Tag Archives: Mentor

Suicide is NOT the answer, option or choice!

First…

I’m not a doctor, psychologist or professional counselor of any type.

I’m just a man. Regardless of my success or failure in life I feel lucky and blessed to be able to live my life.

What I’m sharing is nothing trivial or easily dismissed. I try to speak to young boys of color but for this subject, I want to speak to anyone that is considering suicide.

I don’t care if you’re adopted, an orphan, poor, rich, on drugs, pregnant, failing in school, don’t know who your father is, don’t have any friends, smart, pretty, popular, funny looking, acne faced, disabled, deaf, blind, getting bullied, fat, overweight, lonely, or just confused, you have no reason to give up. When you give up, you give whatever was bothering you, victory. You let it win when you give up, and maybe right now, you’re feeling weak cause you’re thinking about it. Don’t think about it…take a nap, rest, and if you’re still thinking about it when you wake up, I guarantee that the problem won’t be as big as it was before you went to sleep. I’ll tell you why…because the more you suffer and overcome, the stronger you get. Whatever problem you thought was big is only going to get smaller. At the moment you get past this, you’ll feel stronger. You just have to get around, over, through this small problem. Sounds crazy I know, but stop focusing on the problem, stop focusing on the obstacles or hurdles…focus on your life and living and what you’re going to do with it.

I never talked about this, ever, to anyone, ever. It was such a brief thought I guess I want to block it out but it did happen.

At 13 years old, my imagination was limited. I came from an environment where I was the only black kid in my entire grade and now it was the opposite. I was living in Philly, I had just moved from New Jersey and wasn’t adapting well to an all black middle school.  I was nerdy and I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t cool or popular. I was funny looking, I talked proper, I didn’t have any cool tennis sneakers or clothes and was awkward around girls…and on top of that, I actually like playing tennis. Black kid, in the hood, nerdy, and could barely play basketball.

I considered giving up.

My mother’s boyfriend had a pistol and I thought about it. Not seriously thought about it but wondered what would happen. Then at that moment I realized that there was no way I would know what would happen afterwards because I wouldn’t be here…duh! I guess I was too nosey to give up, I wanted to know what would happen in this life of mine.

I had not experienced enough of life to understand how much fun life will be later. Yes there have been some challenges but those challenges make you appreciate life’s journey.

When I say I hadn’t experienced enough of life I mean I had not done the following…

Learned how to drive

Go away to college and be completely poor all through it until I graduated.

Went on a cruise with my uncles to the Caribbean

Fun cruise!

Fun cruise!

Uncles

Uncles

Met the bestest friends a man could have

MyBrothers

MyBrothers

Marched in the Million Man March

Golfed in Cancun, Mexico

I think I put in right in the gulf of Mexico

I think I put in right in the gulf of Mexico

Touched the Will Smith walk of fame, “Change the World”

Will Smith walk of fame

Will Smith walk of fame

Visited the Giddy House in Kingston Jamaica

The giddy house in Kingston Jamaica

The giddy house in Kingston Jamaica

Visited Rio!

Rio

Rio

Bought a house, then bought another house

1stHouse

Drove my mother to an outlet mall and said, “Happy Birthday ma, get what you want.”

Witnessed the happiest times with my favorite family members

BermudasBestTimes

BermudasBestTimes

Became President of the DC Chapter of Concerned Black Men, Inc. and then the Vice Chairman of the National Organization.

Vice Chairman

Vice Chairman

Skied down a black diamond course on a mountain.

Crazy but fun

Crazy but fun

Stayed in Bermuda at the Premiers house and partied with him and his wife on New Years

Wow!

Wow!

Learned how to sign language…well

Witnessed the election of the first black President…

POTUS

POTUS

Who happens to be cool

Cool POTUS

Cool POTUS

Probably the craziest activity I’ve ever completed…

Zip lined over a rain forest from mountain top to mountain top in Puerto Rico(Horizontal Superman style), I looked really busted in this video…it was a crazy night salsa dancing in Old San Juan, think my teeth look bad too, who cares, that much wind in your face can’t allow you to look presentable.

 

Went to a baseball game

Go Phillies :o)

Go Phillies :o)

Rescued a dog …see picture!—>

Bought my favorite sports car

Feeling good

Feeling good

Treated my friend to a trip to Amsterdam

Amsterdam with Adrian and Doug

Amsterdam with Adrian and Doug

Yeehaaa!

Yeehaaa!

Raced a motorcycle 155 miles an hour

Bought a Range Rover…it’s old, but it still a Range Rover

RangeRover

RangeRover

Met, instructed and certified by one of the most experienced black scuba divers alive, Dr. A. Jose Jones.

Scuba dived to 95 feet, and pet a shark at a depth of 60 ft

Fun

Fun

Went to Vegas

Learned how to fence…sword fight!

Wrestled the 5 time sumo wrestling champion BYAMBA…kinda. He was seriously just playing with me.

TooMuchSake

TooMuchSake

Picked him UP!!

Picked him UP!!

He's still mad at me for picking him up...OWW!

He’s still mad at me for picking him up…OWW!

Held my newborn sister or my friends first-born son.

If it sounds like I’m bragging, I AM!

I could talk about myself all day and you would not be bored…my life is fun! I could not say this at 13 years old. I didn’t even know who I was, and you probably don’t know who or what you could become. You have your whole life to define who you are…get it wrong or right, you have time. Give yourself some time. This is my point, give yourself something to brag about, your life is just beginning why put an end to it because you are having a small problem. No matter WHAT your problems is…it’s small….tiny…itty bitty compared to what’s going to happen in your life. Let it happen, give it a chance.

I was able to experience so much happiness and see different parts of the world because I didn’t give up. It’s not about money, fame or wealth, those things are nice to have but it’s the experience of life. If you ask anyone just after a trip or an experience how much something cost, I bet you they may not be able to tell you, but I promise you that they will remember how they felt about it. I’m a product of North Philly and proud of it. That’s where I started but that’s not where I’ll finish. I didn’t look for the easy way out. I’m not saying that life is easy, but it gets easier. The harder you work the easier it becomes…trust me on that fact. I can’t even remember why I thought about killing myself, I was about 13 years old and whatever the reason was so meaningless to the massiveness of my life now, it’s like comparing a mountain of a life to a grain of sand of a problem. I honestly don’t remember who that person was or what was the issue…I don’t seriously.

Remember I started stating I’m just a man. That’s all I am…nothing perfect about me, I have debt, worries, anxiety and problems but I’m still living my life. Even with all my problems, I wouldn’t trade MY life for anything or anyone else’s life. I wouldn’t trade it for a bullet, a celebrity or any amount of money. I plan on making it better every step of the way. My best days are still ahead of me, marriage, and children are still to come. Your days are just beginning, you can do some many great things. I want you all to be BETTER than me and fill your life with so much more.

Your life’s journey is just beginning. PLEASE don’t consider stopping it before it gets started. Please comment or email if you’re having any problems…I will help you out of the space you’re in, you’re bigger than that space, get out of it.

MPM

“Faith is not about everything turning out OK… Faith is about being ‘OK’ no matter how things turn out.”

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What is a mentor?

men·tor
  [men-ter]
Noun a wise and trusted counselor or teacher, an influential senior sponsor or supporter
First, I shared the dictionary definition.
Now let me share my personal definition of the word mentor. There are various forms of mentoring and mentors but I want to give all of you a full end to end definition of the word. This is my version of the word mentor and how it’s helped me, so when I mention “my youth audience”, I’m talking about my young positive males that need mentoring the most and could possibly be the best mentors themselves. The definition above is the generic term, the more universally accepted term by all. When you see the template embodied…that’s the definition that you see.
A mentor could be anyone…it could be an uncle, a older cousin, a neighbor, corner store employee, the local bum on the street, the alcoholic, the weed-head…wait before you get crazy about the last three I mentioned…let’s go back to the definition. A “wise”, “trusted”, “teacher”, “influential” “senior” …the bum, alcoholic, and weed-head all have something you don’t have…experience. When I was coming up, the local alcoholic, Rodney, would make the neighborhood kids laugh but continuously deter us from any activity that led to his plight. He was the older harmless dude…but when “Bottle Rod”as we called him, would get his daily salve, he would dispense wisdom…sometimes in nuggets…sometimes in bolders.  There was a wisdom about alcohol that he had and I didn’t, but it wasn’t pretty and he didn’t make it pretty but those pebbles help me slide far enough away from the temptation to try a sip prematurely.  Similar to the weed-heads that befriended me because my mothers boyfriend sold nickel bags of weed, back when they were $5.00 in the yellow envelopes.  Yeah I was the younger wide-eyed naïve kid that was always peeping and watching, but these individuals were influential in decisions I would make later in my life. Decisions that would make or break my future…and yes…they came from the “trusted” alcoholics and weed-heads around the way. I had a close family member that was a “functioning alcoholic”. I’m just now coming to terms with that. She always had wisdom, plenty of it, just that when the alcoholic wisdom was in your face and “figuratively” made your nose bleed from the brutal honesty it was something you didn’t forget in short time. Her lessons hit deep and hard, but those lessons applied in my life, allowed me to avoid some of her own pitfalls.  So anyone that has an experience that can share with you without wanting something or having an agenda…SHUT YOUR MOUTH and LISTEN.  When that wisdom is free unfiltered, unabridged….take it!  Don’t look down your nose at someone because they made a bad decision, they could possibly help you avoid making that same bad decision. Let’s be clear…these characters don’t always have the best intentions…so don’t go looking to have sit downs with the unsavory characters in the hood.  Similar to the man that’s dressed in a suit will always be trustworthy, that’s not true! Your new mentor may be just trying to align himself with you to get close to your mother. It’s not always the case, but be careful with any man that’s in a hurry to help you when your mother is around watching. I’m just saying be appreciative and open to receiving wisdom in every vessel.

Now, a mentor should be a person that guides, makes you better. He or she should be someone you look up to that your parent(s) also endorse. Any mentor can come along at any point in your life. He or she doesn’t have to be present or available just when you see them or when you’re under the age of 21.

I’m older but I still have social mentors that are in my community. For example, in 1996 when I started volunteering as a mentor with Concerned Black Men, Inc. (DC Chapter), I looked at Kelvin G. and Edward F. and David J. These three men were the examples that I needed to be the best mentor I could be. They all embodied a collective “perfect mentor” to me. So while I was mentoring youth, I was being mentored by these gentlemen. They were and still are the best examples of men that anyone could want.

I have professional mentors that are influential in my career. I have family mentors that I align with regarding family issues. For example, my uncle, Voshell R. Smith, “Rusty”, has always been my rock, my anchor but career wise, he’s admitted that I’ve surpassed him in a corporate career sense. He’s passed on so much wisdom about people that I still use his examples in every realm of my life. He is and always will be my go to person. Don’t assume a mentor has a place in only one aspect of your life. Use other peoples experiences as your guide, you don’t have to make the mistake again…or the same mistake someone else made.

This is your blog, your forum, ask any questions that may help us both grow as black successful men.

MPM

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Why “Middle Passage Mentor” ?

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.
Please enjoy this blog…follow me!
Shorne

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