September 29, 2022

Feature stories

Featured Story

Messy Roots Nurtures Men of Color

By Anders J. Hare After teaching seventh grade students in Charlotte and co-founding Profound Gentlemen, an organization that addresses the needs of Black male students by mentoring Black male educators, Mario Jovan Shaw decided to [...]


We Are What We Think

I chose this topic when asked to be the keynote speaker at Cochrane Collegiate Academy’s eighth grade graduation ceremony. I did so, not so much for the students, but because I am personally fascinated with the mind and brain. And if truth be told, I probably bored the students beyond reason, and I admit I may have gotten a bit “preachy” at times. Nonetheless, one young lady approached me afterwards, stating she really got a lot out of my presentation. This was enough for me.

Please allow me to share a few “gems” from by speech to the rising ninth graders at Cochrane. After all, many of us may need a refresher course about the brain and how it works in tandem with our minds. Yes?

The brain

First and foremost, the mind and the brain are two very different entities. Based on my research, the brain is made up of billions of nerve cells which make trillions of connections throughout the body. Our brains are not fully formed until around the age of 25 and weigh about three pounds. Also, the spinal cord is the main source of communication between the body and the brain and there is enough energy in the brain to power a light bulb.

The mind  

Now, on-the-other-hand, the mind is a part of a person that thinks, reasons, feels, understands, learns, remembers, etc. This is the common definition of the mind, which falls short. Where does the mind come from?  Experts don’t have an acceptable definition. I believe the mind is not tangible, but a spiritual gift from God which includes the ability to choose. Scientists even say the mind is not confined to the brain.

What’s the point?

The point to be understood is that the mind and the brain are not the same. The mind works through the brain but is separate. Just to be clear, the brain responds to the mind, not the other way around. In other words THE BRAIN RESPONDS TO WHAT WE THINK. This means we have the power to manage our thoughts and actions. We can choose what thoughts to build into our brains, as well as change some thought patterns we might need to get rid of. The brain will respond to what we think about. True, we all have weird, random and sometimes crazy and vile thoughts coming from nowhere into our minds. I know I do. But the point is, we don’t have to let these kinds of thoughts take root. With our minds, we have the power to be intentional about what we think. I know, I know this is not as easy as it sounds. It’s a battle that must be fought daily.

Here’s a Bible passage I find helpful:  Philipians 4:8

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things …”  

Think Well, 

Correction: An article in the July/August 2022 issue (pages 21–22) about international travel during the pandemic, included an incorrect spelling of one of the travelers’ names. The correct spelling of the traveler’s name is Bridget-Anne Hampden. Also, the article incorrectly stated that Hampden and Dr. Clarence Ellis visited the Blue Lagoon and saw hot springs and volcanic activity. The two did not visit the Blue Lagoon and did not see hot springs or volcanic activity. In addition, the article incorrectly stated that a group of Americans took Hampden and Ellis on a boat ride in Croatia. The Americans actually joined the two on the boat ride.


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