Fox Rich is a motivational speaker who talks from experience about issues facing all of us today. In particular, she uses her story to help young people, especially minorities, understand their own capabilities and value systems. In the video I watched, Rich addresses students in Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College, named for the slain civil rights activist. She has a point to make to this audience of young people, who at first she indicates aren’t even listening to her message: Rich is concerned with the state of relationships, and families, in society today.
She introduces three building blocks of successful families:
Rich believes that people date and have sex without attempting to know one another, which disrespects themselves and their partners. She believes that people may “play house” together, but do not really commit to one another. Finally, she believes that few couples really work together to build a family unit that is a team—that represents true values, values that will endure. Our children and our family are our ultimate legacies. In decades or centuries to come, no one will remember you for your money or your fancy car and clothes. But if you were part of a family unit that treated others with respect, concern and pride, your name will survive.
Rich is on point in many ways. First, she does not hold her punches when she confronts the promiscuity of today. She tells us that sisters are the ones most likely to carry the burden of casual encounters, and this is true. Most single-parent households are headed by women (Yen, 1). Likewise, she hits home when she says that it is easy to give up when things get rough. Although Rich speaks more in terms of commitment than marriage, around half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce (Statistics, 1), and the numbers are higher for minorities.
What really struck me, and what I have talked with my friends about, is Rich’s statement that we must not let others define ourselves. Recently one of my friends decided to start a program to bring speakers like Rich to minority high schools. This type of action, of concern for others, carries over to the families we build through commitment, and defines our identity. Rich is speaking to a young black audience that has taken a major step already by attending college, and her message couldn’t go to a better audience. Especially in a country built on the backs of slaves, a country where it was illegal for blacks to own land, read, vote, or even marry outside their race until recently, we must all take care to be the best person we can be, and to project that person to others.
The year 2014 is not the time to let others continue to define us. Actions speak louder than words, and along with her eloquence, Rich’s words carry the power of experience. I believe that my relationships will be affected by her ideas, possibly not to the pleasure of my future partners, but for the sake of my own pride, and the start of my own legacy. If I want to get to know the person I am dating before we have sex, so be it. If I want a solid commitment in a relationship, that is how it will be. I want to build a family team that contributes, not just to itself, but to society. The future begins right here, right now, with me.
- Rich, Fox. “The Institute of Marriage.” Medger Evers College. 16 Nov 2014. Web. 31 Jan 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7RvKyaSyjg
- Unmarried Equality Staff. “Statistics.” UnmarriedEquality.org 16 Nov 2014. Web. 16 Nov 2014. http://www.unmarried.org/statistics/
- Yen, Hope. Census: Divorces Decline in the United States. HuffPost. 16 Nov 2014. Web. 18 May 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/18/census-divorces-decline-i_n_863639.html