A Personal Note from George Jenkins:
It was an honor to be invited to partake in such an exciting discussion with such dynamic people and personalities. It was a pleasure to disagree on approaches to success, but to be s
A Personal Note from George Jenkins:
urrounded by so much of it. Myself and my partners exemplify something different from the S.O.B. ethic. Our hands we were dealt at birth didn't allow for us to have the tools we needed to be self-assured enough to be a S.O.B. We were all lucky that we were smart enough to realize our goals were much more attainable through collective effort. The funny thing is that it worked like a charm for us. Our friendship has carried us through junior high, high school, college and professional school together, and in sync. We all began on the same day and graduated professional school (UMDNJ) in the same ceremony.
We accomplished all of that by being each others keeper. No egoes, no competition and no petty backstabbing. Just honorably treating your brother as you wish to be
treated. Now that ethic may not work for some who are more individually driven. Extreme wealth may be impossible to accumulate with this ethic.
But true concern for others is the missing ingredient, in my opinion, in the recipe for true happiness. We have created the Three Doctors Foundation, in an effort to show others who are experiencing adversity, that it can be done. We create initiatives around our principles to try and foster teamwork and community activity. One of our signature programs is called the positive peer pressure challenge. We challenge young people to work together to create a program during the summer to make a difference in
others lives or the betterment of their community or environment.
It has been wildly successful, wih it being ran in multiple states. The end goal is to have them learn to work together and to socially self-police, in an effort to have everyone kept in line and moving in on accod toward a common goal. This may be the only tactic that can work for some who may not have many opportunities at the start. We were able to collectively tackle issues that cripple insecure kids looking ahead, but not seing much. We got through our applications together, searched scholarships together as well as taught each other how to shave and drive among other things. We taught each other how to be professionals. We gained experience exponetially because we brought them all home for everyone to learn from. We openly discussed everything, even the uncomfortable topics. Each time we did this we allowed ourselves to improve something else about ourseleves. We made each other better men as a result. If any of us were an S.O.B. we would not be able to enjoy such a productive and fruitful relationship that propels us to accomplish anything we set out to do. The beautiful part is when we get to relax togehter and shoot the breeze, it's nice to look over see that same successful grin on my boys face that I have. And we did it togehter. But at the end of the day, what ever works for you. But don't act like you
don't know why you are miserable even though you have accomplished everything you have ever imagined.
Your concern for your fellow man, chances are, is what may be missing from your recipe to success. Give back.
Click ahead for more of the Three Doctors' story and an excerpt from their book, "The Pact"!
- George Jenkins, DMD
My eyes followed the dentist’s gloved hands from the silver tray next to my chair to my wide-open mouth.
“What’s that for?” I asked, pointing at the funny-looking pliers he was holding.
At eleven, I sported a set of seriously crooked teeth, and
my mother had taken me to the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark to get braces that we hoped would improve my smile.
My curiosity must have impressed the dentist, because he not only explained his tools and how he planned to use them; he also taught me the names and number of teeth and how to count and classify them. A few minutes later, he quizzed me to see how much I remembered.
Our little game left me so excited that I could hardly wait for my next appointment. That was when I began thinking about becoming a dentist someday.
I don’t remember the dentist’s name, but I never forgot what he did for me. He gave me a dream. And there was no greater gift for a smart kid growing up in a place where dreams were snatched away all the time.
I spent the first seven years of my life in Apartment 5G of the Stella Wright Housing Projects with my mother and older brother. Our building was a graffiti-covered, thirteen-story high-rise with elevators that smelled like urine and sometimes didn’t work. Like public-housing projects in major cities across the country, the Stella Wright development was massive: sixteen high-rises stretched over two blocks. They were packed with hundreds of poor families like mine, mostly mothers and children, few fathers in sight.
My favorite place was the playground. But like so many structures around the development, it staved in disrepair. My friends and I were constantly climbing, jumping, and swinging on broken-down equipment that daily threatened our lives.
One day when I was five, I was playing on the wooden jungle gym and tried to skip over a missing plank to get to the sliding board. My jump was short, and I missed. My small body slipped through the gap and slammed to the ground below. The impact knocked my unconscious.
My brother, Garland, just six and a half then, rushed over, slapped my face over and over again, and tried to scoop my body up in his arms, thinking I was dead. Blood gushed from the back of my head. He screamed for our mother.
Our mother, Ella Jenkins Mack, has always been the dominant figure in my life. I was just a toddler when she and my father, George Jenkins, Sr., divorced. When I was two, we moved from South Carolina, where I was born, to Newark. I rarely saw my father after that. He came around a few times while I was in high school, sent $500 or so for toys at Christmas, and attended my graduations. But we never spent the kind of time together that builds relationships.
As soon as my mother, my brother, and I moved to the projects in a building on Muhammad Ali Avenue, my mom started working to get us out. She was a proud woman, and she didn’t like living in public housing. She wanted to make it on her own. Raised on a farm with eight brothers and sisters in Warrenton, South Carolina, she had been taught to fend for herself. She developed a toughness that at times made her seem emotionless, but her determination and consistency stabilized our lives. I never saw life break her down. If she struggled to pay the bills – and I know there must have been times when she did – her children never saw it. When Garland and I did well, she praised us with out gushing. And we knew better than to expect a reward for doing what we were expected to do, like cleaning our room or making a good grade on a report card.
Mom began working as a financial customer-service representative for Chubb Insurance Company in 1978 and still works there today. By the time I was seven, she had saved enough to move us out of the projects. We moved a block away to High Park Gardens, a private complex with landscaped gardens, grass, and a few trees. The complex operated like a co-op. Each tenant bought stock for $2,400 and got a discount on the rent. We could see our old building in the projects from the back window.
Four years later, my mother married Garland’s father, Heyward Mack, a decent and quiet man with a Southern drawl that tied him to his South Carolina roots. He had been around for most of my life, but we never connected emotionally. He didn’t treat me differently because I was his stepson. It just seemed he was at a loss for how to develop a relationship with me, or even with his biological son when he reentered our lives full-time. My stepfather didn’t care much for sports, so we couldn’t bond while watching the Knicks on television or sharing hot dogs at Mets games at Shea Stadium. He always seemed to be working on cars, but he never pulled us under the hood with him for the kind of interaction that can bring a father and son together. He kept mostly to himself and played an auxiliary role, more like an uncle, transporting us where we needed to go and occasionally giving us money. He wasn’t unkind, and I know at times he must have felt like an outsider who could never quiet break into the tight triangle that was my mother, my brother, and I.
Six years into the marriage, Garland and I returned to the apartment after school one day and noticed that the VCR was missing from its sport underneath the television in the living room. We walked from room to room and discovered that in our parents’ bedroom someone had rifled the dresser drawers and left them open. We were sure we had been robbed. I called Mom as quickly as my fingers could press the numbers. When I told her what had happened, she started laughing. It seemed a strange response for a woman who had just learned she had been ripped off. But she knew the truth: my stepfather had packed all of his stuff and left.
Just like that, he was gone.
The closest thing to a father I ever knew was my friend’s dad, Shahid Jackson. Shahid, Jr., was one of the first kids I met in the new apartment complex. Everybody called him Cash. He attended Spencer Elementary, too, and we hit it off right away. He was a quiet, passive guy, and I was the big brother type, so our personalities complemented each other. We never argued. We played video games at his house every day. His father was the coolest dad I had ever met. He treated me like I was one of his sons. He was the kind of dad who often bent the rules in the child’s favor.
With his boisterous personality, Mr. Jackson was as comfortable talking to a crack dealer on the corner as he was chatting with the mayor. As a bodyguard to the starts, including Smokey Robinson and Muhammad Ali, he traveled frequently when we were in elementary school. When he returned from his road trips, he showered us all with gifts. Whatever he bought for his two sons, he bought for me, too.
When he eventually joined the police force and took over the Police Athletic League, we played on his baseball and basketball teams. He took up fishing and to work out with him in the gym. We often just rode around town in his van and stopped to eat at restaurants. He was the first person to take me out for Portuguese food and the first to introduce me to filet mignon, which he cooked himself. One of his favorite stops was a deli called Cooper’s, where we ordered the best triple-decker sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.
Mr. Jackson always let me know he believed in me. When I told him while I was in high school that I’d enrolled in to the Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Plus Program at Seton Hall with two of my friends, he wasn’t surprised. From that point on, when he talked about my future, he always prefaced his remarks with “When you become a doctor….”
I was still barely able to imagine that myself.
In many ways, Mom was my father, too. She was, until she married my stepfather, the family’s sole provider. We were lucky to have a babysitter who treated us like her own children – Miss Willie, an old-fashioned woman who lived three blocks away. Sometimes, when she was working full-time, Mom dropped us off before sunrise and couldn’t pick us up until nightfall because she had to work late. If either of us was sick or if it was too cold or stormy outside, Miss Willie insisted that Garland and I stay overnight at her house so Mom wouldn’t have to drive us back and forth in the bad weather. She even took care of us for several days when my mother went into the hospital.
But when I turned six, Mom gave us keys to the apartment, and we started going home alone after school. We had to call her at work as soon as we made it indoors.
Because of her steady job, our pantry and refrigerator were always full of food. We didn’t move around constantly live some families did but lived in the same apartment for the rest of my childhood. And Mom kept the utility bills paid, too. I was fortunate; most of the guys I know who into trouble in my neighborhood had circumstances at home that weren’t as stale. Many guys I knew sold drugs because they felt they had no choice. And I believed that kids who grew up in less stable environment were more susceptible to pressure from friends to do the negative things that everyone else seemed to be doing.
Sam and Rameck faced those pressures all the time.
I wasn’t any smarter or more special than the guys around me. For some reason, throughout my life I was blessed with people who told me positive things, and I believed them. I believed my third-grade teacher when she told me that I could go to college and have a great career someday if I just stayed out of trouble. So I hung out with kids who were like me, trying to do the right things. Most of the time they were either my age or a bit younger. The older guys seemed too advanced, too ready to rush into the life I was trying to avoid.
For more from the Three Doctors, check out their book: The Bond!______________________________________
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts one can give is the gift of self and these men do it often wholeheartedly. Their effect on their communities has indeed been tremendous. These young men continue to speak out on life's challenges and together symbolize a new walk, talk, and attitude about facing the world. Children can identify with them, as well as at-risk teens and adults. Perhaps it's because of the impact of their message, perhaps the essence of their story. The reason is irrelevant, the results remarkable. The Three Doctors are young visionaries that bring forth new hope and have become some of the most sought after mentors, role models and public speakers.
Today, Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt deliver a well needed and urgent message of hope and inspiration everywhere they go. Their key messages- Never underestimate the power of self-reliance and inner strength, attach a timeline and devise a strategy for achieving your goals, and finally-Surround yourself with like-minded people who are in line with your aspirations.
Reprinted from THE PACT by The Three Doctors, Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2007 by The Three Doctors, Drs. Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt.