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16 June, 2019

FATHERS . . A BROTHERHOOD OF MEN




   

             In many ways – and for many reasons – Fatherhood transcends the boundaries of geography, religion, culture, politics, language, ethnicity, and economics.    Of the 7.7 billion souls who occupy this space and place we know as Planet Earth, 3.8 billion of these souls are males and approximately 1 billion of these 3.8 billion souls are Fathers. 

          One billion souls – Fathers – who are old, young, poor, rich, homeless, incarcerated, wise, educated, uneducated, married, divorced, single, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Quakers, Buddhists, Muslims, and agnostics – have the same dreams, hopes, and fears for their children.  One billion souls – Fathers – who speak different languages -- French, Urdu, Spanish, English, Portugese, Swahili, Xhosa, Arabic, Gaelic, German, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, Bengali, and Punjabi/Lahnda.  Yet, an invisible thread connects each of these 1 billion souls.  

          The 2.2 billion souls – Our Children – is the invisible thread connecting the world’s 1 billion souls who are Fathers to each other.  They are members of a brotherhood – a Brotherhood of Men who struggle quietly and unceremoniously to positively shape the minds and souls of Our Children – the “Emerging Keepers Of The Planet”.  As they experience the joys and challenges of positively shaping the minds and souls of Our Children, they quickly discover that a magic formula for parenting does not exist.  No one has come to them  and said:  “To become a successful parent and have happy, well-adjusted children, you need to do ‘x, y, and z’.”  


Each new day presents the 1 billion souls who are members of the Brotherhood of Men – Fathers – with new challenges.   So many questions flood their collective minds:


“Am I spending enough time with my child?”

“Am I a good parent?”

“Is my child receiving an adequate education?”

“What type of world will my child inherit?”

“How can I keep my child healthy and safe?”
          Children are a man’s “heart and soul”.  He will walk through fire, if that is what it takes for him to provide for and protect his child.  



          To the 1 billion Fathers – the Brotherhood of Men – who walk through fire every day to provide for, protect, and positively shape the minds and souls of the world’s 2.2 billion children – Our Children – the “Emerging Keepers Of The Planet”, the United States International Men’s Day Team(http:///www.usainternationalmensday.blogspot.com)  and IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® extends a heartfelt “Thank You!”  

          You are important.  You are valued.  You are loved.



Happy Father’s Day!





15 June, 2019

REMEMBERING A GREAT SOUL ON HIS BIRTHDAY . . .15 JUNE 2019


Great souls are always in our midst.  Fleetingly, we obliviously cross paths with them. Great souls are endowed with gifts, talents, and infinite wisdom which they selflessly and unceremoniously employ as tools to inspire . . .  teach . . . and transform.    
Today – 15 June 2019 – marks the birthday of one of our global village’s Great Souls – the late L.T. Henry – a visionary, photojournalist, author, Success Motivation and Sales Trainer,  and classically trained jazz musician who played briefly with The Philadelphia Orchestra and former drummer for internationally acclaimed songstress and film and television actress the late Della Reese.   “L.T.” -- as he was affectionately referred to by the souls who knew him, loved him, were mentored by him, and the chosen few who were members of his trusted inner circle – lived his life “on purpose”,  fearlessly searched for the truth, and in his own unique way – tirelessly fought against injustice.    During his lifetime, “L.T.” used his infinite wisdom and phenomenal gifts and talents to positively transform lives by imparting empowering life lessons.  He inspired the souls who were fortunate to come within his orbit as he nudged them to seek the truth, fight against injustice, and embrace their divine purpose.     And he was a man with a vision.  
"L.T." envisioned a world in which Men would transcend the boundaries of geography, language, politics, ethnicity, religion, culture, economics, and class and work together to address and resolve the key challenges which made it extremely difficult for them to positively shape the minds and souls of Our Children; move their families forward; and strengthen and  empower the communities in which they live and work.   His work to develop his vision -- IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®  -- was cut short by an untimely death.  Yet, his vision – IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® -- continues to be resurrected and has become his legacy.   The world that “L.T.” envisioned has taken shape.   
Happy Birthday “L.T.”!





10 June, 2019

USA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM ENDORSES MEN'S ISSUES THOUGHT LEADER, LIFE COACH, ENTREPRENEUR, AND AUTHOR MR. MICHAEL TAYLOR'S LAUNCH OF "SHATTER THE STEREOTYPES" MOVEMENT WITH 11 JULY 2019 - 7:30 P.M. (C.S.T.) WEBINAR




STAFFORD, TX (USA) -- Each new day presents the 3.8 million souls who are males throughout our global village with the challenge of transcending the negative stereotypical images portrayed about them by  main stream newspapers and magazines; television news programs and situation comedies; and music videos.   Negative male stereotyping has a marginalizing impact on Men. It is an all too familiar scenario for Men of Color.    Heralded as the “irrepressible optimist with a passion for the impossible” and by Business Innovator Magazine (https://business innovatormagazine.com) as  the leading coach for Black Men, Mr. Michael Taylor has created an antidote for negative male stereotyping for Men of Color.   An author, Men’s Issues Thought Leader, entrepreneur, life coach, motivational speaker, and radio and television cable talk show host, Mr. Taylor is launching the “Shatter The Stereotypes” Movement through a webinar on Thursday, 11 July 2019 beginning at 7:30 P.M. (C.S.T.) which is endorsed by the United States International Men’s Day Team (http://www.usainternationalmensday. blogspot.com).

           The launch of the “Shatter The Stereotypes” Movement is tailored on a groundbreaking book, “Shattering Black Male Stereotypes:  Eradicating The 10 Most Destructive Media Generated Myths About Black Men” (www.barnesannoble.com) authored by Mr. Taylor  and takes the form of a dynamic solutions-based webinar, “Shatter The Stereotypes: Empowering Men Of Color To Live Extraordinary Lives”.  Mr. Taylor, who also serves as the Texas (USA) Regional Coordinator for International Men’s Day (http://www.usainternationalmens day.blogspot.com), will be joined on the webinar by Messrs. Brandon Alexander, Founder and CEO of New Age Gents (www.new agegents.com);  Jewel Love, MA, LMFT, CEO of Black Men Executive (https://blackexecutive men.com), psychotherapist, and counselor; and Mr. Ernest Patterson, MS LCDC, a clinician at the Lovett Center (https://thelovettcenter.com), and a member of The ManKind Project (https://mankindproject.org) where he is a Full Leader.

            “Mr. Taylor’s  launch of the ‘Shatter The Stereotypes’ Movement and facilitation of the solutions-based ‘Shatter The Stereotypes -- Empowering Men Of Color To Live Extraordinary Lives’ is in alignment with the United States International Men’s Day Team’s call for the creation and implementation of solutions-based  initiatives and platforms which help Men successfully transcend the myriad of key challenges created by negative male stereotyping.  We applaud Messrs. Taylor Alexander, Love, and Patterson for collaboratively creating a blueprint for Men of Color to tap into and utilize  their gifts and talents – gifts and talents that all souls with whom we share Planet Earth will benefit from,” remarked  Diane A. Sears, the United States Coordinator for International Men’s Day.

            To learn more about and register for the “Shatter The Stereotypes – Empowering Men Of Color To Live Extraordinary Lives” webinar, please visit: www.shatteringblackmalestereotypes .com).

               





03 June, 2019

ILLUSIONS OF PROGRESS AND SUPERFICIAL DEVELOPMENT: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.






       There are various aspects in which boys and men have been overlooked when inequality is being quantified and measured in the Global South (developing countries). This is especially true in regions such as the Caribbean, India, Africa, and Latin America. The disparity among males and females is not a recent phenomenon but has been occurring since the 1960s. Biased policy discourses, directed by international organizations and governments, identified women as subjects facing inequality. To rectify this gender imbalance, these organizations and governments have allocated funding to programs and training sessions that target girls and women.  Thus, one of the major causes of the male marginalization is the focus on “correcting” gender inequality rather than promoting gender equality and gender equity. The unfortunate consequence is that by the end of the twentieth century, women in many developing countries had attained socio-economic advantages over men and boys who were now “invisible”.  Many women have benefitted from more educational opportunities due to the emphasis on education and this has contributed to increased social mobility. Unfortunately, this trend has resulted in a gender gap in which gender imbalance or reverse gender discrimination is accepted as the norm. Even at the international level, men are given a secondary status. Look at the United Nations -- there is UNWomen, but no similar arm or body known as UNMen.


The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) produced a short brochure entitled Monitoring PAHO’s Gender Equality Plan of Action 2009-2014. The focus is on the Caribbean and Latin America including Panama, Peru, Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia and Nicaragua.  On the first page of the brochure, there is mention that “the Americas is the region with the largest inequalities” and identified realities that still persist such as women living longer than men and the grim fact that men faced higher rates of mortality and premature deaths. One of the significant statements in the conclusion is, “…the greatest challenge to gender integration in health is political support.” Such factors as education, health, life expectancy, and social mobility have been used as indices to measure “progress” and “development”.  However, this is an illusion. If these identical indices are used to gauge progress among men, there are glaring inequalities. One of the great tragedies is that many do not appreciate the real meanings of “equity” and “equality”.



Policy makers regularly use statistics to sensitize the public on selected issues that affect women. For instance, there would be statistics and media publicity for breast cancer among Caribbean women. This would be coupled with screening and advice on early detection. On the contrary, there are no similar and updated statistics on prostate cancer, hypertension, or diabetes among Caribbean men. Is this a deliberate omission? Where is the health focus on men? Members of the media have a crucial role to educate the public on the many emotional, psychological, and health challenges facing our men and boys.

The issue becomes more complicated when one considers the flawed manner in which social scientists have sought to measure social inequality and economic disparity. Likewise, their proposed solutions have continuously proven to be ineffective in removing barriers and eliminating the gender gap. These academics have devised solutions within a political context which they have overlooked, or have been unwilling to deal with, ideologies and systems as capitalism, religion, and patriarchy which have perpetuated a considerable part of this historical inequality.



Unraveling this inequality narrative will reveal the historical bias which has the repercussion of creating a generation of marginalized, violent, and dysfunctional boys and men. Illustrations in the Global South include the absence of safe houses, shelters, and counselors for males who are wrongly perceived by many in society as strong, independent, and capable of survival. Not surprisingly, institutions exist for women and girls who are victims of domestic violence. The visualization of inequality occurs when boys and men are not considered as being vulnerable to depression or homelessness or victims of rape and domestic violence. Attempts at interventions and counter-measures to include boys and men in the inequality debate appear superficial and are often mocked.



Supporters and coordinators of International Men’s Day must be the watchdogs of any plan or policy of gender equality and gender equity. This is not a task restricted for policy makers of nongovernmental organizations. We must intervene and ensure that the gender gap is permanently closed and never reopened!


29 May, 2019

ARE YOU READY FOR ME WORLD?



The Adults of the World are charged with the responsibility of protecting, nurturing, and loving the 2.2 billion souls among us who are children – Our Children – the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers We invest energy and time into teaching Our Children powerful life lessons. Our Children instinctively know that Life is magical and full of possibilities. In their world, obstacles do not exist. They have an uncanny way of transforming the most mundane activity into an adventure. 

As a general rule, there is nothing eventful about food shopping. And that is the mindset I had when I recently embarked upon my weekend pilgrimage to the grocery store. The Universe thought otherwise, It arranged for me to cross paths with an extremely articulate, brilliant and bright-eyed four year old boy who would give me quite a lot to think about. The young lad was accompanied by a woman -- his grandmother -- who struck up a conversation with me as we waited in a very long line to pay for our groceries. 

“ . . . The village is gone in our communities. When you see children misbehaving, you cannot say anything to them because you are afraid that their parents will confront you. And children as young as seven and eight years old are out in the streets all hours of the night. I see them walking around at night – playing in the street,” she lamented.

 “Where are their parents?” I asked as she gave me an “Excuse-me-are-you-serious?” look. Now, I am not na├»ve. I have some idea about what is going on with their parents. But what I thought was not important here. I wanted to see things through her eyes.

 “It’s babies having babies out here. The parents are young and they let the children do what they want,” she explained. 

“Where are the grandparents?”
“Grandparents?! Huh?! You can’t tell these parents today how to raise their children. And that is why everything is out of control. It’s going to get worse. All you can do is pray. Well, we have an election coming up in a few days. Maybe we can get folks into office who can do something about this. What do you think?”

 “Change comes from the bottom up – at the grassroots level. The community will have to decide how it will solve its problems.” 

“This is my grandchild and his mother is very strict with him,” she said as she held the precocious four year old close to her. 

He glanced up at me as he engaged his grandmother in a conversation. The young lad was trying to persuade his grandmother to purchase a small toy he found in one of the aisles. She reminded him that he had more than enough toys at home and instructed him to return the toy to its location. Before following her instruction, he responded by demurely telling her: “But I need this.”

 I was struck by his advanced level of articulation. Most children who attempt to persuade an adult to acquiesce to their request, talk about what they “want”. The conversation is always about what they “want”. This young lad’s conversation was not about his “wants”, but about his “needs”  -- a conversation that immediately captured  my attention. As I looked at him, I silently mused: “I ‘need’? Now, where is that coming from? What four year old child says, I ‘need’? ”

 “Your grandson is very articulate and very bright. How old is he?” 

“Thank you. Yes, he is very smart. He is four years old and I am trying to get him into preschool. He reads a lot. He loves reading books.” 

And then glancing at me for a fleeting moment, the young lad repeatedly exclaimed half playfully and half seriously, as he raised both of his arms high in the air above his head: “Are you ready for me world?” 

“Oh, that’s just something he heard on television,” his grandmother explained to me. 

As the four year old’s Grandmother and I ended our conversation, I silently wondered: “Who is this child? What does he intuitively know about himself . . . the reason he is here on Planet Earth . . . his gifts and talents? Am I looking at a soul who is destined to have a positive and dramatic impact on the world when he matures into an adult?” 

Are all four year old little boys who exist in every corner of our global village asking: “Are you ready for me world?” Did this question occupy the mind of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and South African President the late Honorable Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela -- whose middle name “Rolihlahla” is a Xhosa name which means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but colloquially means “trouble maker” – when he was four years old? Did Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh, global spiritual leader, author, and fouinder of The Plum Village Tradition (https://plumvillage.org); the late Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, lawyer, politician, social activist, and leader of the Nationalist Movement against British Rule of India; the late Steve Jobs, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Apple; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and American Civil Rights Leader the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Ghanaian diplomat; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations the late Honorable Kofi Atta Annan ask – silently or aloud – at the age of four: “Are you ready for me world?” 

Is our world – in its present condition – ready for articulate, precocious, and bright four year old little boys who represent the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, and Fathers? These souls are looking at our world through the expansive lens of hopefulness and endless possibilities. They enthusiastically ask, “What if? Why not?” Can you imagine the powerfully positive impact these souls who are armed with a dynamic and fearless “What-if-why-not-are-you-ready-for-me-world” mindset will potentially have on a world that seems to operate from an “upside down” position?

FATHERS . . A BROTHERHOOD OF MEN

                   In many ways – and for many reasons – Fatherhood transcends the boundaries of geography, religion, culture, p...