Real Men Doing Real Work

L.I.F.E. PRINCIPLE # 4: Be a leader who associates with winners not losers.

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As a youngster, I became enthralled with the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And as I matriculated to and through college, I found myself making frequent visits to the John C. Hodges Library’s audio-visual department to watch, and re-watch, Eye on the Prize documentaries. To me, Dr. King was the ultimate leader – my hero – for he led a movement that laid the groundwork for Black Americans, and other persons of color, to gain equal rights and protections under the law.

Dr. King is the reason I decided to pursue degrees in Social Work. Like him, I wanted to help people help themselves. But as mobilizing forces seek to convince young people that their future is bleak, I’m calling on Real Men like yourselves to do more to help them become the kind of leaders that articulate more hopeful narratives about their futures. In the words of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, we must keep “hope alive” through our righteous words and deeds.

As a Huddle Group, you must show young people what it means to be leaders in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities. They must know that leadership in these arenas is not predicated on one’s racial/ethnic identity, or political party affiliation. It is based on doing the right thing relative to fairness, equity and justice.

What our young people must understand is they live in a country where citizens have inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. From these inalienable rights come values. At times, our self-righteousness as human beings causes us to impose our emerging values on individuals and groups that nurture. learn, work, lead and even pray differently than us. But we’re only right some of the time. For this reason, we, both the young and the old, have no right to tell other people how to live their lives. We can provide a gentle nudge, or two, but we should never get them to do our bidding through coercion. True leaders are quick to acknowledge this fact, opting instead to humbly work with like-minded people in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities to maintain bonds of peace, havens of tranquility.

Your Huddle Group should develop lesson plans that require young people to study the lives of leaders both past and present, from all racial/ethnic groups, both genders. After this study has been completed, they should be asked if they consider themselves to be leaders. The introverts will undoubtedly say no, the extroverts yes. But then you’ll have to reel them back in, asking follow-up questions about how they’re leading. Most will probably give you examples of how they’re leading positively. But when you dig a little deeper, they, and you, will discover they’re nowhere near being the righteous leaders we need them to be. Their lack of growth in this area should be attributed to their peer influences.

Believe it or not, the peer dynamics that we see in their world are driven by common goals, similar objectives. Achievers, young people who are living independently fearless and empowered, want to be successful by establishing educational and vocational foundations that allow them to maintain positive relationships while simultaneously imprinting their legacies on the society at large. The Slackers, on the other hand, have a difficult time envisioning their success, resulting from their preoccupation with the here rather than the there.

For this reason, they risk not graduating from high school and college to secure employment that pays a livable wage.

For this reason, they risk not developing marital relationships that withstand the test of time.

For this reason, they risk bearing children out of wedlock, thus robbing the born children of opportunities to bear witness to marriage done right.

Getting young people to embrace the leader within should be the primary objective of your Huddle Group’s efforts. My TRIO Upward Bound staff and I accomplished this by offering a series of life skills workshops (on Saturdays) that forced our scholars to get in touch with their selfless selves. They were then encouraged to become Servant Leaders by helping each other achieve the program’s B or better standard in all of their classes. While my staff and I went to great lengths to ensure our scholars were successful as individuals, I took more pride in letting our scholars know when the program’s collective GPA was B or better. The latter just meant that the vast majority of our scholars were handling their business in the classroom.

When I attended Body of Christ Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, I had the honor of serving as one of the co-chairs of the church’s Warriors Rites of Passage Program. This program was our Iron Man Ministry’s outreach to boys between the ages of 10 and 14, and our goal was to mold boys into men.

Through bi-weekly Saturday meetings – which lasted about two hours – we men shared our hearts for God and L.I.F.E., taking our young charges under our wings, and helping them develop a leadership mindset. Most of the boys we worked with didn’t know the first thing about being leaders. They were immature and undisciplined. But through our instruction and guidance, they seemingly gave more credence to the incessant tugging of their consciences, which told them to do right by themselves and others when they wanted to do wrong.

Visit any school in America, and you will hear school administrators and teachers talk about student involvement in service learning projects. When young people are involved in service learning projects, they learn invaluable lessons from the giving of their time, talent and treasure. Consequently, because learning is a lifelong process, it is important that your Huddle Group commit itself to developing Servant Leaders during constituent engagements. Your Huddle Group must convince them that leadership is the highest calling, and, consequently, they must adhere to a moral code governed by their love for God and neighbors.

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From Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner C.O.A.C.H. 
Part Two: Real Men Doing Real Work
Click here to purchase Part One only.
Copyright 2016 Jeffery A. Faulkerson.  All rights reserved.

Pursuing My Passion, Living My Dream

The photo to the left RMRC Cover Photois of my son and I making our way up to the ‪#‎HollywoodSign‬ in California about four years ago. This photo inspired me to write Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner COACH. I wrote this book for men who want to have transformative interactions with their children, and preserve the peace and prosperity that is supposed to be every child’s birthright.

Men, it is imperative that we stand in the gap for our wives (and children’s mothers) and children. Gone are the days when we fathers allow our self-worth to be measured by hefty paychecks. I should know.  Off and on, I have spent nine of my son’s 12 years being a stay-at-home dad.  But know this: I receive immense joy from watching him develop into an intelligent and selfless individual. Now don’t get me wrong; my child is still prone to bouts of selfishness.  But just like I don’t allow him to fail in school, I also will not allow him to develop the kind of defeatist mindset that denies him promotion and, moreover, prevents him from one day collaborating with others to establish a more fair, equitable and just society.

Real_Men_Raise_CHAMP_Cover_for_KindleI want to thank those individuals who have already purchased Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner COACH.  Without you, I would not be able to pursue my passion, live out my dream.  Your purchases increase my capacity to take my message to the streets.  And for those who have yet to purchase my seminal text, I say, “What are you waiting on?”  While it’s true I don’t know why so many fathers have detached themselves from their children, I do know transformative leaders like us are needed, so it’s time for the Real Men out there to stand up and be counted.

Please click here to PURCHASE ebook or paperback versions of my book.

Thank you for your support.

J. A. Faulkerson

Strategist | Author | Speaker

 

Heart of a Champion

20150425_214734Remember that first C I told you about?

Well, it wasn’t meant to be.

My son pulled it together on his final two Math assignments to turn that C into a low B.  As a result, he is now five for five when it comes to making his new school’s A-B Honor Roll.  Quite an accomplishment, don’t you think?  But as his father, his coach, I am reminded that there will be no rest for the weary anytime soon.

Anyone who has the audacity to call himself a Real Man must realize his job is never complete.  Yes, you may receive some respite every now and then, but during your child’s primary and secondary years, you have to be fully present to help your daughter or son develop the heart of a champion.  When a child has the heart of a champion, she or he is fully prepared to do what is necessary to put herself or himself in a position to win.  But the younger they are, the more prodding they require from us parents.

As I told you before, I had a difficult time increasing my son’s understanding of the budgeting process. Something that I thought was simple was complicated to him.  He failed initially because his Mathnasium tutors and I weren’t offering explanations that situated the content in his world.  That would have required me to use the income that he receives from me for earning A’s to explain the process.  Because I didn’t do that, and his Mathnasium tutors didn’t know I paid him for A grades, I allowed a golden opportunity to offer practical life skills training to slip through my fingers.  It won’t happen again.

It won’t happen again because I am committed to using my creativity to make individual lessons come alive for him. I’d be a very rich man if I received a nickel for all the times I heard children say they don’t need Math or Science because they’re going to be (blank).  But we Real Men can’t expect them to do well in school if we miss opportunities to show them the interplay between their learning and living.  It is during times such as this that they have those Eureka moments, periods of complete calm and clarity.  Consequently, they work even harder because they now realize their good grades are the ripples that are seen before the waves.  Once the waves arrive, they will ride them to shores of opportunity and prosperity.

My son has one more six-week grading period left before his school dismisses for the summer.  I don’t know how he’s going to do in Math, or any other subject for that matter.  One thing I do know: He is developing the heart of a champion.

I have been watching him closely since we had our little talk about his poor performance in Math.  These days, after he eats his snack following a long day at school, and cleans up after himself, he pulls his planner from his book bag to review his daily To-Do List.  He then works diligently on the noted assignments.  However, because he has tunnel vision – i.e., taking care of those assignments due today and ignoring the preparation that is needed for those assignments he will face tomorrow –  I have to stay on him.  Not in a bad way but good.  Keeping information fresh in his mind ensures that he will do well on any and all upcoming assignments and tests.  And my incessant prodding of him will eventually fade away, being replaced by a self-initiated fervor to be all he can be in this life and the next.

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