Today, all day, my Granddaddy’s memory weighed heavy on my spirit overwhelming me with the greatness of his manhood. He was without question the greatest man I have ever known. He taught me lifelong and lasting lessons.
I was not unlike many African Americans who have been touched by the consequences or aftermath of not having my real father in my life. My father abandoned me while in my teenage mother’s worm. I did not meet him until I was about ten years-old and have only been in his presence for maybe two hours in my entire life.
It was my Granddaddy who provided the foundation for me to navigate the troubled waters of life. This man, the most prominent male figure in my life, gave of himself for the benefit of others; raising children, empowering the community, and being a man of dignity. So I believe, it may not or does not have to be your man but there has to be a man present in the lives of these children, particularly a male child. You see you have to see a man to be a man. Through my grandfather the home was held together and the community was greater though the empowerment of the minds of young boys who would grow into manhood.
Images are and have been projected of black men falsely, most often, glorifying their role in society as thugs, gangstas, criminals, buffoons, clowns, and being worthless. When you open your newspaper or watch TV that is how we are represented. This hopelessness has permeated far too long. I profess that this assassination of character should now be removed or at least diminished.
The absence of the strong responsible black man holding it down, in the family and community, is destroying us as a people. Having said that, the purpose we live is to continue the species. I was taught a very significant lesson early in life, and reinforced every day of my life, by my Grandfather who said, “I raised you to be a man and as a man you don’t know what you might have to do but when the time comes you do it”. We don’t know what challenges are ahead of us. Therefore, my interpretation of that daily message was preparation plus opportunity equals SUCCESS and that the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he learns.
These platitudes are essential to the survival of our children and, frankly, our existence. There needs to be a man in the lives of these boys, and girls, because a father’s roll is to be an example, a role model, to guide, direct, and pass on the wisdom he’s gained. For example, how can you expect your little girl to chose a man if she has no model to base a relationship on?
Ladies please stop thinking that you can make your boy a man – you can’t. You can raise, teach and nurture him – but you cannot make him a man because you are not one. Now, if are holding it down, I applaud you, I know what that enormous job is like – my mother did it and I was no walk in the park. If it had not been for Granddaddy I would be lost – dead or in jail.
I miss you “Pop’s” and in his memory do something to make the world better. Mentor someone and by all means Black Men – Stand Up and claim your rightful place. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…