Last night, President Barack Obama addressed the nation at what is being called the State of the Economy address. We can tell it was important because it pre-empted “American Idol!”

One of the things I love about the president is that even though he’s doing what he can to make improve the economy and provide help for those who need it, he always reminds us that of the personal responsibility involved here. A lot of what we did got us into this mess, and we’re going to have to do some things to get ourselves out – and it might take a while. After all, he’s the first president I’ve ever heard admit during his election victory speech that there’s a good chance that things wouldn’t get much better in his first term. We’re not used to that kind of honesty in this country, but I think it let us all know that what we’re in store for.

This morning, Senior Producer Nikki Woods and her team has laid out a show that asks us to examine the state of “our” union. In the midst of these tough times, what are black folks doing to survive the recession? What are some practical tricks and tips you’ve implemented at your house?

Here’s a tip for you: The people who are surviving the most have been living smart in a recession and out of one. In other words, people who do the best in any situation are people who do the right things most of the time, not just when times get tough. A lot of people are getting to work on time, staying late and not missing days because they recognize that their bosses may be looking for reasons to replace them. Well, guess what? You should have been doing those things all the time. It won’t guarantee that you won’t get laid off, just like not over-spending and putting money way for rainy day won’t guarantee that you won’t have it rough in this economy. But here’s a guarantee. Doing the right thing in good times and bad times keeps you prepared and on top of things, and when the economy does turn around, you will be in a better place than the people who are just waking up and deciding to make a change.

So, today is a good day for us to check ourselves. What state is your household in? What state is your health in? What state is your spirituality in? What state is your work ethic in? All of these things need to be in order, and if they aren’t, start working on them today. The economy will get better eventually, I promise. But if you and your family haven’t gotten yourselves together, it won’t even matter.

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