A SUCCESS PRIMER FOR YOUNG BLACK MEN, PART 2
Show me a young man who has not learned how to show humility in victory and grace in defeat through athletic competition, and I will show you a young man who has a hole in his character because he has not experienced TRUE victory OR defeat at a personal level.
Two of the side effects of being successful are learning how to deal with failures and setbacks. Believe me, my young brothers, they WILL come—oftentimes at a point in your life where you have prepared the best you know how and you will come up short.
“A setback is a set-up for a comeback!”
This is a great saying to remember when you hit those times where you have given your best—and your best was not good enough to get the job done or cross the finish line in first place. Competition is NOT a dirty word, but a word to bring a young man into successful manhood. Competition is a part of life. We must compete for grades: for relationships and for jobs. That is why sports are an important part of growing up for young men. Not just with a controller on the couch. Sports are meant to teach teamwork, fair play, discipline, and an ability to follow the rules that apply to the sport in which you happen to be competing. The reason why the winning team and the losing team meet at mid-court (or mid-field) to shake hands after the completion of a game is to show sportsmanship and camaraderie; to be honorable on the field of competition. Let me add, honorable young men don’t ‘compete’ in women’s sports—period!
I will make it plain one more time: Show me a young man who has not learned how to show humility in victory and grace in defeat through athletic competition, and I will show you a young man who has a hole in his character because he has not experienced TRUE victory OR defeat at a personal level. He has been ‘shielded’ from real life. He has not grown, nor matured.
Now, having said all that I have been able to say about coming up short, or being defeated, let me also say that the SIN comes in when you wallow in your setback or defeat. Yes, getting defeated will sting for a while, but defeat—through honest competition, academic or otherwise—gives you a great blueprint for future self-education through reflection, preparation, anticipation, and pursuit of your goal. Just don’t fall for the social media ‘okey doke’ and stay mired in the pit of defeat for too long. Social media—as well as the ‘mainstream mess’ (MSM) likes to paint a negative picture of Black folk in general, and Black men in particular. Why? Because we are a THREAT! Because it sells advertising time and products. It also sells a lot of negativities towards young Black men, which tends to ‘shoehorn’ us into bad behavior because we have believed ‘the lies’ that have been told about us—even in the so-called ‘D.E.I.’ trick bag era.
Let’s move into the classroom for a moment. As one who has been blessed to have taught grades 6-12 in three urban school districts during my teaching career, as well as serving as an instructor at two Bible colleges, I have had my share of good and bad students of all races. What truly burns me is when I see a young Black man in my classroom who is either; 1) voluntarily unprepared (or underprepared), 2) a follower of other young Black men who would rather clown or ‘get down’ on their social media devices rather than their school books; 3) young Black men chided by their ignorant Black friends for believing that achievement and speaking well means that a Black male student is ‘trying to sound/be white’; 4) young Black men who use their parent(s) for cover when they fail in the classroom (“Oh, you are being ‘too hard’ on my baby”,) or, my personal favorite; 5) young Black men who blame their failures and shortcomings on “the White man doing them wrong.”
Contrary to conventional wisdom, young Black men can achieve academically IF they follow the examples laid down before them in their OWN history! There are MANY examples of successful and academic-achieving Black men from Black History who come to my mind.
I’ll mention two.
The two brothers I’m about to introduce you two were slaves who won their freedom, were solid, KJV Bible believing Christians, and did not ‘bail’ when the going got too tough. Their determination made solid progress for our people. Neither of them led a protest march but spoke their mind when it came to Black progress after the Civil War.
One of my heroes is George Washington Carver. Former slave. Black. Christian. Had an education background and a scientific genius that made Thomas Edison PERSONALLY ask him to come work for him. Carver turned Edison down with the following: “God is NOT through with me yet at Tuskegee.” Carver’s genius came up with a HOST of commercial uses with—of all things—the peanut!
Another one of my other heroes is Booker T. Washington. Former slave. Black. Christian. Had an education background and an academic genius that led him to build Tuskegee University brick by brick through trial and error. Had the ear of several presidents. Wrote a variety of books. Did NOT believe that a young Black man (or young Black woman) would be accepted in society unless they had a Christian foundation, a heart for the KJV Bible, and were willing to work and study and work some more to better themselves—and in turn, the life chances of the Black race would IMPROVE! Both men have written great books. I would suggest that any young brother who wants to succeed search out their written works. More to come.
Ramey Recommended Reading for the month: “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones of Success” by John C. Maxwell.
“At the bottom of education, at the bottom of politics, even at the bottom of religion itself, there must be for our race, as for all races, an economic foundation, economic prosperity, economic independence.” –Booker T. Washington
Mike Ramey is a Retired Minister, KJV Bible Teacher, syndicated columnist and Bible Prophecy Specialist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “The Quick Scan: A Success Primer For Young Black Men” is one of a variety of his columns appearing and abounding in print and cyberspace, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective since 1996. To drop him a line—or a whine—the address is still the same: email@example.com. ©2024 Barnstorm Communications International.