Niagara Gazette

November 9, 2013

DAVIS: Spelling out how to make S.M.A.R.T. life choices

By Jackie Davis
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — We are all a part of “history in the making.” Each day we live, we make an impact on the world around us by the essence of our human existence. Although we are individuals, we are each a part of a collective society. In any given moment, we represent so much more than ourselves. Our families, our faith, nationality, school, company, city or country are all potentially represented by the things we say and do. The life choices we make, and how we conduct ourselves matters.

I was recently invited to speak to the Black History Club of Lockport High School. I was truly encouraged and impressed by this polite, respectful engaging group of young people. Their potential future is very bright, and they are in my thoughts and prayers. I am grateful to their advisor, Charlene McClain for the opportunity to share some of my family history with them. I also spoke to them about making S.M.A.R.T. life choices:

S—Set high goals

M—Make good decisions

A—Always strive for excellence

R—Respect yourself and others

T—TENACITY is a must if you are to succeed in life

It is never too late to begin making “smart life choices,” even if we make mistakes along the way. We can always decide to begin again, and make wiser choices going forward.

Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto, recently admitted to smoking crack cocaine, after months of denying the photographs of him literally “caught in the act.” Although I am horrified by his admission, and disgusted by his explanation, that he only smoked crack because he was “in a drunken stupor,” I am not surprised to hear that he has refused to step down as mayor of one of the largest cities on the continent. With the onset of ubiquitous, ramped, uncensored, unethical, uncivilized conduct, available to see, read, or hear — via virtually ALL means of communication — I think our world has become less sensitive to obnoxious behavior.

The lines of “good and bad” conduct have been sadly blurred through the decades, and we as a society are no longer shocked by learning of the reality of the mayor of a major city, engaging in illegal or unethical acts. Through the years, so many leaders around the world have been excused for horrendous conduct, and re-elected to office, I have to ask, why would Mayor Ford think of stepping down after his numerous disgraceful deeds? If honor, and integrity no longer matter, why would he think of doing what once would have been considered the “right thing to do?”

The fact is that honor and integrity DO still matter. The protests of the citizens of Toronto reflect this fact. The conduct of those in office impacts not only the communities where they serve, but also the world around them, and the citizens that follow them. In my heart, I feel the need to, once again, send out a call for “civil conduct.” The very definition of the ‘civil’ includes being polite, well-mannered, courteous, civilized, respectful, gracious, pleasant or refined.” All of us can be these things if we choose to be. All of us bear some level of responsibility to conduct ourselves with civility, dignity and respect for humankind.

For the sake of future generations, I hope each of us will decide to make “S.M.A.R.T.” life choices.

Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with more than 20 years of television broadcast experience. Contact her at

Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with more than 20 years of television broadcast experience. Contact her at