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Proud of our Young Men by Mike Ramey
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Let us cruise 2020 in the right mental lane. I’d like to tell you how proud I am of our young men. As a matter of fact, I would advise any of my readers to do the same thing for their sons and grandsons. Tell them how proud you are of them; set the bar of praise high so that they--in turn--will live UP to your encouragement, instead of living down to the lowest common denominator which society currently offers. Whether they are into academics or athletics; white collar, blue collar or no collar, it is OUR responsibility to cheer them on. And, many of them are NOT that hard to find.
They live under our rooftops, brothers.
In the Jewish tradition, the head of the house usually blesses their children each and every day. Encouraging them in the Lord. Reminding them of the beauty of the family name. Teaching them of their traditions, God’s Word, family history, and how to make their way in the world doing honorable things. THIS is a lesson worth copying among ourselves--and passing on.
I had a conversation with a Pastor here in my home city. While we were discussing current events, it dawned upon me that--for the most part--the same issues that had dotted the landscape during our formative years seemed to be doggedly hanging on to Black folk as we advanced in age. In short, many of our people had not taken the words of their elders seriously. Thus, in some corners, the progress of our people had slowed to a crawl.
Much of it has to do with not encouraging one another upward to success.
Tell someone that they can, and they will try. Tell someone that they can’t and they will roll over and die. Want to see our young men overachieve? Encourage them where they are. A fit piece of advice for our day and age of ‘snowflakes’, ‘coalflakes’, ‘trigger words’ and ‘safe zones’.
According to author and lecturer Tony Brown, as long as we continue to focus on ‘Poor’ economic discipline and hold to ‘Minority’ expectations, we are NOT going to achieve in this country. Brown further notes that races succeed when they love who they are, and KNOW who they are and SPEND what they have WHERE they are. The people of that race grow, and the majority culture realizes that they can’t be held back from true progress. IF you doubt me, take a good look around your own city and see what people of color have built in their preferred sections of town. Furthermore, many of their young men have a firm hand in the process by getting their educations, learning their trades, and working in family businesses.
Will it make a difference to encourage our young men and tell them that we are proud of them? Of course it will! The more MEN that take the time to sit down and talk with our OWN sons (instead of relying on everybody else to do it, from the social worker to the Pastor) and our OWN young men in the streets and suites will generate a positive turn. We will see a great change in their outlook ON life and their abilities to successfully navigate THROUGH life. And, yes--in turn--we will see the negativity against us drop in the headlines and in social media.
It is far too easy to curse the darkness when we have a box of matches and candles right next to us. It is far too easy to be negative when it is far harder--but necessary--to have a positive outlook on life. If you caught any of the last eight minutes of Super Bowl 54, you know that the Kansas City Chiefs won by coming from behind and NOT giving up on themselves. They slapped the San Francisco 49ers around like a handball, and became the Champions of football.
Champions are not made by negative thinking, but by positive action and affirmative movement. Pressing on when others ‘lack the will’ to push on with you. Sticking to a successful game plan, even if it means adjusting it for better success. If there were one other thing I would like to encourage our young men to learn is that NOT everyone will be on their way ‘up’ with you…just keep on making that upward march.
I tip my hat to the young men whom I have had the opportunity to teach in the classroom; meet in the lockup, talk with on the streets, and cover and read about during my travels along the broadcast, print, and electronic frontier. I’ve learned from them, and, I trust, they have learned more from me--and are able to pass it on to the next generation. Success--like knowledge and wisdom--are not meant to be kept exclusively to one’s own self; but are meant to be shared among our young men who are doing their best to make it along through a cold, and increasingly hostile world.
My closing advice to our young men is this. The Bible is full of examples of the types of men that are out there to help you along life’s highway. Feel free to take a look in its covers for wisdom, advice and inspiration. Also, know that there are GREAT men ahead of you, GREAT men behind you, and GREAT men in your own sphere of influence who have read and believe in the Christ of God’s Word; men of quality who will help you and cheer you in your upright efforts. Even if you ‘skin your knees’ a few times.
The stakes are far too great for you to forget who you are--and the race you represent. Or, as one of my former students taught me: “Excuses are the nails in the household of failure.”
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Book Reviewer, P-School Ranger, Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The Ramey Commentaries” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. To drop him a line…or a whine…the address is still the same:
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