site for over 4 years and have not been consistent with my entries.  There are a few reasons for this:

1.  Apathy:  I just don’t care to write sometimes.  I’m more comfortable talking or showing you my feelings or intentions for change.  This is how I naturally grew up; I wasn’t strong in English/Language Arts, and as a young boy, I was groomed not to express my feelings/articulate through words, but through actions.  As I mature, I realize the importance of the written word and how writing helps you free your mind of apathy.

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2.  Lack of Time Management:  To write effectively really takes a discipline and talent (which I don’t really have).  So to compensate, I must be intentional with my entries; I have completed/drafts of journal topics accumulated from the past year that’s ready to be seen, but I have to be committed to consistently communicating (which I also struggle with in real life-yet another journal topic, lol)

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3.  Paralysis by Analysis:  People get judged by their work; with social media, I have to be careful with what I put out in this space so it won’t come back and bite me.

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4.  (And most importantly) My insecurity:  I’ve let fear control me, my thoughts, and my actions.  Whether it’s insecurity to complete tasks in school, to the fear of rejection, to the fear of losing someone else in my life, I’ve let that spirit dictate my actions.  That leads to apathy, being unorganized, thinking too hard, preventing me to do God’s Will for me; to be a walking testimony so I can influence.

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So for the next few weeks I will pour my life out to you; you will hear my opinions of some current events, the frustrations of society as an African-American Young Professional who wants to teach and reach others, my viewpoint on how millennials can (and will) change society, some of the lessons learned from my experiences, and how to become influential in your personal, civic, and professional lives.

Until next entry…

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My South Africa Experience, Part 1

Project Zoom! Staff and Students in Soweto

Project Zoom! Staff and Students in Soweto

For the past several days, dozens of people asked me about my chip to South Africa. Usually, my response consists of words like “amazing”, “you must go”, or “transformational” without much explanation. My apologies for that. Honestly, I was not ready to effectively articulate the effects of this trip on my personal, emotional, and professional life. I will, however, take a stab at it right now. This week, I pondered on how I can organize my thought process of the trip. I’ve come up with four separate categories. They are:

1.  The Beginnings:  Making the Dream a Reality
2.  It takes Teamwork to make the Dream Work
3.  The roller-coaster of Leadership
4.  The benefits of Perserverence:  The benefits of being patient w/ students

Though they are not direct headliners that describes my experience in South Africa, they are crucial to the process of me going on the trip. These are the “how’s” that allowed me to experience the Motherland. In each of these blogs, I will not only describe the professional steps that were made for this trip to happen, but also how I felt personally, emotionally, and how I dealt with outside factors that could’ve been an obstacle for me (prior commitments, doubt, fear, etc.).

Throughout this “blog mini-series”, feel free to ask questions, comments, or your perspective of what I am writing. I am more than happy to clarify, as I am not a perfect writer, and, quite frankly, have a lot going on in my life.

Happy Reading…

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News clip: WFAA Daybreak: 4-20-12

My Little, Da’Lon Reynolds, and I were on WFAA TV (Channel 8 in Dallas) for a news segment promoting Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).  BBBS is a great organization to join!

WFAA Ch. 8 Daybreak

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Global Diversity Leadership Exchange vLog

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Intangible Solutions For A Tangible Problem

Recently, the state of education in America has been a hot topic (and rightfully so).  With growing competition abroad, the reauthorization of education policy, and the state of the economy, people all over the country are panicking for solutions.  Though there are large, policy-changing answers we can find to improve the system, there are also small, intangible solutions every day Americans can do in order to enhance the education of our young people.

For the past five years, I’ve worked in an organization that supports and supplements the instruction of the teacher.  In doing so, I’ve been able to experience the problems faced by the teacher.  I realize teachers have a lot of things they need to do in order to educate kids.  With overcrowded classrooms, lack of supplies, and long processes, it’s very difficult for teachers to educate students alone.  What my company is able to do is provide assistance, bringing in people to confirm everything the teacher just instructed.  By doing this, students start making connections; they realize teachers are not instructing for their own health, and when the same thing is said from another person who has “swag” or they can relate to the student, then a connection is made.  The education system is starting to improve.

I wonder, is there a connection with establishing a positive relationship with America’s future and the improvement of education?  Is our society built on nourishing tomorrow or is it worried about what we can get today?  We love to talk about our posterity and how we need to invest in the future today, but do we practice what we preach?  It is evident that we are lacking in compassion for our youth (automatic rejection of their music, ignoring their viewpoint, disengagement of their actions).  THIS IS STUPID ON OUR PART!!!!

One thing these young people have that we didn’t is the instant access to information.  They can Google on their phone and broadcast whatever they find to the whole world in seconds.  As adults, our responsibility is to:

  • Develop a good report/relationship with our children
  • Listen to their ideas/thoughts
  • Advise/Teach/Discipline them the appropriate plans of actions (based from experience)
  • Developing an environment for nurturing, learning and loving

Is this easy: no.   The hardest stage in any process is implementation.  It takes energy, effort, and patience.  There are some stupid brats who don’t want to listen.  We can’t save everyone.  Our job is to make ourselves available so we can be in a position to teach/help someone who wants to improve.  It takes a village to raise a child.  Let’s not leave our children behind.

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