For my young brothers who grew up or are growing up without the positive influence of a father
In the past you internalised the pain. Then you exploded. Anger was the ruler of your days and you expressed that anger through verbal and physical abusive ways. You sought after peace in all the wrong places. Nothing worked, so you became angrier than you were before. You turned to the bottle, drugs, sexual promiscuity, the gang or group you saw as your family who empathised long enough to draw you into an even more destructive lifestyle. And the cycle begins again.
At present, you are aware that something is not lining up. Your life is out of shape. You are taken whichever way the wind blows. You’re not at peace. You’re not satisfied. Discontentment has settled in. But not being able to figure it out, you’ve become discouraged, depressed and unimpressed with the person you see in the mirror. With no role-model or trusted leader to turn to for guidance, anger slowly begins to rule your days again.
You can no longer engage in healthy conversations. Instead, you bring to the table your rage and wherever you go conflict is the order of the day—be it internally or externally. Loved one’s efforts meet with rejection, nothing said or done will ease the pain for you’ve been carrying it for too many years. You’ve now believed the lie that you are wired that way. Oh, how my heart aches for you.
Lack of leadership:
No one taught you how to express your feelings in a healthy way. Instead you were told that big boys don’t cry. And that you should grow up and be a man. Toughen up and fight back. Those phrases were accompanied with derogatory terms as they called you names. You’ve become so familiar with those derogatory terms that you now use them as you address your peers, inflicting the same pain that was inflicted on you. Oh, how my heart aches for you.
You’ve embraced a false identity. You no longer believe you can fly. But all hope is not gone my brother. Today you can choose to live which is why I’m calling on you to educate yourself.
Cultural and Biblical Reference:
Young man I call upon you because you are strong... You have the strength to fight for what is right…Fight for justice…Use your strength to bring about change that will last…Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the hype…in what will fade away over time. You have the opportunity to break that cycle and begin to live a life of fullness.
You’ve learned the art of surviving instead of thriving but today, you have the choice to live a fulfilling/abundant life. If you begin by taking a step of faith today, you can look back, not long from now to see how that step of faith was all you needed to start on the path that leads to life—a better more positive and thriving place. Becoming a healthier you.
In one of his more popular songs, the late Robert Nester Marley (aka Bob Marley) called on us to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery. I am simply reiterating that in this article, empowered by the book of Deuteronomy 30:19-20 which encourages us to choose life over death, alongside John 10:10 pointing out the deceptive traits of the enemy and exhorting us to choose the abundant life that Christ came to give us.
Therefore, my encouragement for you today is this: Choose life! There is a generation of eager learners awaiting your leadership so that they too can thrive, not just survive. Today, you can choose to live so that they too can live.
Educate yourself. You are the leader of tomorrow… Today you are in the perfect position to educate yourself. Let the anger you feel for the injustice around you ignite the passion in you to educate yourself. Stuart Briscoe said:“Life is full of choices. Some are made for you, the rest you make. You cannot choose to be born, but you can choose how to live. You are not free to select your DNA, but you can choose to pursue an MBA. The choices you make shape the life you will live. …God bestows upon man the ultimate privilege of choosing freely which way he will go. Of course, there would be no choice to make if God had not first chosen to reach out to us. So man’s freedom to choose is a gift of grace. God chose to offer us life, then he chose to let us choose. Now the choice is ours!”
So again I call upon you brothers to research your history, not to find stones to throw at your enemies (those who cause the great divide from the ones lacking knowledge to the ones creating policies to widen that gap) but to progress further reaching your destiny. Choose to let your younger brothers, who are also lacking wisdom, find a role model in you. Let your sons see in you a hero. Let your father’s lack of investment drive you to be a better leader in the life of your child/ren and peers. Let the education ignite the power in you to make a difference. Be the change you would like to see.
Educate yourself so you can learn from the mistakes of our forefathers and be a better leader for the next generation. You will need to embrace forgiveness. The lack of investment, in your early years, left you disadvantaged. You resented. Nevertheless, as we discovered earlier, life is full of choices. One day, you’ll be numbered among the ‘fore-parents’ another generation will speak of. Will they want to follow in your footprints or will they be left unprepared and looking to others for guidance? The choice is yours to make.
I encourage you to educate yourself so you can be an inspiration to the next generation. Learning to forgive will be one of the first lessons to learn as you cannot pass on new wine, stored in old wineskin, to the next generation. You must allow your heart a cleansing so you can see clearly and be able to forgive your father for not being an effective leader in your life, in the same way that you would like others to forgive you for your abusive behaviour which was a direct result of the lack in your life. As Luke 6:38 says: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”