This is a part one of four about my personal letter to my prince.
To My Seed,
You are the greatest gift that God could have blessed me with. One day you will become a king and write this to your son. I’m not going to give you a lecture but more of guidance in the process of manhood. I was given very little guidance from my father and I promised myself that my son would not have to go through the things I went through.
This letter is a blueprint and will provide insight into manhood. I’ve also included some obstacles you should avoid. The following are my mottos for a life well lived.
The Six Mottos:
1. Be Yourself and Love Yourself
2. Forgiveness is Essential
3. Take Care of Yourself
4. You are The Protector
5. Be Balanced, Be practical and Be realistic
6. Tell People You Love and Care for Them
Be Yourself and Love Yourself
For what’s money without hapiness?
Or hard times without the people you love
Though I’m not sure what’s ’bout to happen next
I asked for strength from the Lord up above
No such thing as a life that’s better than yours. No such thing, no such thing
– J.Cole from Love Yourz
I’m gonna make a change,
For once I’m my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right. I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways
– Michael Jackson from Man in the Mirror
These two songs have a special meaning that helped me through hard times at certain times in my life. Music and writing has been therapy for me over the last couple years.
When you look at yourself in the mirror always remember you are a young prince in training to become a king. In this world, you will have ups and downs like a roller coaster. People won’t like you and will hate you but keep your head held high. It’s sad to say, but family members and even the same people with the same color skin can be your worst enemy. No matter what someone may label you, call you a name or disrespect you – stay level-headed.
Honestly son, there have been nights I’ve cried myself to sleep after being talked about, bullied and being called a nigger. Racism is still alive and present and is hidden in many places. Eventually, it comes out and as a black man you must keep your composure. I was raised in the south and time after time I have witnessed blatant racism, racial profiling and derogatory racial slurs. I could have gone off on the white boy who called me a nigger and I could have whooped his butt, but I didn’t. I realized early on that the criminal justice system will be always be against the black man. Do your reading on the 13th Amendment to the constitution and mass imprisonment of African-American men.
I have internalized the racial things that have happened over the years. These incidences hurt, I won’t lie. I’ve been pulled over for no reason; I wasn’t breaking the law and it was humiliating, especially when the white cop has a certain level of authority because of his badge. It’s a shame, but the color of your skin has certain stereotypes and labels attached to it such as lazy, aggressive, dumb, incompetent, gangster and the list goes on. I’ve seen white people have these same characteristics but they use other words to cover it up and to mask the truth.
Son, don’t internalize your anger; find a way to release it in a positive way. Don’t let it eat at your soul. Seek out someone to talk about it with such as your father, mother, trusted friends, wise counsel or a therapist.
Forgiveness is Essential
Learn early on how to forgive hurt and the negative actions of others. Forgiveness is the biggest pill to swallow but it’s the best medicine for healing. There will be people who will hurt you but don’t harbor it or try to get back at them. It will change you for the worst. I battled with this for years with your grandfather.
“The Greatest pain a man will ever go through his life is the disconnection of a father when you know he’s living”- Ray Lewis.
I held on to those days of waiting in the parking lot of Hardee’s or looking in the crowd stand at my wrestling matches. He only showed up at my greatest accomplishments of graduating high school and college. I wondered where he was for years and why I had to go through life without him. I understand now that I had to go through that pain so that you “my seed” won’t go through the same cycle.
Sometimes I wish I could turn back the hands of time. I had to pray a prayer of forgiveness to accept the apology from my father that I may never get. I don’t hate my father, I just pray for him and I moved on with my life. Maybe one day we will have a conversation. Harboring the anger only takes root in your heart and causes you to become toxic. Boys don’t often make the transition into manhood because they never received a verbal affirmation from their father. They become grown men with a boy’s mentality of continuing to play games. I’m here to say that GOD is the only one that can fill the open void of a father and give you the affirmation that he is well pleased.
In the end, all the pain helped me to be a stronger man. My only wish is that young males don’t have to go through the things I had to go through. I hope my story of forgiveness helps you in some way. I’m just taking my greatest pain and making it one of my greatest victories.