Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Coast Guard’

The Power of Focus

Posted by Thomas on November 26, 2011

My son finally got a chance to call home on Thanksgiving Day. I was extremely glad to hear his voice. He shared some challenges he faced during his first week in the U.S. Coast Guard boot camp and expressed he had refocused himself. 

His mention of focus got me thinking about how focus brings on clarity and clarity wrapped in action leads to the accomplishment of set goals. 

I am proud of him but not just because he’s in the military, more importantly, because he is not idle or aimless. At age 18 I was aimless with no real direction, he’s a few steps ahead of where I was at his age. He doesn’t like when I talk about him like this, he feels I’m giving him more credit than he deserves – but that’s what parents do. 

However, even the mention of refocusing energy and intentions to accomplish the task at hand (namely, completing boot camp successfully) alone is more than I could ever articulate at age 18. 


So, what about you? As a young adult were you able to competently express things like focus, intention, and goal-setting? My son’s focus I believe will empower him to complete boot camp strongly. 

I am looking forward to reading your stories about the power of focus. 



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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 »