BOOKS FOR DAD

18 March, 2017

RESURRECTING A LEGACY . . . SAVING OUR SONS


It was not supposed to be this way. Or so I thought. When I looked at the future, I saw myself working behind the scenes helping my mentor, L.T. Henry transform his vision of a world in which Men who were Fathers from all walks of life began working together, sharing information, supporting one another, and freely talking about issues directly and indirectly related to raising children — the village’s “heart soul’ — it’s bridge to the future. A classically trained jazz musician who performed briefly with The Philadelphia Orchestra; a former drummer for internationally acclaimed songstress and television and film actress Ms. Della Reese; author; photojournalist; and sales and success motivation trainer; L.T. Henry or “L.T.” as he was affectionately referred to by the souls whose lives he positively transformed, shared with me his vision for the world — IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. I was one of the many fortunate souls with whom L.T. shared his wisdom and invested his time and energy. He taught me how to “dance with life” . . . create options . . . step out on faith. Life was meant to be lived “on purpose” and with compassion. Life was about always seeking out the truth and being courageous enough to stand unflinchingly in your own truth. It is how I have tried to live my life during the past 18 years since L.T.’s death on 1 March 1999. I instinctively understood the importance of L.T.’s vision — IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOO®.

A few years before his death, he remarked to me: “Other Men have the same questions that I do. Men — particularly Men who are Fathers — will start talking to each other . . . sharing information . . . working together and supporting one another. I don’t know how it is going to happen, but I know it will happen.”


While I instinctively knew that L.T.’s vision was important, I did not know why. I had no idea that I would be left to do the work alone. Yet, I knew that I could not allow his vision to die with him. The past 18  years of my life have been spent resurrecting L.T.’s vision — IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® — and perpetuating his legacy, It was the least that I could do for a Man who had done so much for me.


On 15 October 1999, I stepped out on faith and launched the first issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. L.T.’s entry and sojourn in my life had completely changed my concepts about everything. His exit from my life would dramatically change the way I looked at the world once again. One month after the launch of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, I began receiving letters accompanied by essays and poems penned by Incarcerated Fathers. They asked if IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® would consider their submissions for publication. Their submissions were thought provoking, moving, and masterfully crafted. I published their literary works and sent a copy of the quarterly Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal to them at no charge. Weeks later, I would receive a letter from these gentlemen, thanking me for publishing their work and acknowledging receipt of a complimentary copy of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. But what they had to say next in their letters was, to say the least, jaw dropping, and would propel me on a journey to seek answers and solutions:


“ . . . I am 23 years old and I have been incarcerated since I was 16.”

“ … I am 35 years old and I have been incarcerated since I was 19.”


I was publishing the essays and poems of Incarcerated Men — the majority of whom were Fathers — from Maine to Hawaii — and they were all telling me the same story! It was incredulous that young men — Our Sons — who were 16 or 17 or 18 or 19 or 20 from Maine to Hawaii were being trotted off to prison and no one was talking about it. One day they are with their families or hanging out with friends, and the next day, these same souls are behind prison walls. Not seen. Not heard. Just gone. How could that many people get into so much trouble, disappear, and there be no discussion about it? No yelling and marching in the streets. More importantly, what was going on at home and in the schools and communities of these young men to cause them to slowly descend into the dark abyss of hopelessness, and emotional, psychological, and spiritual toxicity?


Magically, souls started showing up in my life who offered answers. A number of these souls had solutions.


So, why weren’t there mass demonstrations in the streets of our cities protesting the disappearance of Our Sons from our neighborhoods and families? I was told that the souls that these young men left behind were tired — too tired to yell and march. They were inundated with so many problems as they struggled to keep a roof over the heads of the remaining children in the household while they eked out a living to pay the rent or mortgage and put food on the table.


Okay, I could understand that. But, how is it that so many of Our Sons are getting into trouble? How does a soul get into that much trouble? It was a question I had to ask at the risk of being accused of “blaming the victim”.


Well, a plethora of answers came flooding in:


“It’s the educational system. It’s not a level playing field for boys. If a boy — who may have a high IQ — cannot read, has problems reading, or has problems expressing himself through the written word, he is immediately labeled as ‘dumb’, or ‘unteachable’ and carted off to a special education class. The number of prisons being built are based on the number of boys who cannot read or have difficulty reading when they are in the third grade. It is assumed that if they cannot read at that age, they will commit a crime that will land them in prison. Boys are disproportionately diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, placed on Ritalin or some other psychotropic medication, and characterized as behavior problems and ‘unteachable’ than their female counterparts.”


“Many of these young men come from fatherless homes. They feel abandoned. While mothers, on the whole, do a great job of raising their sons, it takes a man to teach a boy how to be a man — just like it takes a woman to teach a girl how to be a woman. These young men are lost and they are angry.”


“It’s the way some of them are being treated by their mothers who are angry at the men who fathered the children. They take out their frustrations on their sons. They yell and scream at their sons, verbally abuse them. Some mothers physically abuse their sons.”


The Universe decided to provide me with a graphic example of how and why Our Sons get into so much trouble and a glimpse of their journey from childhood to manhood. In February 2006, I along with my colleagues met with a mother who brought along her 2–1/2 year old son and her mother. We walked into a large empty office to conduct the meeting. I selected a chair in the back of the office along a wall — behind the mother, her son, and her mother. The young man was animated and playful. At some point, he decided he wanted affection from his mother. He crawled over to her chair, tugged gently at the sleeve of her jacket, and then laid his head on her knee. She responded by yelling at him: “Get off me! Get off me!” At the same time, she balled up the fist of her right hand. It appeared that she was preparing to punch him. The young man moved away from his mother. Five minutes later, he decided to attempt to gain affection from his mother. In full view of everyone at the meeting, the young woman — with one hand — grabbed the back of the red jacket the young man was wearing as she prepared to lift him up in the air. This mother was getting ready to “body slam” her own child. Instinctively, I got up from my seat, placed my pen and legal pad on the chair, and walked a few feet toward the child, who could not see me. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. I called out to the child: “Hi!” The sound of my voice forced the child to swiftly turn his body around in the direction of the sound of my voice. His swift movement created a powerful inertia that forced his mother to release her grasp from his jacket. Needless to say, the young man moved away from his mother. I watched him as he walked to a corner of the room far away from his mother and grandmother. He was now sitting on the floor motionless. The young man’s grandmother witnessed the incident. What did she say? She turned to her grandson and calmly remarked: “Your mother is going to get you!” She did not console this child. Nor did she chastise her daughter for her abusive behavior. As I looked at this young man, I could see what he had to endure behind closed doors at home and I could also see his future. Unless someone intervened, he was destined to become a very angry and violent young man who would probably not excel academically, drop out of school, not respect authority, self-medicate, and land in a correctional facility. But more importantly, what kind of Man would he evolve into? Would he evolve into a Man who worked at reaching his full potential and live his life “on purpose” — a spiritually grounded Man who empowers his community? After years of being on the receiving end of abuse from his Mother — his first female role model — would he be able to enter into a healthy relationship with a female — his future wife and the future mother of his children? Would he be a soul who loved unconditionally? Would he be loving and nurturing to his children? Or would he, himself, become an abuser and create chaos and havoc?


Although a decade has elapsed since I encountered this young man, I still think about him. The 9.56 million souls who are male and 14 years of age and younger who reside in our global village also occupy my thoughts. Academic underperformance, juvenile delinquency, truancy, the administration of psychotropic medications as a means of resolving behavioral problems perceived to be symptomatic of Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosed by educators and school administrators who are not licensed psychiatrists and psychologists, and rising incarceration, homicide, and suicide rates are issues that are not endemic to American boys and adolescent young males. As an example, boys and adolescent young males are underperforming academically in Australia, Samoa, Lesotho, and the United Kingdom. And suicide and homicide have become the second and third major cause of death among Our Sons, aged 16 through 19, in many of our global village’s industrialized nations.


So, how do we save Our Sons? How do we keep them from being “dumbed down” by an educational system that is not “boy-friendly”? How do we keep them alive, and out or prison?
We can start by telling Our Sons the truth about what really matters in life. There are only three things that the world really wants to know about them:



1. What do you know — how smart are you?

2. What do you have to offer — what skills and talents can you bring to the table?

3. Can you be trusted?


Of the three questions, the third question is the most important. Why? Because, believe it or not, the world really runs on trust.

 Our Sons seek affirmation and validation. They ask the proverbial question that all souls ask: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?” It is not a question that they articulate with words. Our Sons may seek out affirmation in the same manner as the two year old young man I encountered ten years ago. His mother responded by pushing him away and attempting to physically abuse him. That is not the message we should be sending to Our Sons. We should embrace Our Sons, counsel them, make them feel safe, and emphasize in word and deed how important they are to the family and the village.


We cannot leave the responsibility for educating Our Sons solely in the hands of educators and school administrators. We should introduce Our Sons to the world of literature when they are infants by reading to them from books as they fall off to sleep at night. Let’s not rely on Sesame Street or pre-school to introduce Our Sons to the alphabet, spelling, and the numerical system, Mothers and Fathers or older sisters and brothers or uncles and aunts should teach Our Sons how to write and spell and introduce them to the alphabet and numerical system when they are toddlers. If educators and school administrators will not set rising expectations for Our Sons, then parents and family members must. If Our Sons are not excelling in certain subjects, then let’s get them tutors. If the schools cannot and will not provide tutors, then surely, we can — and must — find tutors for them in our neighborhoods, our religious institutions, and business communities. We should establish a rapport with Our Sons’ teachers and the principal of their school. Attend scheduled parent and teachers meetings. We should be monitoring homework assignments and test scores. There should be an ongoing dialogue with Our Sons about their day at school. What did they learn? What are their favorite subjects? What subjects are they having problems with? How are they getting along with their classmates? We should also know who their friends are and their friends’ parents. Let them know that failure is not option and that they can come to us to discuss any problems they are experiencing in school or outside of school.


Let’s rethink how we are socializing Our Sons — the global village’s Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers. For the most part, Our Sons are being stifled psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally. Our Sons — like Our Daughters — emerge from the womb as “whole souls”. “Whole souls’ have a full range of emotions which are freely expressed. They laugh spontaneously when they are happy and cry when they are hungry, hurt, lonely or sad Yet, when Our Sons reach a certain age, they are not allowed to express their full range of emotions. Crying becomes an unpardonable sin. It is not “manly”. Many of Our Sons learn that no matter how much they are hurting — physically and emotionally — they cannot express their pain or ask for help to cope with feelings of abandonment, depression, and alienation. It is dangerous to ask and expect Our Sons to repress their emotions. Souls who repress their emotions either implode by self-medicating with food, drugs, alcohol or sex; slip into the deep dark abyss of depression, or commit suicide as a means of ending their painful struggle. Those souls who do not implode, explode by engaging in acts of violence which creates public safety issues and traumatizes the village. On the one hand we ask Our Sons to repress their emotions. Yet, when they mature into Men who “keep their emotions in check”, we accuse them of being detached and emotionally unavailable.


Does this make sense?


It is imperative that we create an environment that is conducive to Our Sons’ free expression of the full range of emotions they emerged from the womb with — an environment that does not call their manhood into question when they allow themselves to become vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. Now, let’s be clear. This is not about feminizing Boys and Men. It is about preventing them from imploding or exploding. It is about helping them reach their full potential. And as Men and Boys embrace their vulnerability and their full range of emotions, society must accordingly adjust its definition of masculinity.


Fathers play a very important role in the lives of Our Sons. Fathers offer Our Sons valuable life lessons about honor, sacrifice discipline, loyalty, and teamwork and prepare them for their future roles and responsibilities as Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers.. Our Sons’ relationship with their Fathers shape critical decisions they will make once they mature into adults — such as selecting a career and a wife who will become the mother of their children. Our Sons’ relationship with their Father will determine how they raise their own children. Boys and young adolescents who grow up without Fathers or Father Figures in the household are wounded psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is imperative that Mothers and Fathers who are estranged from one another, learn to cast their personal differences aside, and co-parent Our Sons. At the same time, Our Sons need to be given coping tools to deal with their feelings of abandonment and anger that is exacerbated by confusion about their future roles and responsibilities as husbands and fathers.


We must equip Our Sons with the emotional, psychological, and spiritual tools they will need to cope in a healthy manner with rejection and disappointment when Life “slaps them around”. Our Sons need to know that no one gets through Life without being “slapped around”. We must show them how to learn and recover from their mistakes, transform adversities into triumph, and create options. At the same time, we need to help create “real life options” for Our Sons by facilitating field trips to businesses and academic institutions and providing them with access to and internships at engineering firms, academic and medical institutions, law firms, broadcasting and communications organizations, and information technology companies which will lead to full-time employment. It is not enough to set rising expectations for Our Sons and encourage them to excel academically. We must give them something to aspire to.


Loving, mentoring, nurturing and saving Our Sons is an arduous task.


We cannot and must not give up on them.


06 March, 2017

CHILDREN'S CORNER RETURNS TO IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) COURTESY OF THE SOUTH AFRICA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY "TEACH US PEACE" CHILDREN'S LITERACY INITIATIVE


After a long hiatus, Children’s Corner returns courtesy of the South Africa International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative and its Chair, South African businessman and Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® Mr. Lethukuthula Nkomo.   The concept for Children’s Corner was created by a brilliant and courageous gentleman who was one of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R)’s staunchest supporters who preferred to remain anonymous.  The gentleman in question passed away at the age of 96 on 24 May 2010.  During his lifetime he was the center of his family’s universe and worked tirelessly to strengthen and empower his family and the community in which he lived and worked.   He viewed children as the “heart and soul” of the village and believed that mentoring and nurturing the village’s “heart and soul” – its children – was a shared responsibility.  He took the position that providing children with a forum to express themselves contributed to their positive intellectual and psychological development.   Children’s Corner was his gift to the global village’s “heart and soul” --- its children.  It is a gift that defines his legacy --- a legacy that IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® continues to perpetuate with the help of so many souls.  

Three students who are enrolled in the Africa House College in Gauteng Province, Johannesburg, Africa and participated in the South Africa International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative -- Mr. Nhlanganso Tshabango and Mesdames Tanya Ndlovu and Sandile Tshuma  -- make their debut as Contributing Editors to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®.    Both the Initiative and Children’s Corner are providing Mr. Tshabango and Mesdames Ndlovu and Tshuma – the global village’s “Emerging Keepers of the Planet” -- with a cathartic and uncensored forum to bare their souls and voice the concerns and issues that tug at their heartstrings.  I must say, that these three talented young souls do not hold back!   In his thought-provoking essay, “Where Is He?” Mr. Tshabango calls for an end to the cycle of Fatherless families.  Ms. Tshuma plunges us down the deep dark abyss of violence and abuse in her essay, “A Letter From The Grave” in which she reminds the Adults of the World that it is never too late to stop violence, war, and poverty, and in her graphic poem, “Daddy, You Terminated Me!”   In “Why Kids Are Fatherless,” Ms. Ndlovu urges Men and Women to “rise up and take care of and control your responsibilities” while offering solutions that will help end Fatherlessness.

You will find Children's Corner in the March 2017 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) which is scheduled for release on 20 March 2017.

05 March, 2017

RESURRECTING A LEGACY . . . SAVING OUR SONS

It was not supposed to be this way. Or so I thought. When I looked at the future, I saw myself working behind the scenes helping my mentor, L.T. Henry, transform his vision of a world in which Men who were Fathers from all walks of life began working together, sharing information, supporting one another, and freely talking about issues directly and indirectly related to raising children – the village’s “heart soul’ – it’s bridge to the future. A classically trained jazz musician who performed briefly with The Philadelphia Orchestra; a former drummer for internationally acclaimed songstress and television and film actress Ms. Della Reese; author; photojournalist; and sales and success motivation trainer; L.T. Henry or “L.T.” as he was affectionately referred to by the souls whose lives he positively transformed, shared with me his vision for the world – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. I was one of those fortunate souls with whom L.T. shared his wisdom and invested his time and energy. He taught me how to “dance with life” . . . create options . . . step out on faith. Life was meant to be lived “on purpose” and with compassion. Life was about always seeking out the truth and being courageous enough to stand unflinchingly in your own truth. It is how I have tried to live my life during the past 17-1/2 years since L.T.’s death on 1 March 1999.


I instinctively understood the importance of L.T.’s vision – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOO®. A few years before his death, he remarked to me: “Other Men have the same questions that I do. Men – particularly Men who are Fathers – will start talking to each other . . . sharing information . . . working together and supporting one another. I don’t know how it is going to happen, but I know it will happen.” While I instinctively knew that L.T.’s vision was important, I did not know why. I had no idea that I would be left to do the work alone. Yet, I knew that I could not allow his vision to die with him.   The past 17-1/2 years of my life have been spent resurrecting L.T.’s vision – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® -- and perpetuating his legacy, It was the least that I could do for a Man who had done so much for me.


On 15 October 1999, I stepped out on faith and launched the first issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. L.T.’s entry and sojourn in my life had completely changed my concepts about everything. His exit from my life would dramatically change the way I looked at the world once again. One month after the launch of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, I began receiving letters accompanied by essays and poems penned by Incarcerated Fathers. They asked if IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® would consider their submissions for publication. Their submissions were thought provoking, moving, and masterfully crafted. I published their literary works and sent a copy of the quarterly Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal to them at no charge. Weeks later, I would receive a letter from these gentlemen, thanking me for publishing their work and acknowledging receipt of a complimentary copy of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. But what they had to say next in their letters was, to say the least, jaw dropping, and would propel me on a journey to seek answers and solutions:

“ . . . I am 23 years old and I have been incarcerated since I was 16.”

“ … I am 35 years old and I have been incarcerated since I was 19.”

I was publishing the essays and poems of Incarcerated Men – the majority of whom were Fathers – from Maine to Hawaii -- and they were all telling me the same story! It was incredulous that young men – Our Sons – who were 16 or 17 or 18 or 19 or 20 from Maine to Hawaii were being trotted off to prison and no one was talking about it. One day they are with their families or hanging out with friends, and the next day, these same souls are behind prison walls. Not seen. Not heard. Just gone. How could that many people get into so much trouble, disappear, and there be no discussion about it? No yelling and marching in the streets. More importantly, what was going on at home and in the schools and communities of these young men to cause them to slowly descend into the dark abyss of hopelessness, and emotional, psychological, and spiritual toxicity?

Magically, souls started showing up in my life who offered answers. A number of these souls had solutions.

So, why weren’t there mass demonstrations in the streets of our cities protesting the disappearance of Our Sons from our neighborhoods and families? I was told that the souls that these young men left behind were tired – too tired to yell and march. They were inundated with so many problems as they struggled to keep a roof over the heads of the remaining children in the household while they eked out a living to pay the rent or mortgage and put food on the table.

Okay, I could understand that. But, how is it that so many of Our Sons are getting into trouble? How does a soul get into that much trouble? It was a question I had to ask at the risk of being accused of “blaming the victim”. Well, a plethora of answers came flooding in:

“It’s the educational system. It’s not a level playing field for boys. If a boy – who may have a high IQ -- cannot read, has problems reading, or has problems expressing himself through the written word, he is immediately labeled as ‘dumb’, or ‘unteachable’ and carted off to a special education class. The number of prisons being built are based on the number of boys who cannot read or have difficulty reading when they are in the third grade. It is assumed that if they cannot read at that age, they will commit a crime that will land them in prison. Boys are disproportionately diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, placed on Ritalin or some other psychotropic medication, and characterized as behavior problems and ‘unteachable’ than their female counterparts.”

“Many of these young men come from fatherless homes. They feel abandoned. While mothers, on the whole, do a great job of raising their sons, it takes a man to teach a boy how to be a man – just like it takes a woman to teach a girl how to be a woman. These young men are lost and they are angry.”

“It’s the way some of them are being treated by their mothers who are angry at the men who fathered the children. They take out their frustrations on their sons. They yell and scream at their sons, verbally abuse them. Some mothers physically abuse their sons.”

The Universe decided to provide me with a graphic example of how and why Our Sons get into so much trouble and a glimpse of their journey from childhood to manhood. In February 2006, I along with my colleagues met with a mother who brought along her 2-1/2 year old son and her mother. We walked into a large empty office to conduct the meeting. I selected a chair in the back of the office along a wall – behind the mother, her son, and her mother. The young man was animated and playful. At some point, he decided he wanted affection from his mother. He crawled over to her chair, tugged gently at the sleeve of her jacket, and then laid his head on her knee. She responded by yelling at him: “Get off me! Get off me!” At the same time, she balled up the fist of her right hand. It appeared that she was preparing to punch him. The young man moved away from his mother. Five minutes later, he decided to attempt to gain affection from his mother. In full view of everyone at the meeting, the young woman – with one hand -- grabbed the back of the red jacket the young man was wearing as she prepared to lift him up in the air. This mother was getting ready to “body slam” her own child. Instinctively, I got up from my seat, placed my pen and legal pad on the chair, and walked a few feet toward the child, who could not see me. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. I called out to the child: “Hi!” The sound of my voice forced the child to swiftly turn his body around in the direction of the sound of my voice. His swift movement created a powerful inertia that forced his mother to release her grasp from his jacket. Needless to say, the young man moved away from his mother. I watched him as he walked to a corner of the room far away from his mother and grandmother. He was now sitting on the floor motionless. The young man’s grandmother witnessed the incident. What did she say? She turned to her grandson and calmly remarked: “Your mother is going to get you!” She did not console this child. Nor did she chastise her daughter for her abusive behavior. As I looked at this young man, I could see what he had to endure behind closed doors at home and I could also see his future. Unless someone intervened, he was destined to become a very angry and violent young man who would probably not excel academically, drop out of school, not respect authority, self-medicate, and land in a correctional facility. But more importantly, what kind of Man would he evolve into? Would he evolve into a Man who worked at reaching his full potential and live his life “on purpose” – a spiritually grounded Man who empowers his community? After years of being on the receiving end of abuse from his Mother – his first female role model – would he be able to enter into a healthy relationship with a female – his future wife and the future mother of his children? Would he be a soul who loved unconditionally? Would he be loving and nurturing to his children? Or would he, himself, become an abuser and create chaos and havoc?

Although a decade has elapsed since I encountered this young man, I still think about him. The 9.56 million souls who are male and 14 years of age and younger who reside in our global village also occupy my thoughts.

Academic underperformance, juvenile delinquency, truancy, the administration of psychotropic medications as a means of resolving behavioral problems perceived to be symptomatic of Attention Deficit Disorder diagnosed by educators and school administrators who are not licensed psychiatrists and psychologists, and rising incarceration, homicide, and suicide rates are issues that are not endemic to American boys and adolescent young males. As an example, boys and adolescent young males are underperforming academically in Australia, Samoa, Lesotho, and the United Kingdom. And suicide and homicide have become the second and third major cause of death among Our Sons, aged 16 through 19, in many of our global village’s industrialized nations.

So, how do we save Our Sons? How do we keep them from being “dumbed down” by an educational system that is not “boy-friendly”? How do we keep them alive, and out or prison?

We can start by telling Our Sons the truth about what really matters in life. There are only three things that the world really wants to know about them:

1. What do you know – how smart are you?
2. What do you have to offer – what skills and talents can you bring to the table?
3. Can you be trusted?

Of the three questions, the third question is the most important. Why? Because, believe it or not, the world really runs on trust. Our Sons seek affirmation and validation. They ask the proverbial question that all souls ask: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?” It is not a question that they articulate with words.

Our Sons may seek out affirmation in the same manner as the two year old young man I encountered ten years ago. His mother responded by pushing him away and attempting to physically abuse him. That is not the message we should be sending to Our Sons. We should embrace Our Sons, counsel them, make them feel safe, and emphasize in word and deed how important they are to the family and the village.

We cannot leave the responsibility for educating Our Sons solely in the hands of educators and school administrators. We should introduce Our Sons to the world of literature when they are infants by reading to them from books as they fall off to sleep at night. Let’s not rely on Sesame Street or pre-school to introduce Our Sons to the alphabet, spelling, and the numerical system, Mothers and Fathers or older sisters and brothers or uncles and aunts should teach Our Sons how to write and spell and introduce them to the alphabet and numerical system when they are toddlers. If educators and school administrators will not set rising expectations for Our Sons, then parents and family members must. If Our Sons are not excelling in certain subjects, then let’s get them tutors. If the schools cannot and will not provide tutors, then surely, we can – and must -- find tutors for them in our neighborhoods, our religious institutions, and business communities. We should establish a rapport with Our Sons’ teachers and the principal of their school. Attend scheduled parent and teachers meetings. We should be monitoring homework assignments and test scores. There should be an ongoing dialogue with Our Sons about their day at school. What did they learn? What are their favorite subjects? What subjects are they having problems with? How are they getting along with their classmates? We should also know who their friends are and their friends’ parents. Let them know that failure is not option and that they can come to us to discuss any problems they are experiencing in school or outside of school.

Let’s rethink how we are socializing Our Sons – the global village’s Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers. For the most part, Our Sons are being stifled psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally. Our Sons – like Our Daughters -- emerge from the womb as “whole souls”. “Whole souls’ have a full range of emotions which are freely expressed. They laugh spontaneously when they are happy and cry when they are hungry, hurt, lonely or sad Yet, when Our Sons reach a certain age, they are not allowed to express their full range of emotions. Crying becomes an unpardonable sin. It is not “manly”. Many of Our Sons learn that no matter how much they are hurting – physically and emotionally – they cannot express their pain or ask for help to cope with feelings of abandonment, depression, and alienation. It is dangerous to ask and expect Our Sons to repress their emotions. Souls who repress their emotions either implode by self-medicating with food, drugs, alcohol or sex; slip into the deep dark abyss of depression, or commit suicide as a means of ending their painful struggle. Those souls who do not implode, explode by engaging in acts of violence which creates public safety issues and traumatizes the village. On the one hand we ask Our Sons to repress their emotions. Yet, when they mature into Men who “keep their emotions in check”, we accuse them of being detached and emotionally unavailable. Does this make sense?

It is imperative that we create an environment that is conducive to Our Sons’ free expression of the full range of emotions they emerged from the womb with – an environment that does not call their manhood into question when they allow themselves to become vulnerable. Vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. Now, let’s be clear. This is not about feminizing Boys and Men. It is about preventing them from imploding or exploding. It is about helping them reach their full potential. And as Men and Boys embrace their vulnerability and their full range of emotions, society must accordingly adjust its definition of masculinity.

Fathers play a very important role in the lives of Our Sons. Fathers offer Our Sons valuable life lessons about honor, sacrifice discipline, loyalty, and teamwork and prepare them for their future roles and responsibilities as Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers.. Our Sons’ relationship with their Fathers shape critical decisions they will make once they mature into adults – such as selecting a career and a wife who will become the mother of their children. Our Sons’ relationship with their Father will determine how they raise their own children. Boys and young adolescents who grow up without Fathers or Father Figures in the household are wounded psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is imperative that Mothers and Fathers who are estranged from one another, learn to cast their personal differences aside, and co-parent Our Sons. At the same time, Our Sons need to be given coping tools to deal with their feelings of abandonment and anger that is exacerbated by confusion about their future roles and responsibilities as husbands and fathers..

We must equip Our Sons with the emotional, psychological, and spiritual tools they will need to cope in a healthy manner with rejection and disappointment when Life “slaps them around”. Our Sons need to know that no one gets through Life without being “slapped around”. We must show them how to learn and recover from their mistakes, transform adversities into triumph, and create options. At the same time, we need to help create “real life options” for Our Sons by facilitating field trips to businesses and academic institutions and providing them with access to and internships at engineering firms, academic and medical institutions, law firms, broadcasting and communications organizations, and information technology companies which will lead to full-time employment. It is not enough to set rising expectations for Our Sons and encourage them to excel academically. We must give them something to aspire to.

Loving, mentoring, nurturing and saving Our Sons is an arduous task.

We cannot and must not give up on them.

25 February, 2017

SOUTH AFRICA AND UNITED STATES COLLABORATE ON "TEACH US PEACE" CHILDREN'S LITERACY INITIATIVE UNDER BANNER OF INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY


Significant movement has occurred with the International Men's Day "Teach Us Peace" Initiative. 

The United States and the nation of South Africa have commenced a working relationship under the banner of International Men's Day as a result of South Africa's embrace of the  International Men's Day "Teach Us Peace" Children's Literacy Initiative. South African Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R), Mr. Lethukuthula Nkomo, serves as the Chair of the South Africa International Men's Day "Teach Us Peace" Children's Literacy Initiative.  Two schools --- Africa College House and Vine College -- have agreed to permit their students to participate in the initiative on a "pilot program" basis.  As a result of the collaboration between the United States and South Africa, essays and poems have been received from students at Africa College House in Gauteng Province in Johannesburg which facilitates classes for children in Grades 1 through 12.  These essays and poems will be published in the March 2017 issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R)'s Children's Corner segment and on the Children's Corner blog at http://buildingabridgetothefuture.blogspot.com.                 

19 February, 2017

A LOOK AT DR. H. JEAN WRIGHT II'S EMPOWERING LITERARY WORK -- "FIND STRENGTH IN YOUR STRUGGLE: DISCOVER THE MIRACLE IN YOU"




FIND STRENGTH IN YOUR STRUGGLE:  DISCOVER THE MIRACLE IN YOU
ISBN:  9781498430685
Author:  Dr. H. Jean Wright ii
Publisher:   Harris Author Services

               Many of the 7.5 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth live, work, and raise families in environments that are spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally toxic which serve as breeding grounds for  hopelessness, stress, mental illness, violence, and mass incarceration.    While many of us have access to phenomenal career and educational opportunities and witnessed great human achievements that our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents could only dream about, we are still struggling to provide for our families.  We find ourselves wallowing in hopelessness -- unable to build on the legacy of and sacrifices made by those who have gone before and build a bridge to the future for our children and our children’s children.   

Why are we so stressed out?  Why are our homes, work places, and communities psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally toxic?



            On page six of the Introduction for his book, “Find Strength In Your Struggle: Discover The Miracle In You,” Dr. H. Jean Wright II offers a few answers:


            “Most would agree that our society has been subjected to numerous negative events.  Our recent history is marked by many natural disasters, such as tsunamis, horrific earthquakes, and a myriad of man-made disasters, terrorist acts, wars, rumors of wars, and greed and mismanagement so extreme that not long ago, national and international financial markets and institutions were nearly brought to collapse.  Not surprisingly, people are succumbing to devastating and preventable human conditions, such as disease, starvation, and homelessness. . . . Individuals suffer the greatest of adverse physical psychological, emotional, and spiritual reactions to the chaos and confusion of trying to survive in a violent and troubled world, while facing the daily grind of a hectic life.”


At the same time, Dr. Wright informs us that we experience stress in “good times”, too.  As examples, he points to getting a new job and the pressure it brings to perform; moving our family to a new house in a new neighborhood; raising children, or traveling abroad for a vacation as sources of stress. 


            In “Find Strength In Your Struggle:  Discover The Miracle In You,” Dr. Wright takes aim at “spiritual depression” which can be described as a loss or lack of hope.  Wright whose professional training is in clinical and forensic psychology, explores spiritual depression in the family, the church, and in the individual and reminds us that “trials come with blessings”.


          “Find Strength In Your Struggle:  Discover The Miracle In You”, is an empowering blueprint crafted by Dr. Wright which connects the dots between spirituality, physical health, emotional well-being, and positive mental strength and resilience and moves the reader to “thrive” and not just “survive”!  A key “piece of the puzzle” to transforming our spiritually, psychologically, and emotional toxic global village into a nurturing and vibrant oasis, “Find Strength In Your Struggle:  Discover The Miracle In You,” which is available on Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/Find-Strength-Your-Struggle-Wright/dp/ 1498430686, is recommended reading for leaders and members of interfaith organizations, religious leaders, educators, school administrators, law enforcement professionals, legal professionals, business leaders, the general public, legislators, health care professionals and providers and social services professionals and providers.
















17 February, 2017

AFRICA HOUSE COLLEGE'S STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SOUTH AFRICA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY "TEACH US PEACE" CHILDREN'S LITERACY INITIATIVE


CONTACT:  



Mr. Lethukuthula Nkomo
Chair, South Africa International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Children’s Initiative
E-Mail:  nkomo.lethu@gmail.com    



        

            GAUTENG, JOHANNESBURG (SOUTH AFRICA) 17 February 2017 ---   Created to educate orphans and vulnerable children, Africa House College is committed to primarily contribute to the generation of balanced sustainable economy growth and its population and to promote prosperity for all citizens in South Africa.   It is a mission it accomplishes by educating South African children from the ages of 4 through 18.   Under the leadership of Mr. Lethukuthula Nkomo, Chair of the South Africa International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative, children enrolled at Africa House College will participate in the initiative.  Africa House College is the first educational institution to participate in the International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Initiative which is a global initiative created under the International Men’s Day Banner.       


           “Students at the Africa House School will be the first group of children in our global village to participate in the South Africa International Men’s Day ‘Teach Us Peace’ Children's Literacy Initiative.  South Africa is the first nation in our global village to participate in this global initiative which gives children – the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers -- a voice through the written word – essays and poems -- and at the same time provides children with an opportunity to hone their literacy skills.  When I look at the children of South Africa,  the children who attend the Africa House School, and children in other nations, I find myself asking, ‘What do these souls think about?  What do they care about?  What type of world do they want to live in when they mature into adults?,”  Mr. Nkomo remarked who is also a Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, a quarterly Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal which is published in the United States and distributed online in Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, Australia, and Europe.   


          Approximately 2.2 million of the 7.5 billion souls who occupy Planet Earth are children.  The key challenges of violence – physical and psychological, poverty, hunger, lack of access to adequate physical and mental health resources and support services, Fatherlessness, ethnic and religious intolerance, mass incarceration, an unlevel educational playing field, and illiteracy have a traumatizing impact upon these souls as they make their journey from childhood to adulthood.   Through the International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative, the Adults of the World will not only learn how these key challenges are negatively impacting these 2.2 million souls, but will also learn  from these 2.2 million souls – our children – how these key challenges should be addressed.   The International Men’s Day “Teach Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative gives our global village’s 2.2 million souls who are children a forum of their own to share their vision for the world through essays and poems which will be published in the CHILDREN’S CORNER segment of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®, a quarterly international Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Journal and on the CHILDREN’S CORNER blog at http://buildingabridgetothefuture. blogspot.com.              


          To learn more about the South Africa International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Initiative, contact its Chair, Mr. Lethukuthula Nkomo by sending an e-mail to: nkomo.lethu@gmail.com.               


          To learn more about the International Men’s Day “Teach Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative and how your child can participate, send and e-mail to: insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com or call 267-581-3963.

13 February, 2017

2017 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY: "CELEBRATING MEN AND BOYS IN ALL THEIR DIVERSITY"






P R E S S    R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



CONTACT:


TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO                                                  
Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D.                                         
Founder – International Men’s Day                                 
Chair, International Men’s Day Coordination Committee                                                                         
E-Mail: j_teelucksingh@yahoo.com


UNITED KINGDOM
Glen Poole – Coordinator
Member, International Men’s Day Coordination Committee
E-Mail:  glen@glenpoole.com


UNITED STATES                                                         
Diane A. Sears – Coordinator                                        
Member, International Men's Day Coordination Committee                                                                      
Chair, USA 2012-2022 International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan Committee
Chair, ,International Men’s Day “Teach Us Peace” Children’s Literacy Initiative                                               
E-Mail:  insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com


BOTSWANA
Geneuvive Twala - Coordinator
Member, International Men’s Day Coordination Committee
Chair, Botswana 2012-2022 International Ten Year Plan Committee                                                                    
E-Mail: giapaul2@yahoo.co.uk; imdbotswana@gmail.com


CANADA                                                                      
David Hatfield – Coordinator                                         
Member, International Men’s Coordination Committee                                                                             
E-Mail: yahivingman@gmail.com                                              


INDIA
Uma Kiranam
Member, International Men’s Coordination Committee
E-Mail: chaarumathi@icloud.com


ARGENTINA
Jorge Vila – Coordinator
Member, International Men’s Coordination  Committee
E-Mail:  dihargentina@gmail.com




CELEBRATING MEN AND BOYS IN ALL THEIR DIVERSITY:
2017 INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY

a
             TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – 13 February 2017 --  Approximately  3.6 billion souls of the 7.5 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth are males – Men and Boys  -- Homeless Men and Boys, Incarcerated Men, Married Men, Divorced Men, Single Men, Men who are Fathers, physically and mentally disabled Men and Boys, Men and Boys who live in poverty, Men and Boys who are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and agnostics, Men and Boys who are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, Men and Boys of diverse ethnicities and Men and Boys who speak different languages – French, Urdu, Spanish, English, Portugese, Swahili, Xhosa, Arabic, Gaelic, German, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi/Lahnda. The experiences of Men and Boys are as diverse as their age, levels of education, religion, ethnicity, language, and culture.    Diversity should evoke celebration and understanding.  In an effort to encourage individuals, institutions, and organizations throughout our global village to celebrate the diversity of Men and Boys, 2017 International Men’s Day will be observed under the theme, “Celebrating Men And Boys In All Their Diversity”.



            Global and Regional Coordinators for 2017 International Men’s Day are encouraging individuals, organizations, and institutions throughout our global village to engage in solutions-based dialogues that create pathways for designing, implementing, and supporting initiatives which recognize the diversity of Men and Boys – particularly their experiences which are shaped, in part, as an example, by socio-economic status, ethnic and religious bias, language, and culture.    “Celebrating Men And Boys In All Their Diversity” is a “Call To Action” for individuals, institutions, and organizations to innovate the manner in which they design and deliver resources and support services which speak to the unique needs and issues of Men and Boys which addresses their diversity and to refrain from utilizing an “one-size-fits-all” approach to creating tools for Men and Boys that help them empower themselves and strengthen the communities in which they live.  



          Inaugurated in Trinidad and Tobago on 19 November 1999 by Jerome Teelucksingh, Ph.D., a Gender Issues Thought Leader, humanitarian, faculty member in the History Department of the University of West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, a prolific author and poet, International Men’s Day celebrates and honors the contributions and sacrifices of Men -_ “everyday men”.  The worldwide observance shares a 48-hour partnership with Universal Children’s Day which is observed on 20th November of each year and is endorsed by the United Nations.  To date, over 80 nations observe International Men’s Day.



        International Men’s Day is a day of observance in which we place our focus on that which unites humanity giving everyone who wants to celebrate International Men’s Day the opportunity to help work towards our shared objectives which we apply equally to men and boys irrespective of their age, ability, social background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, religious belief and relationship status.



Those objectives are:



·         To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.



·         To celebrate men’s positive contributions; to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment



·         To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual



·         To highlight discrimination against males; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law



·         To improve gender relations and promote gender equality



·         To create a safer, better world, where all people can grow and reach their full potential.



                    For further information about International Men’s Day, visit its website at www.imd-global.org or contact any of the Coordinators listed above.