On Your Relationship With Your Children Still (Letter 17)

Dear Y.B.M.:

I hope that you are listening to your grandparents.

spending-time-with-kidsIn this letter, I want to talk with you about something that many people do not like to discuss with young black men, but that needs to be addressed—that is the subject of children before marriage. If you are not married, do not engage in the activity that causes children to come before marriage. If, however, you already have children outside of marriage, may I say a word to you regarding that:

First, people sometimes call the child born out of wedlock, illegitimate. In my opinion, it is not the child who is illegitimate; the parents are the ones who are illegitimate. If you had a child out of wedlock, you ought not to be proud of it; rather, you ought to confess your sin before God, get things right with Him, and do right by the mother and the child.

Second, if you love the young lady and feel that she is to be your wife, then you ought to make plans to marry her. (I didn’t say marry her immediately, for that may be impossible or impractical at this point; I said make earnest plans to marry her.) Please do not rush and marry her to cover up your guilt or to try to cover up what you both did. If you both know that you are not right for one another as far as marriage goes, then do not get married because life will be nothing but hell and misery for both of you and the child.

Third, whatever you both decide, sit down at some point, and speak frankly and honestly with the young lady’s parents about your intentions. Apologize to them, but don’t let them talk you into marrying their daughter if you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that she is not the one for you.

Fourth, do not consent to an abortion. You will regret it the rest of your life. (You may not have control over her decision, but you do not have to be a partaker in her wrong doing.) Remember, friend, you may have control over the sexual act, but you do not have control over life. You do not give life, only God does!

Fifth, do whatever it takes to take care of the child. You may not be able to support the child fully as you would like. Get yourself a job, if you do not already have one, and be a financial support each month.

Sixth, if the young lady you had the baby with becomes seriously involved with another man, or gets engaged or married, you need to respect that man as the stepfather of your child and do unto him as you would like for a man to do unto you if you were in the same situation. In other words, if he wants to take care of that young lady and the child, and he does not want you to support or come around because he feels that it would cause problems, then respect the man of that house and leave them alone until they give you permission to see the child. Before you get all upset, remember that you didn’t marry her, so she really does not have to answer to you in any way, shape, form, or fashion.

Seventh, whether your child is with you or not, pray daily for him or her.

Eighth, if you can spend time with the child, then spend as much time as you can with him or her.

Ninth, if you are at a distance from your child, write him or her monthly. It will be a great encouragement to him or her during this difficult time in his or her life. As he or she grows older, he or she will never forget those letters.

Tenth, tell your children that you love them often.

Eleventh, admit your sin and mistake and encourage and teach your sons not to do the same thing.

Twelfth, if you get married to another woman, make your child feel as though they are part of the family, for he or she is a part of the family.

Take Care of all Your Children,


P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Carl Sandburg said, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

Socrates said, “Could I climb to the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim—fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children, to whom one day you must relinquish it all?”

Marilyn French said, “To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons.”

William Shakespeare said, “It is a wise father that knows his own child.”

On Your Relationship With Your Grandparents (Letter 16)

multigenerational-black-familyDear Y.B.M.:

I hope that you are doing well, today.

I would like to talk with you about the great value of your grandparents. If your grandparents are living, you have a tremendous treasure in your life. If you have great grandparents you have a greater treasure. Sit down and talk with your grandparents. Some of the most intriguing conversations that I have ever had have been with my grandfather and my two grandmothers. They are my link to the past as to how it really was “back when”, and also they are a great help to my knowing who I am and where I came from. Here are some things you can do to reap jewels from your ancestors:

1. Go and talk with them when they are not preoccupied with other things. Sometimes, visit them alone, if you can.

2. Listen, Listen, Listen. You are not there to talk that much; you are there to learn all that you can. Your grandparents can really give you an education.

3. Show respect to them. No matter what kind of lifestyle they have had, there is nothing wrong with saying “Yes, Sir” and “No, Ma’am.” They may move slower, talk slower, think slower, have different views about life, but you owe them that respect.

4. Do not go with the attitude that they can’t tell you anything because they did not attain the educational level that you have. They still have more knowledge and wisdom in their little finger than you have in your little brain.

5. Eat the chicken and leave the bones. Grandparents don’t speak ex-cathedra simply because they are grandparents. Everything they say is not necessarily right.

6. Tell your grandparents you love them and show your appreciation for them.

Your grandparents can be a great blessing and help to you if you let them.

Linking up with your personal past,


P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Charles & Ann Morse said, “The history of our grandparents is remembered not with rose petals but in the laughter and tears of their children and their children’s children. It is into us that the lives of grandparents have gone. It is in us that their history becomes a future.”

“Grandparents and grandchildren, together they create a chain of love, linking the past, with the future. The chain may lengthen, but it will never part.”

Bernard Baruch said, “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”

On Your Relationship With Your Friends (Letter 15)

Black-men-talking-507x250Dear Y.B.M.:

May I say a word to you about friends. What would we do without our friends? Even the Bible speaks about friends. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

To me there are different degrees of friendship:

1. Friends on the periphery. These are friends who really don’t know the real you; you know one another at a distance.

2. Friends in the middle. These are people who you see more often, but you have not allowed them into the inner circle of your life.

3. Friends in the inner circle. These are those who know you and who know you well; you know them and you know them well. You also love one another unconditionally. When the winds of life blow, others will run, but these friends will stick and stay.

Here are some things that you can do to create and maintain good, strong friendships:

a. This may shock you, but don’t seek friends—let God give you the friends that He wants you to have.

b. Listen to friends, but think for yourself. Don’t allow your friends to think for you.

c. Work at being friendly yourself. Remember Proverbs 18:24: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

d. Forget trying to be popular and having a bunch of friends. You will find in life that there will only be a few who turn out to be your “ace-boon-coons”; that is, a “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” So, work at developing strong relationships with these friends.

e. Allow your friends to have friends that are not your friends. I am a firm believer that just because Joe is your friend, he doesn’t have to be my friend.

f. Come through for your friends. When the winds and storms of life come in your friends’ lives, be there for them. Whatever it takes, be there for them. “You reap what you sow.”

Be a Friend That Sticketh Closer Than a Brother,


P.T. (Power Thoughts):

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

“He is your friend who pushes you nearer to God.”

“True friends stab you in the front.”

On Your Relationship With Your Brother (Letter 14)

black-brothersDear Y.B.M.:

Maybe as young boys you and your brother or brothers fought and often times did not get along as brothers should. But you will find that, as you grow older, the relationship can grow to become one of the most special on earth. Your relationship can turn out to the point where you are more than just brothers; you can become very close friends. Here are some ideas to help enhance that relationship and keep it growing:

1. Remember that even though you are brothers you are both independent and more different than you think.

2. Genuinely respect your brother’s differences and opinions. Let him be him and you be you. For example, when my little brother got married, I shared something with him, but, I was quick to tell him that he had to put his twist on what I had shared with him.

3. Do not compete against your brother. That is asinine activity. Forget this stuff called sibling rivalry. Just do your best in whatever field you are in, and encourage him to do his best in his field.

4. Be completely candid in all of your dealings with your brother. He knows when you are putting on. He knows better than most when you are not being real.

5. Stay in touch, but not too much. Give him time and room to grow.

6. Challenge and encourage him to do better and greater things with his life, and to strive for spiritual gain instead of material gain.

7. Most of all, love him unconditionally, and stick by him through the good times and the bad times. Don’t be condemning, rather be encouraging.

Other than my relationship with my wife, I do not think I have had a more close family relationship than with my brother, Mark. Even though my brother and I are not as close as we used to be, I enjoyed those times we used to spend together. It was amazing how even though we were years apart in age, we saw the world basically in the same way. I wish that you and your brother would share such a relationship for at least some time in your adult life.

With Brotherly Love,


P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Astrid Alauda said, “There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.”

Mark Brown said, “Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.”

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him. And blessed is he who loves his brother as well when he is afar off as when he is by his side, and who would say nothing behind his back he might not, in love, say before his face.”