“… I learned….first-hand, what PAY ATTENTION STUPID meant…”



Walk, talk, act, and be….PROUD of yourself.  If you don’t think well of yourself….no one else will.  Sure, most Mother’s will be proud of their children (even adult children)… no matter what.  That’s maternal LOVE.   Many moons ago, at 17, I began wearing a TIE and sport COAT to school.  I had a job (TV cameraman); bought my own clothes, and  purchased my own car.  Mother still made my lunch (I used to let it sit in the sun [on the front seat of my car] so it would be warm at lunch time). I went to parochial school, and while the tuition was very low…. I paid it.  I was self-sustaining.  I lived at home with my parents, giving ½ of my paycheck to my Mother, each week, as room and board… until I got married at 19.

This way of life was not unique to me, as both of my brothers did the same; and it was not that unusual for the young men of that era….”the 50″s,”  to be self-sustaining at an early age.  I QUIT cussing at age 13, becoming a very POLITE kid.  I was taught to say “Yes Sir, Thank you;” to be respectful of my elders, and to live by the Golden-Rule.  Break the “Rule?  Sure…I was a kid… that’s what kids do.

I wasn’t perfect. I was kicked out of parochial high-school in the 11th grade (more later), finishing HS at a Public HS… as a model student.  A year after graduation, I met my future wife; marrying after she graduated, at age 18….55 years ago.  I started college at age 20; finishing with two degrees at age 32.  At the time of graduation, I was Corporate Controller of a major wholesale distributor.  I didn’t attend my own graduation(s)…. As I had to work.  I was a dedicated, committed, and loyal employee.

I am telling you this story of my youth, as a reminder:  Do your best, be prepared, don’t take NO for an answer, play by the RULES, pay ATTENTION, be HONEST; carry yourself PROUD, ACT and DRESS properly, and exude CONFIDENCE, COMMITMENT, FOCUS, and LOYALTY.  All of these attributes contribute to the whole…someone that YOU should be PROUD of.   I’ll not share with you all of my spiritual commitments; but will say… that I tried very hard to put God first.  In fact, I was once FIRED from a job for going to Church, because I was routinely LATE for work by five minutes.  I admit…following RULES was not one of my strong suits.

If you don’t take your life, and career, seriously… then you won’t have much of a CAREER, and not much of a life.  My Step-Father taught me to NEVER accept unemployment benefits; that ONLY those who didn’t want to WORK, did that.  Time and circumstance do CHANGE… and for many; it’s a matter of SURVIVAL .  I might add, that my Step-Father would not permit his Mother to collect Social Security; feeling if she didn’t NEED it, she shouldn’t collect it….and she didn’t.

My first FULL-TIME job paid $40.00 per week. I actually THOUGHT that I was going to make $80.00 per week, because my employer said he’d pay me $80.00 every pay-period.  I didn’t realize that he paid his employees every two-weeks.  I’d NEVER heard of such.  Learning fast, after a few months; I got a job making $60.00 PER WEEK.  I learned….first-hand, what PAY ATTENTION STUPID meant.

My Step-Father also told me that being STUPID was better than being dumb; saying…”I can teach you to be SMART if the only thing wrong with you is that your STUPID.  My Step-Father was a very WISE man; and I LOVED him dearly.  One of his best quips was….”I only went to the 3rd grade…I would have gone to the 4th… but my Daddy was in the 4th, and I didn’t want to pass him.”  God Bless Henry Brooks.

I remember when I was EXPELLED in the 11th grade (both my brother and I…for him…two days before graduation), and Dad came down to the school (remember: Parochial), and when the “little nun” answered the door…. He bellowed…. ”WHO did they RAPE?”  You see, in 1957; about the worst thing a kid could do is cross the spark-plug wires of someone’s car, as a PRANK.  We were expelled for fighting in the cafeteria; very un-eventful.  Dad never understood why that was an offense worthy of expulsion.

I’ve WORKED very hard, not just for myself, but for all my employers, and I was duly REWARDED, and God BLESSED me all along the way.  I am reminded of two Bible verses supporting my story:  Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”


Photo Credit:  That would be …me.


About Charles Brooks

who is originally from Miami, Fla., moved to SC, holds two degrees from the University of SC. His business background is primarily in Real Estate Development (Motels, Hotel, Office Buildings, Restaurants, Residential) and Business Consulting. He currently is Managing Director of Brooks, Baker, Lehman & Kohlhepp - Investors in Real Estate and Mining, and has other business interests under the umbrella of Brooks Properties. FULL-TIME-MINISTRY: Fully engaged in spreading the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with an emphasis on the Business Community.


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