Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 4 (The Man in the Mirror #10)

Today, I want to conclude our series of advice for young people who have grown up without fathers. Already, we have discussed nine things that you should do.:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father.
2. Read the Bible consistently.
3. Talk to God about anything and everything through prayer.
4. Choose not to become bitter toward your father.
5. Choose to love, appreciate, and thank God for the parent or parent figure you do have.
6. Ask God to give you godly, older mentors and friends.
7. Do not let the absence of a father in your life become a crutch or excuse for not reaching your potential.
8. Commit to having an others-focused view of life.
9. Learn the principles of life from successful men in history.

Now, here are my three final words of advice for young people things that you ought to do if you are in such a situation.

1. Make the decision to be mature. In other words, grow up. If you have younger siblings whom you have had to help take care of throughout your life due to the absence of your father, you may be forced to grow up faster than you would otherwise, but that is fine. However, did you know that many adults have the mentality of teenagers or children? They interact with and react to the world in a childish manner. For example, if something happens that they don’t like, instead of accepting it and dealing with it, they complain about it or retreat from the world and refuse to deal with it.

You don’t want to live life that way. Perhaps someone has told you before to “act your age.” That is good advice. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Do not be afraid to put away childish things and childish ways of interacting with the world. You may feel insecure or you may lack confidence because of the hole left in your life due to your father’s absence. But, remember, your Heavenly Father is there to fill that hole. You do not have to shirk your responsibilities or shy away from difficulties. With God’s help, you can handle the punches life throws your way.

2. May I encourage you to live a structured life. Perhaps you have heard your peers use the phrase, “I’m bored.” Perhaps you have even used that phrase at times. What you are really saying is that your life (or a particular day) has no structure, no goal, no purpose. You have nothing to aim for, and therefore, there are no steps laid out before you which you should take.

If you live a structured life, you will never have time to be bored. What is a structured life? A structured life is one that is defined by goals and purpose. If you have a purpose to live for and goals to reach, then everything you do should move you toward reaching those goals and fulfilling that purpose. Start by structuring your days. Buy yourself a daily planner or download one of the numerous organizational apps that are available. Make a list of things you will do each day and follow that list. Put down even the simplest things such as praying and reading your Bible in the morning, exercising, eating a good breakfast, etc. Keep your schedule full. Even write down what you are going to do for fun and when. One of the benefits of living a structured life is that it will cut down on the temptation to do evil or to get involved with the wrong crowd. If you are single-mindedly focused on your goals in life, you will not have time for foolishness. As someone once said, “The world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.”

3. Determine to be a good father or parent to your children. Just because your father abandoned you, that does not give you an excuse for abandoning your children if you are blessed to have children in the future. If anything, your experiences should make you even more determined to be a good father or parent to your children. Do not repeat the mistakes of your parents; you are not bound by their failures. Learn from them, but determine never to repeat them.

If you are a young man who grew up without a father, you may feel inadequate because you did not see what a Godly father looked like throughout your young life. Do not let that hinder you. Look to God and His Word as your first example of what a father should be like. Godly men such as Tony Dungy, Tony Evans, James Dobson, and others have also written books on how to be the father your children need in this day and time. Get those books and read them. With God’s help, you can be one of the faithful, loving, strong fathers that this world so desperately needs.

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I hope that you will take heed to these things so that you can live a happy, successful, blessed, and productive life for God’s glory.

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Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 3 (The Man in the Mirror #9)

Today, I want to continue sharing some advice with young people who have grown up without fathers. Already, we have discussed six things that you should do.:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father.
2. Read the Bible consistently.
3. Talk to God about anything and everything through prayer.
4. Choose not to become bitter toward your father.
5. Choose to love, appreciate, and thank God for the parent or parent figure you do have.
6. Ask God to give you godly, older mentors and friends.

Here are three more things that you ought to do if you are in such a situation.

1. Do not let the absence of a father in your life become a crutch or excuse for not reaching your potential. Often, when a person grows up with disadvantages or has some kind of disability in life, they will use that disadvantage or disability as an excuse for not accomplishing great things. Every time they fail or every time someone asks them why they did not reach a goal, they eventually come back around to an explanation that begins with, ‘Well, my father was not in my life…’ or whatever their disadvantage happens to be.

You don’t want to be that person. Your entire life does not have to be defined by your father’s absence from your childhood. Instead of viewing it as a permanent handicap, simply view it a hurdle that must be overcome. And, the Bible says that through Jesus Christ, we are overcomers. Learn to say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Don’t be afraid to dream big and to set big goals. Don’t let a disadvantage hold you back from accomplishing everything that God wants you to accomplish.

2. Commit to having an others-focused view of life. Another trap that some people who grow up with a disadvantage fall into is living a self-centered life. Of course, all people struggle with this malady, but some who have a disadvantage may feel like they are entitled to feel the way they do. This is a sad way to live. Someone once said, “A person wrapped up in himself makes a small package.”

Don’t be a ‘small package’ person. Have an others-focused view of life. Think more about what you can do for others and how you can help others than about what others can do for you. In this case, your disadvantage of growing up without a father is actually an advantage because it places you in a unique position to help other young people who also do not know their fathers. You understand how they feel and what they are going through, and if you have overcome the challenges of such a childhood, you can help them do the same. Second Corinthians 1:4-5 says that God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” Once you put Jesus Christ first in your life, commit to having an others-focused life so that you can be used by God to bless and help those around you.

3. Learn the principles of life from successful men in history. One of the traits of great men is that they leave a legacy behind. You can learn about the lives and legacies of such men by reading books, watching a documentary regarding their lives, or listening to them give a speech or interview. You can learn from the experiences of great men such as Winston Churchill, George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and so many others, both dead and alive. You can learn from their successes and their failures, what to do and what not to do, and you can see how certain principles benefitted them throughout their lives and helped them reach the level of accomplishment that they were able to reach.

Take these principles to heart, learn from them, and apply them to your life. Proverbs 1:5 says, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” In the Bible, the Apostle Paul told young believers, “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day…” What he was saying was, ‘You saw how we carried ourselves, you saw how we worked hard night and day. You ought to do the same.’ He also told another group of believers, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Dear friend, you don’t have to do this thing called life all on your own. Learn from the examples of others. It can save you a whole lot of trouble in the days ahead.

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I hope that you will take heed to these things so that you can live a happy, successful, blessed, and productive life for God’s glory.

Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 2 (The Man in the Mirror #8)

Today, I want to continue sharing some advice with young people who have grown up without fathers. On last week I encouraged you to do three things:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father.
2. Read the Bible consistently.
3. Talk to God about anything and everything through prayer.

Here are three more things that you ought to do if you are in such a situation.

1. Choose not to become bitter toward your father. Yes, by choosing not to be a part of your life, your father was irresponsible and he did you wrong. But you will not be well served by allowing a root of bitterness, resentment, or hatred to grow in your heart. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:15, “Look diligently [watch out for or be careful]… lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you.” The only person who will be hurt by the bitterness or resentment you carry in your heart toward your father is you. Thus, it is a waste of energy and time.

Instead, you ought to forgive your father because that is what God would have you to do and that is the only thing that will set you free. Colossians 3:13 says, “forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel (or grievance) against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.“

2. Choose to love, appreciate, and thank God for the parent or parent figure you do have. This comes easy for many young people, yet it is worth saying here. You may be raised by your mother, by your grandparents, by some other older relative, or by a combination of these. Even though you may not have the perfect family situation, you can be thankful for what you do have.

You especially ought to be thankful considering the sacrifices that your guardians have had to make in order to raise you and provide for you. You can reward them for their sacrifices by letting them know that you appreciate what they have done and by respecting them as authority figures in your life.

3. Ask God to give you godly, older mentors and friends. When I was a young Christian, God, in His wisdom, placed a few older gentlemen in my life. These men are 20-30 years older than me. As a young man, I watched how these older men lived their lives, I asked them questions about life in general, and I asked their advice on what I should do (and not do) in my life. The wisdom I gained from these older, wiser men has saved me many years of trouble, heartache, and pain. I have been able to avoid some of the mistakes that they made and that they warned me about making.

Proverbs 11:14 states, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” To be honest, after I decided to follow Jesus Christ at the age of nineteen, I did not spend a lot of time with people my age. I spent time with those who were older than me so that I could learn from them. In fact, my closest friends today are at least 20-30 years older than I am, and, even now, I go to them for advice and encouragement at this stage in my life. I strongly encourage you to do the same.

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I will be sharing some more of these things in our next broadcast.

Advice for Young People Who Have Grown Up Without Fathers, Part 1 (The Man in the Mirror #7)

Today, I want to offer some advice to young people who have grown up without fathers.

fatherlessFatherlessness has been called an epidemic in the black community of America. According to government statistics, 72 percent of African-American children are born to unmarried mothers. The effects of growing up without a father are devastating to say the least. Children: Our Ultimate Investment reports that:

* 63 percent of youth who commit suicide are from fatherless homes
* 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes
* 71 percent of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
* 75 percent of all teenage patients in drug-abuse centers come from fatherless homes
* 85 percent of all young people in prison come from fatherless homes

If you are a teenager or young person, you may feel that your life will end up with similar results. Perhaps you think that society has already written you off. But I am here to tell you that your life does not have to end up as just another statistic. As the Bible tells us, God has good plans for your life — ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you.’ Even if you grew up without your father in your life, there are some things you can do to survive, to thrive, and to make it in this life. Here they are:

1. Get to know God as your Heavenly Father. The Bible makes clear that God has a special protectiveness for children who are fatherless. David said in Psalm 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Maybe you grew up in the church, but I want to encourage you to really get to know God for yourself. He will be the best Father you could ever have. I will show you how you can begin a personal relationship with God at the end of the broadcast.

2. Read the Bible consistently. WIthout a Godly father in your life, you likely missed out on a lot of good, solid advice and counseling as a child — especially if your mother was busy working to provide for you and/or if you did not have teachers or mentors who took you under their wing. However, this can be remedied. The Bible has often been called a guidebook for life — and it is. In the pages of Scripture, you will find all the advice you need to succeed in your relationship with God, your relationships with others, and your interactions with the world.

I strongly recommend that you read through the book of Proverbs. It has 31 chapters, and a good practice is to read one chapter a day; that way, you will get through the book nearly 12 times in one year. Proverbs is full of practical advice and wisdom that will be of extreme usefulness to you as a young person. You will learn how to stay away from bad influences, how to avoid sexual temptation and sexual sin, the value of hard work, and so much more. The book is indeed a gold mine.

3. Talk to God. From time to time in your life, you may have longed for a father to talk to about certain issues. As a young man, there are things your mother will simply not be able to teach you. As a young woman, you may crave a father’s advice on dealing with the opposite sex. Well, you can talk to God about all of those things through prayer. Pour out your heart to Him just as you would talk to your real father. God will hear you and answer you. In the Bible, God said, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee…”

These are just some of the things you can do as a young person to get on the right track even if you have not had the benefit of a father in your life. I will be sharing with you some more of these things in our next broadcast.

Be a Leader and Think for Yourself (The Man in the Mirror #6)

Recently, I heard a story about five teenagers who decided to rob a house in Illinois. They went across the street to a particular residence, knocked on the door, and rang the doorbell. When no one answered, they broke in. It turns out that the owner of the house was asleep upstairs. When he heard the commotion, he awakened, got his gun, and came downstairs. He shot and killed one of the teenagers and wounded another.

Today, the four teenagers who survived are in jail for fifty years. They were not just sentenced for attempted robbery, but, due to state law, they — not the homeowner who shot the gun — are being held responsible for the death of their companion.

In an interview, one of the teens was asked what caused him to do what he did that day. He said the reason was that he was “just being a follower.”

271-think-for-yourselfThe Bible warns us against being followers of those who would only lead us to do evil. Proverbs 1:10-16 says, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.“

You can probably think of a time in your life when you have done something simply because your friends or someone else suggested doing it and you regretted it later. Sociologists call it peer pressure. You feel somehow that because everyone else is doing it, you have to do it too.

Many people have succumbed to that pressure and later wished they hadn’t. For example, the young man who went along with his buddies who were engaged in criminal activity because he wanted to appear cool and later got arrested along with them. Or, the young woman who was eager to get a boyfriend and have sex because that’s what all her friends were doing and she didn’t want to feel left out and she later got pregnant or got a sexually transmitted disease.

Let me encourage you to not be a follower. Don’t feel the need to go along with the crowd. Just because a lot of people are doing something does not mean that it is the right thing to do. You may not have the gift of leadership, but one thing all of us possess is the ability to think for ourselves. So, think for yourself. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. If you do not have a reason other than the fact that others are doing the same thing then you need to reconsider what you are doing.

God gave each of us a brain and the ability to think. Thinking for myself, led by the Holy Spirit of God, has saved me a lot of time, trouble, and consequences down through the years and it will do the same for you.

How to Survive an Encounter with the Police as a Young Black Person, Part 3 (The Man in the Mirror #5)

Today, I am going to continue sharing with you practical, actionable information on how you can survive an encounter with the police. In our last episode, we talked about how it is important to look at a situation from the police’s perspective and act in a manner that does not arouse suspicion. The final topic that the National Black Police Association addresses is: what to do when the police knock on your door. They state:

If the police knock at your door, you do not have to let them in unless there is a signed warrant. Always ask to see the warrant. If it appears proper on its face, you must step aside and let them into your home or business.

If it is an arrest warrant, look at the name on the warrant to make certain they have the right person. If it is a search warrant, make sure the address is correct and note what is specifically listed on the warrant to be searched for in your home.

If the police do not have a warrant, you do not have to let them in unless they insist. Perhaps you can settle this matter at the door. If they do insist, over your objections, then be careful to:

– First, ask for a police badge and identification

– Second, ask the purpose of entering your home.

– Third, let them in only after they insist.

– Fourth, if you object, make sure that the police know that you do not consent to any search of your home or business.

– Fifth, remember badge numbers, officer’s faces, and the time of day. Write this information down.

The police are not required to give you a receipt for property they intend to book as evidence such as stolen goods, guns, etc. However, when property is taken from your home, ask the police for a receipt.

The police may also search without a warrant whenever arresting an individual. They may search the individual under arrest, the area near the arrest, and the room where the arrest was made if inside the home. They may also search after consent is given. Police may also search when there is an emergency (for example, someone screaming for help inside your home), or when chasing you or someone else inside your home.

If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building, “close by” usually means just the room you are in.

IF YOU ARE ARRESTED OR TAKEN TO A POLICE STATION

You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don’t give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decides is best.

FINALLY, CONSULT AN ATTORNEY

Ask to see a lawyer, immediately. If you can’t pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Don’t say anything without a lawyer. Within a reasonable time after your arrest or booking, bail will be set. Have your lawyer ask the judge about the possibility of lowering the bail. You must be taken before the judge on the next court day after an arrest. Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer.

This concludes our discussion of what to do in an encounter with the police from the National Black Police Association. If you follow their advice, I can assure you that any encounter you have with law enforcement will turn out better — not only for you, but for your family and your community.

How to Survive an Encounter with the Police as a Young Black Person, Part 2 (The Man in the Mirror #4)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/26357/231495-how-to-survive-an-encounter-with-the-police-as-a-young-black-person-part-2-the-man-in-the-mirror-4.mp3]

In our last episode, we talked about the importance of responding the right way to situations when you are confronted by the police or others in authority. You may feel like you are being profiled or that the only reason you are being stopped or questioned is because of the color of your skin or because of the neighborhood you happen to be in.

miami-policeChristian rapper, Lecrae, shared that he had just left a concert in Chicago recently, and he was in a car with several other people. As they were driving through a certain neighborhood, the man who was driving the car said, ‘The police are probably going to pull us because there are a lot of us in here.’ “Us” meaning black and latino young men in the same car. And, sure enough, a few minutes later, they were pulled by the police. So, these kinds of cases are real, and they happen frequently across America.

However, as you will recall from our last episode, I encouraged you to purposefully have a calm, respectful attitude if and when you are confronted by the police. If you do that, it may not seem like much, but you will be making it better not only for yourself, but for other young black men and women in America. This past weekend, we unfortunately heard the tragic news that a man — a young black man — who claimed to be getting revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner shot and killed two New York City police officers who were sitting in a patrol car in Brooklyn, NY. Such a heinous crime will only serve to deepen the distrust and hostility between police forces and black communities across America. That young black man, who also took his own life, made it worse for everyone. He carried his anger against and/or hatred for the police to an extreme, and that is what I do not want you to do no matter how wrong you feel the police may be.

Right now, I am going to continue sharing with you how you can survive an encounter with the police. Remember, the purpose here is for you to remain alive and free as a young black person in America. In our last episode, we discussed what to do if you are stopped while driving or walking on the street. Today, we are going to go over some do’s and don’ts regarding dealing with the police. These tips are from the National Black Police Association. They state:

– Keep your hands where the police can see them

– Please…do not run!

– Do not touch any police officer.

– Do not resist – even if you believe you are innocent.

– Do not complain too strongly on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.

– Ask for a lawyer immediately when arrested.

– Record officers’ badge numbers and patrol car numbers and write down everything you remember – as soon as possible.

– Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers

Now, there are many factors that may lead the police to approach and/or detain you. Every situation is different and the officer may consider one or more of the following factors. Knowing this will help you see things from the police officer’s perspective no matter how innocent you think you are.

– You are near a location where a crime has been recently reported or discovered.

– You may be – knowingly or unknowingly – a witness to a criminal event or a potential criminal target.

– You are hanging around with people or at locations that are being monitored by the police to prevent crimes.

– You are acting in a manner which appears to be suspicious or potentially criminal; or the police believe you may be in possession of stolen property, contraband, or weapons.

– When walking or driving your car, you refuse to answer police questions and/or give false, evasive, or contradictory information; or you are combative and use derogatory or offensive language when approached. Your reaction may be perceived as suspicious or threatening. Saying the wrong things at the wrong time could lead to further police detainment, questions, increased stress or a trip to jail. Who needs this?

– You have been identified to the police by someone else or you fit the description of a criminal actor.

Remember, police must be able to articulate to the court’s satisfaction what “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” was used to stop, detain, and arrest a citizen.

We will continue with more tips on how to survive an encounter with the police in our next episode.