In the last post entitled, “A Course in Hip-Hop: Part 2” I discussed how many of your young black men do not have role models or mentors in their lives that can assist them in navigating being black in America and how Hip-Hop and other types of mainstream media have become major staples in their lives and the results of it.
But, I realized something today. Not only do our young men not have proper role models that can guide them both spiritually and professionally, neither do many older black men.
Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with a good friend and we began discussing my plans for the big 3-0. (Yes, I admit I am almost 30.) And, later when I got home I began to think about my accomplishments both professionally and spiritually and I began to realize that I was coming up short on a great deal of goals I had created for myself when I was in high school and college.
I have some of the greatest friends that a man can have and so my first instinct was to do what I naturally do when thoughts parade around in my mind in utter chaos and pick up the phone to have a discussion about what are my next steps. Then, I realized that I promised myself I would not rely on my friends to give me advice, as I’ve done in the past, because I too often rely on their responses to decide what I should do with my life. And, by all means, my friends give great advice, but I realized that when I do this I compare my life to theirs or I end up feeling worse about my situation than I had before I called.
Then I began to make a critical analysis of my friends. First observation, all four of them are my age–give or take a year or two. And, wisdom comes with age and not to say they aren’t wise, but I felt like if I wanted to have a conversation about these types of situations in my life I should be calling someone older, more experienced, and more wise.
So, I picked up the phone…AND NOTHING. I realized that even I, a man who is about to enter a new decade in his life, did not have a mentor with whom I could discuss life issues, spirituality, sex and relationships, finance, etc.
And, by all means, I am a mama’s boy and with a mother who is a minister I know that I can always turn to my mother for advice, but sometimes you want to be able to speak to a man, a father figure, who understands your same experiences and whose been where you are. That was a hard pill to swallow when I thought about the number of young men, beyond college age or even in their forties or fifties who do not have other dependable black men with whom they can discuss their lives and get good advice.
And, the other thought that came to me was, if I do not have a mentor or father figure of sorts, how can I be an effective one to my students who truly depend on me to be their mentor or role model?
Tonight, a book became my mentor and I will admit the book the Creator led me to is very fulfilling and it was a great alternative to me speaking with someone else about my life because it made me have to dig within to answer my own questions, of course with the assistance of the Most High, but what happens when the book is not enough and you need testimonies of real experiences?
Seems we may need a program for all black men to provide leadership and mentorship for the improvement of our lives.
J. Prince, Princepality 12