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As a child, my Big Mama had other women in the community that would of- ten say this to their children. Oftentimes, when I would ask for something, state an ambition I had, or state a goal I wanted to achieve, Mama, would say that to me. Immediately after, Big Mama would stand, hands on hips, and speak to Mama and the other women, “You better hush, Now!” I never quite understood what it meant; but now I know.

In my earlier years, my best friend explained to me what it meant was all wants and needs are invisible, so that they wouldn’t fill up your hand, but that your spit, a solid matter, would quickly fill it up.

It’s the statement that I don’t understand… If you place want in one hand, spit in the other and see which hand is full first regardless of when it happened, does it mean anything? What’s the point? When I was younger as a child, I would say to Bug Mama “I want that bicycle”— I’d like to know how telling me to “put want in one hand, spit in the other, and see which hand is full first meets the claim?

For me, as an adult, this was just a phrase to have me wondering what is it that the women were actually telling us, because they would ALSO say. “People in hell wanted ice water, “when many of the young children asked for something. What did this mean? Was it just said to eventually shut us up. I am reminded of Clay Fishers book, Return of the Tall Men, where on page 126, he says, “*Wish in one hand, urinate in the other — see which fills up first .”

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I think so, but as I aged, I became open to other explanations for the statement. My experience with my son opened my eyes to these three things:

  1. If you do not have the means bring your wishes to life, you might as well wish in one hand and —t in the other. Which says to a “po’ person, your wishes have about as much value as body waste.
  2. You must help others help themselves because everyone has different needs and wants.
  3. Allow your tribe to have realistic expectations, promises and outcomes so the balance is real. Endgame: Your desire for something may not be realistic if you do not have a way to make it happen. In closing, do you have a Big Mama blessing? Email me today
Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media. Reach him at

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Written By

Terry Allen is an award-winning media professional, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder of City Men Cook and 1016 Media. Reach him at


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