Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fatherhood: The Gift/The Responsibility

It is 4:22pm, on November 23, 2014, I am patiently waiting at the airport for my son to land and check in so our week long bonding time can being. I have been excited for this opportunity since I began planning for it a couple of months ago, all of the headache and issues with getting him here up until this point has been well worth it.  Whether some of us want to admit it or not, fatherhood is the greatest gift one could receive in life! Just think about it, you get to see apart of you grow up and teach that part of you lessons you learned growing up in some small way you get to have a second chance at life.  They get to see life through your eyes and you get to do the same, it is your legacy, why would you not want to make sure it is secure, safe, successful.  With the gift of fatherhood,  you also must cognizant of the responsibility that comes with it. Help to lead the way for a better outcome or more advance outcome than your current situation,  I could never understand or would want to for that matter how can a man have a seed in this world and not take measures to ensure that their seed is successful! I am not saying that if your seed makes conscious mistakes you should be held accountable if they are of adult age, I am only stating that as men we have to make sure we make the proper provisions as to help make sure they do not stray and look at other avenues as the direction to head.

I can say, without any doubt, I love my son, with every fiber that God has placed in my mortal form, I would give my life for his, as my father would do the same for me, this is what the cycle of a legacy,  a positive legacy entails.  I was told, by what I considered to be a wise sage on the street who was homeless, that one day it will make sense.  As a kid I wondered what that meant or if the homeless guy was a bit crazy, but as I get older I can see what he was trying to convey to my young mind,  and with that small amount of wisdom, I will impart it to my son, thus pushing on the cycle, that is my gift to my responsibility.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Measuring of A Man

       Sidney Poitier said it best in two quotes from his book, The Measure of a Man: Spiritual Autobiography, "A person doesn't have to change who he is to become better," and, "I am the me I choose to be." These two quotes have stood out for me because it sums up how a man should handle and carry himself.  An individual, especially a man, has to understand that they are who they want to be and a man should want to be the provider, the protector, the leader, and foundation of their world they have made for themselves.  A man has to know who they are before they bring others into the world they have made.  I never could understand how a man, who has decided to make the wrong choices, consistently, would want to bring others into that world chaos and instability. Life can not be treated as a game or something that you figure out later on when you get to an age you feel is one of maturity, a man should with guidance and help from other positive men, should have a plan of action and a plan for success as early as a teenager.  I am also not saying that success breeds the perfect man, that is not a reality, even though that man may have a successful career or make a lot of money, that still does not make him a man, it all falls in line with that man's actions. A man, a real man, has to use several areas of understanding, from wisdom (good wisdom) to humility to compassion in order to make judgement possible in every situation placed before them.

       I can only speak for myself, I am a man that wants to be measured on my actions in life not my accomplishments or amount of money I have in my account, it doesn't make me who I am, that only gives me a standing or position in the eyes of others in life and at the end of the day that doesn't make for a productive, purposeful life, knowing who God is and who you are or could be as a real man is truly the key.  I have witnessed so many men take the path of least resistance because life was "hard," but life will always have challenges, finding and figuring out how to properly manage and handle these challenges is the key to overcoming.  If your a man who is reading this I make this challenge to you, become more than what you are currently, do things that advance you overall and never become complacent because things seem stable, let your measure  as a man be one that is thought of in high regard.

Leave your comments and questions!

     

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"A Different World"-What television needs to place in the world today!

      Back in the mid 80's to early 90's there was a television show developed as a spin-off from The Cosby Show titled A Different World. The show revolved around the college experience at a  historically black college.  the show revolved around issues pertaining to being in college and what happens to some of the graduates after.  I bring this topic up today because it was the first show of it's kind to show how being a full and well rounded college student show look and act like and what goes on daily while away at school.  I can not see how the world has so quickly changed from having such a great program of its day into the garbage they overfill  television with  currently and call it entertainment.  The youth of today need to see there is another way of living beyond their current situation, and to top it off it is fun! I loved every minute of my undergraduate experience, from the classes, the lectures, the parties, the organizations, to joining Masonry, to meeting the young ladies! It was a WELL ROUNDED EXPERIENCE!!!! One can not just study all day, or party all day, one must position their self to be that well rounded student who can balance their life, because at  the end of  the day you will have to balance life until you  no longer walk this earth.

        I am a firm believer of all young individuals going to college, especially young men! They need to learn and understand how to be on their own at some point and become self reliant and capable so they can in turn be a well-rounded individual for themselves and for their own families, I am sure no woman will disagree with that statement.  I am tired of seeing young individuals want to portray all the negative aspects they see or hear in the media simply because they have been inundated  with what they perceive on television as "the real world." Just like the title of the show, that was a spin-off of The Cosby Show, suggests there is a different world, and it is indeed different than from where any one has come from.   My point centers around that if your situation is not great at the present moment, you want better, or just want to expand your knowledge base, what harm could come from attending college, even if for just one course?  And when i say attend I mean attend the traditional setting of college so you can stimulate all of your senses to the other side of the spectrum of what one may perceive as life.

       I have a son who presently is 8 years of age, and every time, and I mean EVERY TIME, I talk to him it is to ingrain in him that he will be attending college and I make him repeat that part of our conversation back to me and ask him to rely back to me as well why does he need to go to college, this should be apart of every man's daily discussion with their child/children, if you are truly wanting to see your off spring provided as well as afford an better opportunity in life.  I have yet to see ignorance or lack of understanding make successful individuals, rather the opposite.

Feel free to share comments or opinions!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tailored Suits: Every Man Should Have One!

I, at times, wonder why most people I work with or come into contact with ask the question, “Why are you wearing a suit? Do you have job interview?”  To me this question is a bit silly but I still respond, “Because I can.” Why is it that people think a suit should only be worn for a job interview and why is that?  I happen to like suits and I am a professional, so it is a win/win situation.  I think the stance on what is considered professional has been skewed for so long, we are willing to accept brown Dockers and some form of a collared shirt.  I like to have suits, especially tailored suits, if the cut is nice it makes you look more together and more presentable.

I have to admit, when I was younger I did not see the need to get a suit that was fitted or coordinate with the proper accessories and shoes. I thought back then one just needed a white shirt and black shoes and that was it. As I matured I saw the need to have the shirt, belt, shoes, cuff links, and suit match and flow in perfect unity in order to convey that you are a man of quality and with a bit of culture backing you, and you know what there is nothing wrong with being that way. Every man should have a suit, especially a tailored one, to me it signals the road to being a man and not staying in the mode of a boy.

 I would urge the young men out there who go for a baggy suit look with a French cuff two tone shirt that looks like it came off the rack of a local outlet, put some time and effort into making your suit fitted and match correctly, the ladies will be glad you did!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mentorship- Directing and Guiding For a Purpose.

I remember when i was a young kid growing up I used to look up to some of the older guys around (Mom did not know) who did not so good things except for the progression of themselves. At the time I did not know you needed to do for others more than yourself, I only saw that they had new clothes and the nicest ride at the time and I wanted those things as well to show off to people.  As I grew older and a bit more wiser, i understood that if you want to look up to someone, it should be someone of substance, someone of positive virtues that only wants others to see the right way to do things. My father was a great role model and still is, his advice has never been wrong and he also allowed me to grow into the man I was meant to be, not the one he wanted me to be.  My father also help with other young men in molding them, not because he had to but because he knew he was needed and he also wanted to. When I was an undergraduate in college I met a man who was in an administrative position for the campus I was attending at the time.  He was everything a young brother should want to strive to be, the young ladies adored him, he dressed professionally, and he had a position of importance.  What I appreciate about this individual is he saw something in me enough to take time and help with molding me into the man I am today, so I will always owe he a debt which I will pay by doing the same thing for another young man growing up needing a role model.  I have a young son, but that is not enough on my part to just mold him, he is my responsibility so that molding to me does not count, I will always mold and train my son in the ways of a young man that needs to be a driving force in society and make his mark. It is my job as a man to impart what knowledge I have to another young man who may be lost or needing the same guidance in order to progress.

 We live in a selfish world, were need for self out weighs the need to help others, we have turned being competitive into a way of life, and we need to get away from some of that thinking. It takes nothing to take some of your time and help another young man who is lost and needing a mentor who is about something guide them  to the path of success and make the way they live a good one.  I can not say I have not been blessed to receive such instruction because I have and in turn I need to give that instruction back to whoever so needs it or seeks it.  I see how young men follow older men who do negative things and do not care about the people who look up to them.  From rappers to some athletes they feel like they owe no one nothing, and to a point they do not, but again that falls back into selfish thinking, which is something society need to review and revise, this contributes to the problems of declining education and behavior issues, lack of positive mentorship.  Please leave your comments or opinions.


Monday, November 10, 2014

The Mis-Educated Young Black Male




       As an educator I am privy to observe several areas of education, from the implementation of certain curriculum designs to the actually execution and results of those designs.  One thing that remains constant in my time as an educator is the decline of black males wanting to advance beyond high school, if they accomplish that. It is are deeply embedded and thus difficult to remove the rationale some of the young black males have on life and how they will survive it as they get older. The basic things I hear range from being an athlete to being something in entertainment, I have even heard of some wanting to start their own business (and that is where the conversation stops).  The disservice comes in the form of not telling these young men that they have to take certain steps beyond running fast, making a good rap from memory, and just saying you want a “business”, we have to help them go beyond the juvenile thinking and not help flourish such notions of fantasy without accurate and precise plans of action attached to the back of them. I recall a book a read several years ago called The Mis-Education of the Negro. It is a book originally published in 1933 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson which hit a lot of points we still see today. If you control a person’s thinking you will not have to worry about them being a threat at all, if you tell them this is all they can and will be, then sooner or later they will have the programming to do whatever direction you point them in.  To me this is sad, as parents and people that claim to want to see these young black men progress further that their current station we need to help them by not sugar-coating everything we tell them or become content when they fine a remedial job and waste their talents for years. We need to take education and the concept of role modeling back to the point where we expected nothing but excellence in their academics and career choices.


 




        I usually have my students make fun of me for wearing suits, I also have colleagues that ask me why do I wear suits in the school environment, and for me it is very simple, if I want change I must be that agent of change and make the first steps, no matter how small, towards making an impression on our youth. When it is all said and done we are professionals in education and should carry ourselves as such and be the role models for the one who need it the most.  I enjoy being an educated, proper speaking, well dressed, and driven black male, there is nothing wrong with that.  I do not promote ignorance of stupidity, I cannot and will not tolerate it, and I just cannot. Even though I have heard several times in my life from teenagers as well as adults that it seems I want to engross myself into “white” culture, this is not the case but sad and disrespectful to me and other black males in my position.  It is not about talking “black” or being a certain way that will make others believe I am a black male, I WAS BORN A BLACK MALE! The education, the use of dictation, and the characteristics that make up me are just supplemental and to hear such nonsense from other black individuals really bothers me to a point.  Some may say I am taking this a bit over the top or whatever the case, but I am not, we need to make better decisions beyond watching reality television that promotes the negative aspects of our culture for ratings.  I remember seeing The Cobsy Show and A Different World, shows that showed the positive side of the black experience, but today you hear people say, “That is not real life.” Well I beg to differ, that can be real life because it is based off of real life experiences just like shows that depict drug dealers, gangsters, athletes, and convicts, it is just not glamorous enough.



       The U.S. Department of Education states that the national college graduation rate for black men is 33.1 percent compared with 44.8 percent for black women, with the total graduation rate at 57.3 percent for all students across the country, which begs the question why is that?  The reasoning is quite simple we allow our young black males to become programmed that getting a basic job is all they will need to do and they will be fine.  You will see more parents reward a black male student clothes, shoes, video games, and money just to show they are a cool parent or on some level boost the ego of the young black male because they are not doing well in school and are becoming behavior problems in class. Instead of rewarding them for bad behavior we need to instead train them for positive behavior, they are a reflection of us so they should reflect good things, not things that involve looking like the hardest person to walk around. I never can understand why some parents will allow their teenager to get tattoos across their necks, arms, and etc, but when it comes down to talking about them doing better academically and behavior wise they will blame the school system for not doing their job. The job starts at home! If you want a young black male to have the best education or opportunities for advancement in life, regulate how they carry themselves in public, help them to understand the academics and help them to be the young, educated, driven black males they were destined to be, the time for correctly educating black males is right now it is needed.  Feel free to leave comments or remarks.


 



Friday, November 7, 2014

Investing in DRIPs: Starting from somewhere instead of nowhere!



A DRIP, or Dividend Reinvestment Plan, is a pretty simple and good way to break into the investing world without having a whole lot of know how or expertise. With DRIPs you can learn how to invest while making a small portion of money, which if done correctly will grow over time.  Companies offer people with direct opportunities for current and new investors to join their programs with a small or even no initial investment at all, which is great for the novice investor want to get their feet wet. This is also a way to invest without paying brokerage fees for each transaction you make, when I first starting researching a big hindrance for me was the paying additional money to an outside source on my money.  With patience, and time, one just has to read up and learn how to invest in DRIPs in order to secure a more stable future for themselves and loved ones.

I was at the barber shop awhile back and heard a few young men talking about how they felt their master plan for saving money was going to keep them rich in the long run. From what I heard they were going to basically save up ten thousand dollars, buy a safe, then go to a backyard of a house they would have and dig a big hole.  In this hole they would place the safe in and then mix some concrete and pour it over the safe (security reasons) and let it harden. They would then come back in ten years and dig up ten thousand dollars, thus remaining rich for that cycle of their lives. Now being the person that I am I had to respond by telling them that the scenario they just described was the dumbest thing I have heard of, for that day. Of course we all laughed and about the story, but when I when I followed through with follow up questions, I began to realize these young men were serious, and what scared me the most was that they were in their mid-twenties with children! I bring up this story to say that we need to get into different realms and modes of thinking that are realistic and hold substantial value. We can all have a plan as the one I just described, but in the long run how effective is that plan? While they may have ten thousand dollars that was placed away and buried for ten years, there is another person who would have the same ten thousand dollars and actually plan for smart investing and within that same ten years’ time turned that into one hundred thousand dollars.  If these young men just simply planned and actually did some research into thing like DRIPs, they would understand that would secure a better future for themselves and their families.

We all have to learn to research the companies that interest use when investing or trying to invest on our own. It's always a practice to research about the business of the company that caught your interest, this also including reviewing the companies past performance with its stacks as well as looking at its future forecast. You always want to invest soundly and wisely in order to increase your money and keep a diversified portfolio. There are many websites you can research in order to see what best fits your personal situation, one website that I like is http://directinvesting.com/ , they give you everything you may be looking for as well as definitions to terms you may not be familiar with. It is time to seize opportunities for growth and prosperity, if you so desire to! Please feel free to leave comments or questions and I will be happy to respond!