When I look back on my life and evaluate the most unstable period, I immediately reflect on the age of 16 to about 21. This time, for me, was the most unfocused point of my life. Luckily, I had strong males around me involved in my upbringing… grandfathers, uncles, and positive friends that kept me grounded. I had and have very present visible valid definitions of masculinity in my life still to this day. Of course there were options outside of what I thought was right…drugs, crime, truancy, but my foundations were so thoroughly set, there was little to no consideration of those kind of activities. I would say I was blessed in that sense…now I’m a mentor/volunteer with the Concerned Black Men, Inc. (DC Chapter). I have been a volunteer for about twelve years since the first million man march. Experience has shown me that the society targets and mentors youth under the age of about 16. There’s a false assumption that all young men are prepared for adulthood exactly on their eighteenth birthday.
This period is the most critical in a young man’s life. Between 16 and 21 years old…you begin to face many of the major decisions in your life; your first relationships, becoming a tax payer, choosing a career, graduating, paying rent, going away to school or staying home, enlisting in the armed forces, saving for retirement…yes, YES…this is where it starts or at least it should. You also begin to inherit significant responsibilities as a male; driving, voting, beginning to provide for yourself and your family…even enforcement of the law is different for you as an adult now. So your decisions are weighted differently…and if you’re lucky your parents, or those persons responsible for rearing you, have given you the tools to begin to walk on these new paths to manhood. If you’re not so lucky, like a lot of us, you can easily slide into a recurring dilemma of squandering your future on one bad decision after another. It’s not to say that young women don’t have these challenges but our young men need guidance in disproportionate ratios. I want you to reinforce that foundation, avoid those pitfalls and find advice and encouragement about your future. Your life is just beginning and every decision from here on out will set you on a course to adulthood. My blog…excuse me…your blog is a space where you can ask for advice and get it…you can learn from my mistakes. So welcome to a place to help you navigate through this period in your life.
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