Entrepreneur.com describes a thought leader as one that has established themselves as an authority. A person that has attained life experience and produced valuable content. I describe a thought leader as a person of influence who has attained and maintained their status of impact and used it to positively affect the lives of others.

Similarly, urbandictionary.com describes a culture creator as one who improves the quality of life in society. I describe a culture creator as one who has the heartbeat of society and acts as a trailblazer and trendsetter for each defining decade.

History has an amazing way of defining the contributors of black culture through thought leaders and influencers per decade. We can take the Harlem Renaissance with culture drivers like Marcus Garvey, James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston and (my personal favorite) Langston Hughes. Civil Rights Era with culture drivers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and so many more. We can take the evolution of 90’s influence as a whole with culture drivers like Bad Boy Records, Death Row Records, (art imitating life) through the work of Spike Lee, John Singleton and Bill Cosby. These decades were the pulse of black culture and (for many) set the pace for how they walked, talked, dressed, danced and even attended college.

In today’s time there appears to be a challenge when it comes to raising thought leaders and culture creators amongst children, teens and young adults. According to dosomething.org stats on low self esteem, “About 20% of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.” One might venture to say, identity is the missing piece. As a mother, there is nothing more important to me beyond making sure my son is engulfed in positive affirmations, freedom to be and self-efficacy. When children are granted the freedom to be, they are provided with possibility.. There is no limit to greatness when someone believes in you (and that’s on me); imagine knowing that power as a child.

Children are born from a village. In this village the most important duty is to develop, cultivate and empower the children in it. The village doesn’t always consist of a family; sometimes it’s filled with community. The most powerful tool within the village is love. When children are loved correctly and effectively that light radiates a nation. It is that light that drives the culture and sparks movement within a new decade. That light that challenges the norms and creates important conversations within the world. That is a thought leader and culture creator.

Identity, connection and power are the essential elements to raising thought leaders and creators because that is where purpose lies. The beautiful thing about today’s world is there is no lane. Children and Teens are creating companies and curating the life they want now. “Research proves that children introduced to concepts like entrepreneurship and financial literacy can be more confident and responsible.” per kidpreneurs.org.

So encourage and uplift the young people in your life to soar and shine, now (no matter the age). As long as they know you're in their corner, it's a done deal.

I love you (and I mean it!)