VOICE of a youth
...a column of hope by Hezekiah Davies
About the Columnist...
Hezekiah Davies is an 18 year old undergraduate student at York University, pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Psychology Honours. He is also a delegate for the Ontario Young Liberal Caucus and the Recruitment Director for the Brampton West Young Liberals. Born in Nigeria, raised in England, and now a contributing member to Canadian society, Hezekiah shares experiences which allow him to strike a unifying chord with various people. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on twitter: @hezekiahdavies.
Topic: When Kings Gather - the power of male to male mentorship
July 12th, 2012
On Saturday July 7th, I was passionately engaged in a phone conversation with a fellow usher in my congregation, as to what the topic of my second article should be. He suggested that I discuss the issue of mentorship in the lives of males. And I must say I took a liking to that idea. The next morning, I awoke, frantically got prepared in my Sunday best attire and set off in my mother’s Toyota. Our destination was House of Praise, Mississauga. The designated event was to offer worship to my heavenly father. As I arrived at church, I briskly paced indoors and heartily shook hands with the greeters at the front doors. One thing weighed heavily on my mind though at that moment in time, my thoughts were somewhere else you could say. I was quietly musing over this article. After exchanging pleasantries with other members of the church, I proceeded towards the sanctuary, as I heard my Pastor preaching. And then I glanced behind me. Lo and behold, what caught my attention, were two posters which served as a reaffirmation. The first poster read, “Men to Men...Part 2”. The second, as attractive as it was, boldly stated, “When Kings Gather” Yes, mentorship is needed. The fact that my church was hosting two distinct conferences regarding such an indispensable issue was just a confirmation.
So what is mentorship? My personal definition of mentorship is the process by which an individual who possesses desirable qualities or is more proficient in a single area, engages in the deliberate attempt to impart commendable characteristics upon an individual who lacks or does not possess as much expertise in the given area of mentoring. In other words, mentoring means: passing down skills to someone who may be deficient in a given area of their lives. Yes, mentoring can and does include aspects varied from sports to simple decorum; from professional advice on career development to entertainment.
What do Charles Ogletree, Virgil Spurlin, and Pablo McNeil have in common? These are three names you may not be familiar with. Well, the former was the mentor of Barack Obama, during his stay at Harvard. The second name listed was the mentor of Bill Clinton, the former Democratic President of the United States of America. With regards to Obama, Ogletree served as a political mentor to the current Commander-In-Chief of the U.S. army, whilst Spurlin, a band instructor supported Clinton in other various manners available in his capacity. As for McNeil, he was the high school mentor of the acclaimed fastest man in the world, Jamaican sprinting sensation Usain Bolt. These are three precise examples of mentoring offered in three very different ways. But the common results were accomplished personages who impacted their society in more ways than none.
In order for society to function at its full potential, it is utterly imperative that within civilization we have males who can fulfill their communal obligations in a highly effective manner. This should of course occur in conjunction with the ever needed support of females within society, who contribute their invaluable presence. Another observation should also be highlighted: the more cases of positive mentorship that occurs, the more males who are fully equipped to correctly handle and treat others around them with tact and dignity.
You may be wondering why I titled this article, “When Kings Gather”. Essentially it ties in with the correct notion that we are all royalty in a sense and upon us consolidating with one another we ultimately will become fortified. By empowering each other we, in due course, can be transformed from being hollow men into being men worthy of responsibility, who can assume positions of dignity within the world we live in. With proper and deliberate care, mentors and mentees, through proper interaction and thriving relationships become Kings, with admirable values.
Personally speaking, my spiritual mentor is my Pastor. For years I have, with great and intense curiosity, watched and experienced him voice his hopes with utter zeal for everyone he comes into contact with. It is through this zeal that I have formed my perceptions as to the type of individual I desire to become. He is an epitome of determination and he possesses a strong spirit which is reflected in his powerful sermons and thorough stewardship.
It is absolutely imperative that every individual has a mentor, in order to assure the likelihood of maturity being developed in the mentee. One can have more than one mentor, spiritual, academic, communal. Essentially, as a mentee if you realize that a lack of proper guiding exists in your life, it is your responsibility to seek out someone who can help fill that void.
As for those who know deep within their hearts, they possess the skills and characteristics that would allow them be a fundamentally sound mentor to the underdeveloped males, they should be gracious enough to impart valuable knowledge, with clear and modest intentions.
What are the benefits of mentorship? The benefits are numerous, including a valuable relationship being developed between both members of the mentorship relationship, confidence and ennoblement of the mentee and a sense of fulfillment on the part of the mentor in being rest assured that he has sufficiently and conscientiously impacted the life of another human being.
Every successful person has been mentored in some way or another. Proper and positive examples need to be set for the cycle of accomplishment to be prolonged from generation to generation. In conclusion, one should reflect on the response Charles Ogletree offered in an interview, when asked whether it was needed for mentorship to occur in society. His appropriate response was, “Of course. We have benefited from the mentoring of those who preceded us as leaders, and it is incumbent upon us as the next generation to mentor those who will take on leadership positions in the 21st century.” In retrospect, mentorship is a gateway for successful ramifications. You are all kings. Now Gather.
Topic: Synergy can easily solve our most pressing issues
July 3, 2012
I’m sure you have at least heard, read or come across in some sort of medium or another, the wise and fruitful African adage that states, “It takes a community to raise a child”. I’m also sure you have heard and admired the phrase, “I am my brother’s keeper”. What happened to us as a community utilizing such powerful and impactful messages in our daily existence? Why is it that we lack synergy from the roots upward; from our dining tables in our humble abodes to our cafeterias at school; from our study tables at home to our work desks at our places of employment, where we are graciously opportune to interact with others who are of similar pigmentation as ourselves?
The former quotation is a skill that has been mastered in an efficient manner by other races over the previous generations, most especially the Asian community, enveloping the clear outlier communities of success, the Indians and the Chinese. The latter, ironically is one that has been thoroughly exercised by pivotal and influential black powerhouses such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and Martin Luther King Jr., the true leader in the quest for sufficient civil rights in the 1960s. However, we now live in an age where it has become almost normalized for black on black criminal activity to occur.
Upon careful scrutiny and examination by the mentally prepared, one will immediately realize that the problems that lie within the black demographical community ties in with the fact that we simply do not support one another, at various junctures of our lives. Such junctures include and range from when one receives recognition for their hard work to one supporting their parents financially. Permit me if you will- my intention for writing this column is not to rebuke or chastise but instead to encourage anyone who might be reading this article.
You may ask what the benefits of community synchronization or behaving in an amiable fashion to our black brothers and sisters may be. Well let us examine the consequences of not supporting each other. Firstly let us pore over the foundational element of our livelihoods, which is our family, what can be described as the building blocks and the imperative underpinning of our mere existence as human beings. As blacks, we have one of the highest rates of households in which children have to suffer from the stark reality of having a lone parent being vested with the responsibility of raising them single-handedly. I, personally, am a product of a single parent home. My father abused my mother; she was forced to seek a divorce, and for almost 18 years she has had to raise me single-handedly, without sufficient aid and support from other family members. This is a clear example of a breakdown of family synergy. Therefore, this is a call to action for fathers-to-be and present fathers to make a dutiful effort to be of support to their partners.
I have come to realize in my short span as a young black man that blacks can at times be their own worst enemies. This notion as mentioned is relatively demonstrated in secondary schools and more especially on the streets. Black teenagers often find it difficult to support themselves. Once again, as I’m sure you all know, in western civilizations, from Peckham, London, England, to Jane and Finch, Toronto, blacks have been commonly branded as hooligans and have been deemed as individuals who are not deserving of fundamental freedoms such as functioning as responsible members of the global polis. Unfortunately for many black individuals, they are born into underprivileged circumstances by which the only plausible manner of behavioural instincts, as they view it, is to resort to criminal activity. What do these unprivileged conditions include? There are quite a few, but for brevity’s sake, they include: being born into severe poverty, not having the gift of parents who will channel significant efforts by developing crucial relationships with their children, and the callous environment in which they are raised in. Now although these are all very saddening aspects to consider, and although in a sense we are products of what is around us, we cannot allow such aspects to become excuses for our failure to support one another. Mr Barack Hussein Obama, himself was the product of a household in which his mother failed, in his developmental stages, to provide for him a stable environment in which he could grow, prosper, and thrive. His biological father chased his selfish ambitions and left his mother when he was very young. But did you know that upon his mother’s decision to pursue her studies and career in Indonesia, his grandmother became a prominent guide for Obama. Little did she know that he would become the first black President? If she had not, along with her husband, practised the art of synergy, we as blacks may not have Obama to gain inspiration from. A more touching example that should be a source of inspiration for you, is the brain surgeon Ben Carson, who was raised in a poor background, but was pushed by his mother to be educated, even though his academic skills were very poor to say the least. He went on to successfully split two Siamese twins.
From a personal perspective, I deviated from a path which was beneficial for my future, but upon my decision to live out a life which was worthy of success and divine help, along with my mother’s caring attention and devotion of course, a member of my church practiced synergy with my mother, by taking me on and allowing me to live with him, in an effort to straighten me out. This member of my church was unknown to me prior to my decision to turn around, but he regarded me as his nephew. And for that I am very grateful to him.
In essence, synergy, folks, can solve the societal problems we face on a daily basis. Synergy can positively affect that single mother you know who is struggling to maintain order in her home, by you simply offering a lending hand or perhaps by mentoring her children. Synergy can foster the possibility of having blacks at the top of their academic classes by one black individual tutoring another. Synergy can work if the black youth put away their guns and deal with their common issues verbally like responsible adults. Synergy can work ladies and gentlemen. In conclusion, by operating with synergy, you can and surely will be your brother’s keeper.