Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Posts Tagged ‘future’

We Need More Civility and Kindness in Our World

Posted by Thomas on October 15, 2011

Before you continue:

This post has 308 words.

On average, it will take you less than 5 minutes to read.

I volunteer with a youth group called Leaders of Tomorrow. Our program year kick off is coming up. I mail out announcement letters to surrounding schools addressed to principals and counselors.

So I’m in the post office today folding and stuffing envelopes (after doing my mail-merge this morning). I am making a conscious effort to be more civil in my life, kinder, friendlier because I believe our world needs more of that positive energy. Some days I’m executing this effort like a champion sailing team leading the pack at a regatta; other days my introvert-self is driving.

Today, the sailing team captain was steering my ship so at the post office I said “hi” or “good morning” to nearly everyone within 3 feet.

Ms. Doris walks in and says “Oh, taking care of business I see”.

I respond “No, just sending off a mailer for the youth organization I volunteer with”.

That small, civil, kind, friendly exchange led to a 15 minute conversation. Ms. Doris has a passion for children and is concerned about their futures—she’s a school teacher.

I explained that Leaders of Tomorrow works with high school students that need a little extra motivation to become their best selves. That LOT exposes young people to business and industry leaders, enhances their public speaking skills, helps guide them as they prepare for college; we’ve conducted various workshops from anger management to etiquette to financial literacy. I’m glad to be connected with LOT.

When Ms. Doris learned I was mailing off over fifty letters she paid for the mailing.

Ms. Doris you are a benefit to our world! I’m glad we met today. Thank you for your kindness. May you keep impacting children’s lives and continue encouraging others that are doing the same.

Our world needs more civility and kindness. Let it start with you. Imagine…!


(See program year kick-off announcement here)


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Where Do I Fit in the Big Scheme?

Posted by Thomas on October 6, 2011

Before you continue:  

This post has 363 words. 

On average, it will take you less than 5 minutes to read.


Change is inevitable. Although we know this, it takes life events to make us know, see, and respect it. 

This year has been filled with deep personal changes. My mother-in-law, a close family member that lived with her and my grandmother died. My son graduated from high school. I achieved a special honor in my professional life. We just welcomed our newest grandchild into the family on Monday, AJ. 

Change is inevitable. Some we look forward to, some we try to avoid. 

In less than a month my son leaves for the U.S. Coast Guard—a huge change for him. He’s entering the next phase of his life—a space of greater self-reliance and accountability. He will be challenged in ways we haven’t discussed.


With this change (the next learning experience along his rites of passage journey) comes the question. A question everyone reading this has asked “Where do I fit in the big scheme of things?” I tell him he is better off at 18 years old than I was when I was that age. But, the question is the same. It is a scary question. All of us yearn for a deep sense of place, a deep sense of belonging, of mattering. 

In a recent conversation I asked him “As you move into this next stage of your life, what is your biggest concern?” 

His answer (simplified here) “Where I fit. How will being in the military jive with who I am as a person.”  

As parents, we do our best with the tools we have to raise our children to face the world. Our hope is simple; that we’ve given them enough to answer the big question. As much as we would like otherwise they MUST answer the “Where do I fit in the big scheme of things?” question for themselves. 

The journey to “know thy self…to thy own self be true” has truly now begun for my son. 

Change the World Answer the Question

Son I love you! I am proud of you! I’ve given you the best (and sometimes the worst) of me. Now, go change the world—answering the big question along the way! 


Posted in Black Boys, Mentorship, success, What is Manhood to You? | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »