Friday, March 25, 2011

I Just Want To Say That You're A Good Man

It’s difficult to maintain a positive mood in such negative times. Yesterday afternoon I was headed back to work and drove right up on a fresh murder scene. I was blown away because it was so early in the day at busy area and across the street from a school. It was a sad situation. I had just left a meeting full of positive people and watched a young brother who I admire receive an award. When I did get back to work I found out another gentleman who I admire had a new and exciting position at City Hall. In one hour the two positive things were balanced by the worst possible thing. Such is life for a man like me in the city.

I know I am not alone in feeling the way I do. It’s like every day we are fighting an image problem. It feels we are being attacked by the cats who display their ignorance for the entire world to see without any shame and all the people who use their actions to lump us all together. I don’t think we have the time or the resources to stop either one of those things from happening so the only thing we can do is make sure that we keep one another afloat. Whether it’s the college educated professional or one of the delivery men at my office building, my brothers need to know that they have value.

I try my best to give my brothers encouragement. When I am around a man that is trying to do something positive I let them know that they are good men. I tell them to keep moving forward. I try to explain all the things I did wrong and the bad choices I made so they won’t make them. There are a lot of ladies out here raising boys on their own. When I meet their sons and their heads are on straight I let their moms know that she is raising a good young man, to keep up the good work and call me if he’s going through something that requires a man’s perspective to help him with. There are plenty of impressive young men in our community but they don't get enough attention because our failures make better news stories.

Mutual admiration for one another is important. There are some things that should be routine like spending time with your kids and getting your education that should be so routine that men shouldn’t expect or receive any praise for. I would love to be at that stage in our community. I think one of the main issues we have is that we don't do enough to recognize the good things men do but the guys that do and say the wrong things get so much attention that it became popular and cool. Now we just keep trying to legitimize destructive behavior and it's not working. Since each day is a constant barrage of negative images and subliminal messages suggesting how cool it is to be ignorant, patting one another on the back for encouragement seems perfectly fine to me. Appreciation has a lot of value when you are trying to kill a destructive culture.

If you know a good dude shake his hand and let him know.


Book said...

I respect that.

K. said...

I check in for the first time in a month and the guy makes me cry. Cliff, you are a good man -- you fight the good fight in the face of discouragement. No one can ask more of himself than that.

"...the only thing we can do is make sure that we keep one another afloat..." This speaks to all of us, including those of us outside of your community. In this world we've made, fewer and fewer people believe that they have value. But instead of keeping each other afloat, some people look to devalue others even more than themselves.