“I Can Do Anything” by Carolyn R. Mattocks

What career should I choose?  What skills are needed for the careers I am interested in?  Can I really do anything?  These are common questions posed by young people.  Choosing a career is one of the biggest decisions a person will make in life.  Guidance is needed to make a wise decision.  Carolyn Mattocks has provided this much-needed guidance in her book “I Can Do Anything.”

Ms. Mattocks is a summa cum laude graduate of North Carolina Central University with a B.A. in History.  She also has a Master's Degree in Public Administration from North Carolina State University.  Ms. Mattocks has taught African American History, American History, World History, and European History at both the community college and college levels.  Based on her education and experience, Ms. Mattocks is well-qualified to help youths to decide on a career path.  

Carolyn Mattocks has a love and passion for history, as shown by this book.  She has researched seventeen different career options and the skills needed to be successful in each field.  Each section is outlined in a very simple manner so that children of various grade levels can easily understand the information.  A brief synopsis is given of each career, followed by historical references.  At the end of each section, there are activities that help the student to retain the information.  The student is encouraged to do additional research and write a paper.

My favorite part of the book is the profiles of successful African Americans in each field.  There is a description of several blacks in every field, including pictures of each one.  This gives black students a reason for pride and aspiration.  If they can do it, you can too!  That message is powerfully driven home throughout this whole book. 

After reading each section, students can assess themselves.  They can consider the skills needed for each career and decide whether they can or cannot be successful in that field.  The student learns how to use the information in a practical way.  The end of the book provides additional resources so that the student can find more information on a career that interests him/her.

This book is an extremely valuable tool for young people.  It can also be used by parents and counselors to help guide young people to the proper career.  I would recommend this book to anyone.

  "I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth & Development"

By Richard A. Cox, Jr.

Richard Cox, an African-American author, is a graduate of Campbell University and he is a freelance writer.  He lives in Maryland with his wife and son who inspired his new book, “I, We, Us.”  This book is designed to help the reader to grow by exploring the different roles each individual has.  No matter who we are, we all have three dimensions – I, We, and Us.  I thought the title of this book was rather unique.  I had never thought of myself that way.  However, as I read the book I saw the importance of separating the dimensions and looking at each one carefully. 

Cox starts by exploring the “I” dimension.  If we are going to grow, we have to take an honest look at ourselves.  I appreciated his positive viewpoint.  He encourages readers, “Do not feel depressed if you are not where you think you should be.  This is an opportunity to move forward toward a better you.” (pg. 21)  He proceeds by asking the reader a series of thought-provoking questions.  By answering these questions, readers are helped to discover who they really are and how they can make positive changes in their lives.  Understandably, Cox dedicates most of the book to the “I” dimension.  He makes the point that you may not be able to change others, but you can bring about a wonderful change in yourself.  So, we have to start with ourselves before we can hope to improve our relationships with others.

Next, Cox considers the “We” dimension.  This concept deals with your identity as a spouse or significant other.  Cox acknowledges how difficult it can be to blend two people with different backgrounds.  Even though it can be difficult, it can be done successfully and in a way that is fulfilling for both parties.  Each person in the relationship must fulfill his/her role.  This book helps the reader define those roles.  Cox asks the reader to describe their relationship and what their vision is for the future.  If they are not on the right track to realize their vision, the couple can decide what changes need to be made.  It’s a nice way for the couple to celebrate their achievements while finding ways to improve.

Finally, the “Us” dimension is discussed.   Stage three considers the identity dimension of a parent.  The focus is the common interest and concerns of everyone in the family.  The family should be a place where everyone can find security and a sense of belonging.  Cox asks various questions to help the reader determine if he/she is fulfilling their role in the family and helping the family to achieve their goals.  The reader is encouraged to list the challenges and pitfalls that the family faces and how they can overcome those potential roadblocks.

I enjoyed reading this book.  It made me think.  Cox concludes the book with the three keys to maintaining personal growth.  Throughout this book the reader is challenged to ask himself important questions and write down the answers in the book.  It is a tool that is very valuable for personal growth.  My favorite thing about this book is that Cox does not claim to be the ultimate authority on this subject.  He directs the reader’s attention to the supreme authority – Almighty God.  Cox quotes Scriptures to support the advice he gives.  Everyone that reads this book will become a better person by applying the counsel within its pages.