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13 November, 2012

THE PROMISE OF A NEW DAY


Our world, the global village that we know as Planet Earth, may not be perfect. But it is our home. It is where we live, work, love, play, shape the minds and souls of our children – the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers--, create and perpetuate legacies, struggle to overcome frailties, and fulfill our destiny. Some of us look at our global village and see a world that is upside down. If we really think that our world is upside down, then we are obliged not to “leave it like we found it.” Many of us have access to opportunities that our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents could only dream about. Against great odds, with great sacrifice, and under the most difficult set of circumstances, they raised families and in their own unique way, strengthened the communities in which they lived and worked. We stand on the shoulders of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great great grandparents who had so little, but gave so much. Yes, life is challenging. But, don’t we owe it to those who had so little and gave so much, to “step out on faith” and turn our “upside down” world, “right side” up? 

When I look at the world – our global village – I see hope, solutions, redemption, and the “Promise Of A New Day.” The challenges that confront us are really disguised opportunities. We are being moved to “Rethink! Rebuild! Renew!” The Universe is tweaking us to rethink how we can effectively protect the most vulnerable members of our community – our Elders and our babies and how we are raising the village’s boys and young men – Our Sons – and the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers.

 We are being moved to rebuild our neighborhoods and communities to provide our children – the village’s “heart and soul” and its “Promise Of A New Day” -- with a nurturing and safe environment that will help them mature into purpose-driven, spiritually grounded, productive, and successful adults. We are being moved to renew our commitment to our children’s positive intellectual, physical, and emotional development – particularly our boys and young men – some of whom are underachieving academically, dropping out of high school, misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and administered Ritalin or other psychotropic medications, warehoused in Special Education classes in our schools and placed on the fast track to prison, and have difficulty understanding and respecting property rights and the rights of individuals with whom they interact on a daily basis. At the same time, we must renew our commitment to aggressively and effectively addressing the unique health and parenting needs of Men

So, how can I be so hopeful in a world that is beset with a plethora of challenges? How is it that I see “The Promise Of A New Day”? The steady diet of discontent, mayhem, and “who-shot-John” stories dished out to us by newspapers, and radio and television news programs is not the whole story. There is more going on in the world. In over 60 nations, Men, women, institutions, and organizations are quietly working to create “The Promise Of A New Day” under the banner of 2012 International Men’s Day (www.international-mens-day.com) which will be observed on Monday, 19 November 2012 under the theme “Helping Men and Boys Live Longer, Happier, Healthier Lives.” International Men’s Day has forged a collaboration between two nations -- Botswana and the United States of America. Under the leadership of Geneuvive Twala, the Botswana Coordinator for 2012 International Men’s Day and Odetta Wright, the Virginia (USA) Regional Coordinator for 2012 International Men’s Day, the “Men Of Tomorrow” Rites of Passage Mentorship Program, a mentoring program for boys and young men established in 2011 in America, will be launched in Botswana on Monday, 19 November 2012 – 2012 International Men’s Day. The “Men of Tomorrow” Rites of Passage Mentorship Program is the vision of Bishop Gerald O. Glenn of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church (www.ndec.net) in Richmond, Virginia. It was launched on 2011 International Men’s Day – 19 November 2011 – in partnership with Mrs. Wright, who is also an actress, playwright, film producer, and co-founder of Father Figure Enterprises, LLC (www.fatherfigure.org). Wright is producing a documentary film that chronicles the implementation of the mentoring program in the United States. Elder Thomas Powell of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church is the mentoring program’s Coordinator. The program offers workshops and courses that include scholastic achievement, leadership, entrepreneurship, biblical studies, and public speaking. 

 In August 2012, Ms. Twala contacted Mrs. Wright and expressed an interest in implementing the mentoring program in Botswana. After weeks of communications through e-mail and telephone conferences between the two International Men’s Day Coordinators, on 29 September 2012, a press release was issued which announced the launching of the “Men Of Tomorrow” Rites of Passage mentoring program in Botswana on 2012 International Men’s Day On 30 October 2012, Mesdames Twala and Wright issued a joint public announcement concerning the launching of the mentoring program in Botswana on The Dad Show during a radio interview aired on Radio Station 88.7 FM (www.kazifm.org) in Austin, Texas which was conducted by Kenneth Thompson, the radio show’s host . 

 Now, there is more to this story. The boys and young men who participate in the “Men Of Tomorrow” Rites of Passage Mentorship Program in the United States and in Botswana will communicate with each other through letters and through a webcast. And talks are underway to bring the boys and young men participating in the mentorship program in Botswana to the United States in the Spring of 2013 where they will meet their American counterparts. The Botswana Coordinator for 2012 International Men’s Day is also launching a Literary Initiative in Botswana on 2012 International Men’s Day. Ms. Twala has extended an invitation to boys and young men who are enrolled in the mentorship program and to students in local schools in Gaborone, Botswana to participate in a writing competition. Winners of the writing competition will have their work published in future issues of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®! When reached for comment about the Literary Initiative, Ms. Twala had this to say:

 “I am extending an invitation to local schools in Botswana as well as the boys and young men who will be enrolled in the ‘Men of Tomorrow: Rites of Passage’ Mentorship Program that is also being launched on International Men’s Day to participate in a literary initiative which is a writing competition. The writing competition will have a number of topics that contestants can choose from. Each contestant will select one of the topics and write a poem or essay about it. All poems and essays will be reviewed by a panel and three of the best poems and essays will be selected from each school. The poems and essays selected from each school will be featured in the Children’s Corner section of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. The Literary Initiative will help us reach out to as many young men as possible in Botswana. This is a big step for our youth because Botswana, as a country, does not have many accomplished writers. This initiative has the potential to create a generation of accomplished writers. It also gives our youth a chance to participate in a global social course that can make a difference in their lives – socially, emotionally, and intellectually. We are so in need of change makers. For Botswana, International Men’s Day is the promise of a new day.” 

 I should add that you will also have an opportunity to read essays and poems crafted by boys and young men from America who are enrolled in the “Men Of Tomorrow” Rites of Passage Mentorship Program, conducted by the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Richmond, Virginia, in future issues of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®. 

But the story does not end there. On 12 October 2012, Ms. Twala unveiled a ten-year plan for International Men’s Day, known as the “2012-2022: International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan” in communications to Mrs. Wright, the Virginia (USA) Regional Coordinator for 2012 International Men’s Day and yours truly who also serves as the United States Coordinator for 2012 International Men’s Day. The nations of Botswana and the United States are working together to implement the ten-year plan in their respective countries. A team is already in place in the United States to promote and implement the “2012-2022: International Men’s Day Ten Year Plan”. Ms. Twala’s “ten year plan” will help create “The Promise Of A New Day” throughout our global village. Why? How? You’ll find some of the answers in Ms. Twala’s explanation: 

 “An alarming number of teenagers, especially boys, will not graduate on time, imperiling their chances to make a successful transition to adulthood. Only one in three adults can be considered healthy. We need to challenge our systems to create opportunities for a better life for everyone. We have five key challenges that we know boys struggle with. International Men’s Day should not only be an event, it should be a journey of change. We must, by 2022, as the International Men’s Day network, have at least: 

 ● Cut by half, the number of young boys who drop out of school. 
● Cut by half, the number of lower-income families that lack financial stability. 
● Increase by one-third, the number of boys and men who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors. 
● Decrease by one-third, the number of single parent families that are struggling to survive in our global village.” 

 Why should we work to reduce the number of boys who drop out of school and the number of low-income families that lack financial stability; decrease the number of single parent families that are struggling to survive in our global village; and increase the number of men and boys who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors? Because we are all connected to each other. When our children and our families do well, our neighborhoods, cities, states, and nations do well.

 Creating “The Promise Of A New Day” is a critical piece of the puzzle to turning an “upside down” world “right side up.”

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