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Strong, Positive, Integrous Male Role Models

Day 10: Strong, Positive, Integrous Male Role Models



Scriptures:

Titus 2:6-8 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.


1 Chronicles 12:1-2,8, 21-22 These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war, 2 armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul’s brethren; Some Gadites [b]joined David at the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valor, men trained for battle, who could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as gazelles on the mountains: They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army. 22 Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God.



Song: He Heals Me


Happy Tenth Day of Thanks Everyone!


Today, we give thanks for strong positive male role models, the mighty men of valor that are fighting in the trenches to save our communities one person at a time. Cheers to you for training up younger men to also be mighty men of valor and for teaching our younger women to command the respect that they need and deserve.


This year, on Thanksgiving Day, I wrote a note to a dear friend of mine telling him that I was so grateful for the example he was to other young men and women within our Black and Brown communities. He has a youth initiative in New Jersey where he mentors several young men each summer. He teaches them the social emotional skills they need to survive in their home and neighborhood environments; he takes them to the store and shows them how to choose professional attire for the workforce and how to tie a necktie; he connects them to their history and culture and motivates them to achieve academic and workforce excellence. He is all around amazing with them and has seen class after class of these young men succeed and be their best selves. I am so proud to have him as a friend and to know that he is pouring out to the next generation in the way that elders should.


I sent him this note because about one week prior I had an encounter with the other half of my dynamic duo “street” ministry. (Lol! The things that happen in the street when we are together no one would ever believe if we told the stories.) As my friend and I were driving to the site to decorate for her book release party, we saw a young man aggressively exit a taxi, yelling at the top of his lungs at a young lady with a baby in a baby carriage across the street from the taxi cab. Both of our first instincts were to pray for the young man and the woman as my friend u-turned the car around for us to approach and assist them with what they needed. We drove the car to the corner of the next block where we encountered the couple yelling at each other. It was clear that they were both teenage parents at the highest levels of frustration. The young man was yelling because the young lady had the baby outside in the rain while it was cold. Since Lilah was in the back of the car, I stayed with the car but got out to pray in their direction as my friend pursued the couple up the block in plain view sight.

Since they were still screaming at each other and making aggressive gestures to hit each other, I continued to pray while my friend continued trying to calm both of them. About ten minutes later, the young lady storms off. My friend brings the young man back down the block to me. When he gets to me, I grab him in my arms and hug him tight as I rub his back and pray for him in the street. I let him cry every frustration out with the snots and tears running down his face. He calms down, I finish praying and begin to calmly talk to him and minister to him about the man of valor he is, needs to be and will be for his baby girl and the young lady with him.


He begins to tell me how frustrated he is about having to constantly argue and “look crazy” in the street, fighting with his baby’s mother. I reminded him that he was in charge of his emotions and that no one should ever be able to trigger him to act outside of his character. He said that he messed up and cheated at one point, which was wrong, but he wasn’t doing it anymore because they had a child together and he wanted to be there for his family and would never leave them. He started to share the story of how this experience occurred. He went to get milk for the baby but the corner store didn’t have the kind she drank. He explained that he rode his bike to several other stores but they didn’t have the specific milk either. Then, his bike’s tire popped. Because, it took longer than expected to get the milk, the child’s mother started fussing and accused him of doing something else. She decided that she was going to leave his house with the baby but he begged her to stay upstairs because it was cold and wet. The child had just gotten over being sick and the girl’s mother had recently kicked her out of the house so she had nowhere to go. Since she left the house anyway, he paid an enormous amount of money to take a cab back to her with the two bottles of milk he had. He was getting out of the taxi cab with the two bottles of milk when we initially encountered them. He explained that their living situation was temporarily with his mom because she said they had one week to figure out where they were going to go and presented the NYC shelter system as their alternative.


This eighteen-year-old had a great deal of stress in his life and clearly had no positive male role models to help guide him on how to be a man, a boyfriend, a father and eventually a husband. No one had talked to him about the importance of keeping calm, learning how to effectively communicate his needs, wants, and desires, and that it was not okay to engage in physical altercations with his child’s mother. I looked deep into his eyes and asked him, “how can I help you? what do you want and need to do things better than how you are doing them now?” We were interrupted by the young woman yelling across the street for something. I sent my friend to talk to her to see what she needed so that I could continue to talk to him. He looked at me and said, “see how she is? She always starts and then when we fight she gets one of her family members to fight me in the streets. I’m tired of her family jumping me. I’m ready to kill the next person who touches me.” I try to keep him calm and keep him focused on me and our conversation but the young lady’s fiery darts and yelling continue to agitate him. I held him in place for a few seconds and he says “Ma’am, please let me go because after y’all have been so nice to me I don’t want to be disrespectful and have to push pass you.”


I knew that letting him go back across the street to the young woman would not help the situation so I pleaded with him to stay with me. He said that he was just giving her the baby’s milk and not going to start any problems. Since my friend was with the young girl and what he really wanted was for the girl and his daughter to stay with him, I knew he wouldn’t harm her. Several minutes after he gave his girlfriend the milk, I see the young lady grab for his face and they begin physical hitting each other. I yell to my friend to grab the baby from them and get her out of the middle of the mess. She doesn’t hear me clearly but continues to break them up. Once my friend calms them both, she asks them what they plan to do and where they plan to go to feed their child, who they had completely forgotten was still hungry and needed her milk and food. The young man said that his mother’s house was up the block and that they would go there. My friend made them promise to call her to let her know they had gotten in the house safely. They started walking to the mother’s house. We drove in the car behind them to physically see them walking into the building.


A few minutes later, my friend got a call from an unknown number; it was from the young lady’s phone. The voice on the other end asked, “who is this?” My friend explained who she was and that she had a program for teenage moms, that we stopped to assist the young man and lady on the street, and that we just wanted to ensure they reached the house safely. My friend politely asked who the other woman was. She replied, “I’m the boy’s mother. They’re okay, I have them,” as we still hear the young woman and man screaming at each other in the background. My friend asked the mother what the young man’s name was to refer to him. The woman replied, “that’s not important.” My friend politely thanked her for calling to ensure that they were safe.


As crazy as that encounter seemed, it has happened quite often to me and more so to my friend. Our youth are in trouble; they are in very emotionally, psychologically and physically traumatizing relationships. The ways in which they communicate to each other is very toxic and they constantly have their children amongst that same toxicity. We have very strong women role models in our community that readily step up to mentor our youth, female and male alike. But, I often ask myself, where are the men? Why are they not stepping up to mentor young men who are outside of the scope of their own children or relatives?

What saddened me by that encounter was that as I was thinking about which males in my community I could ask to mentor this young man, I couldn’t really think of one. The few that I thought about are either in other states or live within my community but are so stretched with their own lives, families, careers, and are already mentoring several folks that I’m not sure they would have the capacity to take on the responsibility of mentoring another young man right now. To be honest, I haven’t seen many of the other men mentor the young Black and Brown men in my community at all. Thus, I had to applaud my friend, De Lacy, for taking the time to pour into the young men in his spheres of influence in New Jersey.


My other friend continues to reach out to the young lady hoping to one day connect her to the teenage mom program that she oversees in the Bronx region. I’m praying that eventually there will be someone who will take the young man under their wings and show him how to be his greatest self.


Today, as we give thanks for strong, positive integrous male role models, I invite you to support the organization Cave of Abdullam Transformational Training Academy, a branch of The Yunion, Inc. (https://theyunion.org/catta/donate-catta/), which trains young men how to be leaders within their communities and the Power Mondays Male Mentoring Program, which is a five week summer program in the Family Support Organization of Union County (https://www.fso-union.org/) that mentors young men and prepares them for the work force.


Love Ya,


Have a Great Day of Thanks!

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