“Big Mama said, ‘Be like a duck calm on top but working hard underneath.'” In the heart of our family’s legacy lies the wisdom of my beloved grandmother, Lucile “Big Mama” Allen, a woman whose life spanned from 1906 to 2023. Big Mama was more than just a matriarch; she was a beacon of strength, wisdom, and unapologetic Black identity. Her story-telling was more than just tales; they were powerful lessons in mental self-awareness and spiritual alignment.
Big Mama’s voice resonated with the wisdom she imparted. She would often say, “Be like a duck – calm on the surface but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” These words, attributed to the actor Michael Caine, embodied her philosophy of life. Visualize a serene duck gliding along the water, seemingly unperturbed, yet beneath the surface, her feet were in constant motion.
Today, in a world filled with equity challenges, we can draw a parallel comparions between Big Mama’s timeless wisdom and today’s events. For example. the NFL’s lineup this season, where we see an unprecedented representation of Black quarterbacks. In week one, 12 Black quarter-backs took the field, demonstrating that their ‘duck” journey to this point involved constant hard work and determination. These quarterbacks are:
- Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
- Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
- Deshaun Watson – Cleveland Browns
- Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals
- Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
- Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos
- Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
- Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles
- Teddy Bridgewater – Miami Dolphins
- Cam Newton – New England Patriots
- Tyrod Taylor Houston Texans
- Taysom Hill New Orleans Saints
Their calm and composed presence on the field doesn’t reveal the countless hours of dedication and hard work they put in to earn their spots.
In another current example, consider the world of business, where BIPOC owned brick and mortar business face numerous challenges daily. They may appear composed on the surface, but beneath, they’re constantly strategizing, adapting, and pushing forward to profitably succeed in a competitive landscape. This paper is a landing space for Black owned business with its Buy Black campaign so join the movement – advertise and buy form your won today. Make it a habit. Amen
Big Mama’s wisdom is a reminder that, like a duck, we must maintain calm surfaces while working hard beneath the surface to achieve our goals. Big Mama’s storytelling taught us to embrace our heritage unapologetically and to navigate with authentic faith, just as the duck smoothly glides but is paddling diligently , please DO NOT compare your struggle to others stay focused on your paddle . In Big Mama’s memory, we carry forth her legacy of strength and wisdom for generations to come. Email me at Terryallenpr@gmail.com if you now how to not let them see you sweat.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org