For My African American Son; From a Mother's Perspective
Follow your conscience not your color. Life will be full of debates, issues, injustices, triumphs and trials but do your best to assess situations according to content of character and not color of skin. There are bad people, good people, courageous people and cowards. Always strive to be vigilant in knowing the difference. Being black should not grant an automatic status of guilty neither does it reward an innocent pass because of worldly race relations. Be fair in your judgment realizing that true justice should always be blind, colorless and factual.
Be content to, at times, not fit in with the status quo. You will undoubtedly be stereotyped and placed in the box of narrow-minds however; your definition of YOU outweighs the perception of where you came from, who you are and what you can achieve and obtain in life. The cliché that "it's not what they call you but what you answer to" is still true and believing those words, will greatly benefit your ever-winding road to success. The way you articulate, grooming and behavior will usually determine chance, opportunity and labels attached to you. Be true to the definition you give yourself.
Allow yourself to be taught not only by the wisdom of others but by the experiences of others. It is said that "only a fool does not learn from their mistakes" but I believe that tis a greater fool that refuses to learn from the mistakes of others. Yes, it is true that parents don't know everything and they make mistakes. While it is my belief that some burdens and crosses you must bear to be strengthened in your life, it is my prayer that my known weaknesses and struggles will increase your confidence to face adversity, silence adversaries and pursue success.
Lust will battle love and constantly entice you but I hope that you will eventually outgrow the wants of a boy and engage the needs of a man. As you gain wisdom, you will find that sowing your oats is over-rated. The time, effort and energy you spend chasing "many" will be wasted and the void is never filled until you find that one that not only pleases your eyes but satisfies your heart. Remember, the fruit at the top of the tree requires more effort and it is better for you.
Knowing your heritage and history is important but learning from it gives you the privilege to "do better because you know better." There will be fact and fiction regarding founders, inventors and fore-fathers so take the time to research and forego the "negroe bandwagon." Being a black man at times may hinder or help you but never permit it to be a reason to be slack, slick nor stagnant in your pursuit of happiness.
Although I cannot teach you how to be a man, I can tell you about the qualities, habits and characteristics of some really great men in my life with hopes of assisting your road to manhood journey. In my opinion, extraordinary men are God made, self-made and village raised. Embrace correction, defy criticism, increase humility and avoid negativity to become a man of integrity, intellect and inspiration. Instead of "Man up" for ignorant causes, worldly societal pressures and ethnic foolery, become a "Man down" for your faith, family, genuine heritage and friends.
© Copyright 2015, Stone
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