Before I really get started, I want my brothers of all persuasions and races to know, you’ll all get something from this post, and those to follow. However, my target audience is my African American brothers, whom I feel could use a word from time to time. Please know, I too have needed a word to help me overcome obstacles on my journey of manhood, so I’m not pointing any fingers that have not already identified me. Over the years, I have been blessed with strong black men who have mentored, supported, encouraged, and even chastised me when needed. These interactions have been crucial to my becoming who I am. I love and appreciate those men who loved me enough to not only praise my successes, but also criticize my folly. So, as I begin this little series, please do not take this personally – unless you should, as I have in the past! There are two people who know everything about you, and the kind of person you really are: You, and God, and you can’t lie to either one. If this doesn’t apply to you, then consider being a mentor to other brothers who could use some support. Stretch out your hands in assistance, instead of pointing your fingers in destructive criticism. Let’s go!
BE Who You Are
I’m talking about knowing who you are in essence, the real you, the “you” who lives inside your body, and interacts with life on a daily basis. Most men don’t understand who they are, so they never realize, nor appreciate their power, or their potential. First and foremost you are a child of God, the literal offspring of the Divine Creator, whose holy DNA makes up your essence as a human being. You are made from God-material, and you are, in your core being just like your Father! The bible says you are created in His “image”, meaning you look like Him, because you ARE spirit just like Him. It also says you are created in His “likeness”, meaning you have the potential to BE like him as you engage life. In His image, you are “visibly” like God, and in His likeness, you are “viably” like God. You are full of so much power, and capable of so much greatness – yet many of us ignore this reality, and reduce the magnitude of what we could be, to a life of mediocrity, and “just getting by”. It’s time for you to not only “know” who you are, but to more importantly, “BE” who you are!
Accept the Truth
Black men have been stigmatized in negative ways… and it’s partially our fault! Our fault, because many of us have allowed the popular culture to define who we are as black men, and set the standards for our thinking, and behavior. Popular culture tells the young black man he needs to be “hard”, and that he has got to “get money” anyway he can. Now there is nothing wrong with a brother being a courageous man – sisters like that. There isn’t anything wrong with a brother seeking financial success – sisters like that too, but popular culture defines the “methods” by which these things are obtained, and it’s not always positive. Too many of our young black boys and men are crippled, in jail, or dead because of being “hard” and trying to “get money”. Brothers, we have to face the truth that pop-culture methods to success are dangerous, and sometimes deadly. We need a different approach to becoming successful, one that rewards us for our successes, and allows us to learn from our mistakes, without being jailed, or killed! It’s time to be “real”.
Just Be “Real”
When I think of being real, it is in terms of two guiding principles:
- Real in terms of perspective – how we think.
- Real in terms of authenticity – how we live.
One of the most powerful verses in the bible is Romans 12:2 – “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.“. God teaches us the key to discovering our greatness, and to aligning our lives with His purpose and will… Renewing our minds! Brothers, if we are going to be “real” men, we need to change our thinking, because our thoughts are the foundation of who we are. The verse goes on to imply, that how we live, is the “proof” of what is going on in our minds – our walk directly reflects our thinking, and reveals the true, and authentic person we are from the inside out! Now, if your life is not what you want it to be, or your direction is not taking you where you want to go, do not fear brothers, because each of us have the ability to remake who we are, simply by changing how we think. Changing how we think is how we redefine what makes us “real”, what makes us authentic. Change your thinking, and change your life!
There is nothing wrong with change. Change is evolutionary, and ushers us into new seasons of greatness as we transform into more powerful, and more capable men. What kind of man should we be? Why, “real” men of course! Real in terms of how we think, which demonstrates the power of our perspective. Real in terms of authenticity, which demonstrates our ability to live our lives with integrity, and purpose. Now forgive me if I get a little preachy here, but…
- Real men are not afraid to “think” before they speak words of hurt, or take actions that lead to regret.
- Real men respect themselves, think highly of themselves, educate themselves, evolve themselves.
- Real men maintain some measure of faith, and are not afraid to acknowledge, and honor God.
- Real men love their women, adore their women, cherish their women, provide for their women, listen to their women, and makes that woman his Queen!
- Real men are not just “fathers”, but they are “dads”. Any man can father a child, but a real man becomes that child’s parent, mentor, teacher, supporter, and role-model. This is what a dad really is.
- Real men will not settle for the mediocre, but always strives for the utmost best he can accomplish for himself, and his family.
- Real men have children who are proud to call them “dad”.
- Real men have a woman who thanks God every day that you were brought into her life.
Are you a real man? If so, find some other brother who could use your help, and offer to be a mentor and friend to him. Offer that brother a hand up, to help him evolve into the great King he is destined to be. Do you want to be a real man? If so, seek out someone you love and trust, and ask them to help you reach your potential in life.
Enough is enough, when it comes to our men not living up to our greatness. It’s for us step up to the challenge, and become real men!