Love Is The Only Gift That Matters!
Updated: Dec 26, 2021
By Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on December 19, 2021
It's Christmas time, again. This is also a time for giving to the ones we love. As for me, I think unconditional love is the only gift that really matters.
As we wrap up 2021 and move into 2022, I realize how fortunate I am. Many people judge the Christmas holiday season by how many material gifts they receive. I judge it by how much love I have received from my family, loved ones, true friends, and loyal supporters. And, I have always tried to give more love than I received.
With this view in mind, 2021 has been an exceptionally good year for me. I learned a very long time ago that material things, no matter how nice they are, cannot love you. They can entertain you for awhile and, in some cases, make you feel comfortable and special.
Fortunately, I was exposed to material things very early in life and I quickly realized how limited their value was in the overall quality of our lives. However, I have enjoyed an abundance of unconditional love from family members, loved ones, friends, and supporters all of my life.
My siblings and I grew up in a very loving two-parent home. For most of my childhood, we lived in the president's mansion on college campuses. While these homes were very nice, it was the cocoon of parental and sibling love that we treasured the most.
Because of the unconditional love showered upon me by my parents and five siblings while growing up, I never felt alone, diminished, abandoned, or insecure in any way. I always knew that what our family had was very special. Their love was a gift that could not be purchased or packaged. It was earned through our respectful attitudes and appreciative words and deeds over a lifetime. Our circle of love was rock solid and my real-life heroes lived in our home.
A world of additional blessings has come my way since August of 2019. I have made some new, solid, and wonderful friendships with great men and women in Talladega, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and Anthony, New Mexico. These friendships evolved around a mutual respect for humanity, rather than the accumulation of material things. This kind of friendship has always been the most satisfying for me.
Small-minded people talk about other people. Self-absorbed people talk about their material possessions. Truly great people talk about big ideas and how to bring them to life. I have always been attracted to truly great people.
A Circle of Love Formed by Men and Women I Admire and Respect
My entire 73 years on earth have been filled with personal interactions in very private settings with truly great men and women. I have also been fortunate enough to be loved by a wide array of courageous and trailblazing men and women of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Some of these men and women include: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ms. Coretta Scott King; Ms. Rosa Parks; Rev. Ralph David Abernathy and Ms. Juanita Abernathy; Rev. S.A. Owen (Memphis); Ms. Johnnie M. Carr and Mr. Arlam Carr, Jr. (Montgomery, Alabama); Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth; Dr. E.D. Nixon; Colonel Paul D. Lehman, Jr., USAF (Montgomery and Los Angeles); Mr. Harry Belafonte; Colonel Stone Johnson, Mr. Simmie Lavender, and Mr. Ben Green (Birmingham, Alabama); Mr. Roy Wilkins (former Executive Director of the NAACP in New York City); Ms. Maggie Bozeman and Ms. Julia Wilder (Pickens County, Alabama); Mayor Maynard Jackson (Atlanta); Mayor Marion Barry (Washington, DC); Mr. Julian Bond; Dr. Benjamin Hooks (Memphis); Ambassador Andrew Young (Atlanta); Mayor Richard Arrington, Jr. (Birmingham); Dr. Joe L. Reed (the most courageous civil rights leader in the history of Alabama); Mr. Ramus Rhodes (the brilliant Farrah Hall "janitor" at the University of Alabama's law school in the 1970s); Colonel Floyd Mann (Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, Alabama); Dr. Maya Angelou; Dr. Benjamin Mayes (Atlanta); Dr. Frederick Humphries (Nashville and Tallahassee, Florida); Congressman Adam Clayton Powell (New York City); Congressman Harold Ford, Sr. (Memphis); State Senator John Ford (Memphis); Attorneys Fred D. Gray, J.L. Chesnutt (the greatest trial lawyer in America), Solomon S. Seay, and Charles D. Langford (Montgomery, Selma, and Tuskegee, Alabama); State Senator Michael Figures (Mobile, Alabama); Major Sidney Williams (Montgomery Police Department); Mr. Larry Fluker and Mr. Jerome Gray (Evergreen, Alabama); Judge Eddie Hardaway (Demopolis, Alabama); Commissioner Albert Turner (Perry County, Alabama); Mr. Charles L. Carter (Muscle Shoals and Union Springs, Alabama); Mr. Harvest Mitchell (Florence, Alabama); Mr. McKinley Bailey (Huntsville, Alabama); Mr. Anthony Butler (Choctaw County, Alabama); U.S. District Court Judges U.W. Clemon (Birmingham) and Myron Thompson (Montgomery); Mr. Joseph L. Cole (Gadsden, Alabama and Atlanta); Rev. Jessie Jackson; Alabama Supreme Court Justice Oscar Adams and Ms. Ann Marie Adams; District Attorney/Alabama Attorney General Jimmy Evans (Montgomery); Ms. Earnestine Bruce (Montgomery); Ms. Karen Ballard; Judge William Cousins (Chicago); Soul Train founder and executive producer Don Cornelius (Chicago and Los Angeles); Mr. Eric Ramsey (Los Angeles); Mayor Andrew Hayden (Uniontown, Alabama); Mr. Clarence Norris (the last of the "Scottsboro Boys"); Correspondent Ed Bradley and producer Robert Anderson ("60 Minutes," New York City); Attorney Milton Davis (Tuskegee and Montgomery); Ms. Ida Mae Whitehurst (the mother of Bernard Whitehurst; Ms. Elizabeth Williams (Detroit); Mr. Walker Alexander (Attalla, Alabama); Ms. Inez Glass and Mr. Daniel Glass (Talladega, Alabama); Mr. Adrian Taylor (St. Louis, Missouri and Las Vegas); Mr. Nathan Chapman (Baltimore); Attorneys Billy Carter and Karen Neal (Montgomery); Attorney Connie Parsons (Birmingham); Mr. Daryl Harms; Ms. Kimberly Perkins (Birmingham); Ms. Ann Bolden (Atlanta); Mr. Edmond Watters; Mr. Richard M. Scrushy (Birmingham and Texas); Mr. Dale "Chip" Rosenbloom (Los Angeles); Mr. John Hudson, III (Chicago); Ms. Jessica Findley (Birmingham); Mr. Johann Jordan (Orangeburg, South Carolina); Mr. Eugene "Rock" Newman (Washington, DC); Mr. Ralph D. Malone (Huntsville, Alabama); Attorney David Minkin (Atlanta); Dr. Milton Padgett, MD (Huntsville); Mr. Olayinka Arowolo (Windhoek, Namibia); Multimedia entertainment producers Alvin Waters and Calvin Waters, and musician Peabo Bryson (Atlanta); Attorney Jonathan Rose (Washington, DC); Mr. Charlie Russell (Denver); Mr. Eric Urbani (San Francisco); Mr. Delford Smith (McMinnville, Oregon); Mr. Harry Cullinan (Auburn University); Mr. John Carter (Atlanta); Dr. Saadiq El-Amin, MD, PhD (Atlanta); Delos H. Yancey, Jr., Delos H. Yancey, III, and Ann Rogers (Rome, Georgia); Mr. George Washington Dunn, Jr. (Atlanta); Ms. Zakiyya Madden (Louisville, Kentucky; Dr. Barbara Joy Jones, MD (Atlanta); and Mr. Doyal Reed (Birmingham).
I have tremendous admiration and respect for the courage and monumental achievements of these great men and women. I am very blessed to have been loved by all of them. Each one of these men and women enriched my life in profound ways. What is more, the world is a much better place because these unselfish men and women knew how to embrace and love humanity in the face of great adversity. I salute them all.
Continuing My Journey in 2022
The New Year promises a continuation of my exciting journey along the road to personal enlightenment and professional growth. I am particularly excited about the opportunity to work with a new California-based Super PAC (in formation) that will focus on the 2024 U.S. presidential election. The Super PAC expects to register, educate, and turn out at least two million new Independent voters in six swing states during the November of 2024 general election. The Super PAC also plans to raise and spend an estimated $10 to $20 million to advance its political objectives in the 2024 presidential race.
I am also excited about my future, as I have developed new multicultural alliances in the past few years. Working with my new alliance partners, I look forward to continuing my climb up the mountain of international business and world affairs.
To all of the men, women, and children in my circle of love, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I will see you on the other side of midnight in 2022.