Think for Yourself! (Letter 24)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/26357/230581-think-for-yourself-letter-24.mp3]

Dear Y.B.M.:

One of the saddest things that I see today is so many people who do not think for themselves, especially young black men. It is painful to watch so many gullible people be led astray.

Think for yourself! Be a leader instead of a follower. We have enough followers. These people let others think for them, speak for them and even do for them. Don’t allow yourself to get into that rut. Think for yourself. Be the leader that God wants you to be.

Simply because a person is older and in a position of authority and is considered a leader by many, does not mean he has to be your leader. His perceived high position by many does not mean his ideas, statements and direction are correct. Think for yourself!

man-thinking

Now, in order to learn how to think for yourself, you need to do at least three things:

1. You need to size up every “leader” and his statements with the rule book: the Bible. You must see if what the person is saying is jiving with God’s eternal Word.

2. You need to have a set of convictions about the issues of life based upon a biblical foundation. This way you are not swayed by every new wind of ideas that blow your way.

3. You need to examine what people say before you accept it “hook, line and sinker,” so to speak.

In order to keep from going down the wrong path, in order to protect your family, in order to be the leader that God wants you to be, you must think for yourself and take responsibility for your statements, decisions and actions.

My friend, trust me: it is much easier to be a follower than it is to be a leader. But it is much better to think for yourself and be the leader that God wants you to be — the leader who is going right and who is leading others right.

Thinking For Myself,

Bro. Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Thurgood Marshall said, “It takes no courage to get in the back of a crowd and throw a rock.”

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. said, “It’s never the right time to take a particular stand.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Courtland Milloy said, “The hallmark of courage in this age of conformity is to stand up for what you believe.”

Michael Jordan said, “Fear is an illusion.”

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Women Folk! (Letter 23)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/26357/228711-women-folk-letter-23.mp3]

Dear Y.B.M.:

This letter will probably be the most controversial letter that I write you. However, I hope that you read it and take heed to it.

black-man-and-girlfriendIn this letter, I want to talk to you about one of the most important issues in life for the young black man or any man for that matter, and that is his relationship with the women folk. The older you get, the more you will realize how important it is to understand how to deal with women. A good woman can help you become a great success in life; a bad woman can not only make your life miserable, but she can ruin your life as well. It is as simple as that. Notice what the wisest man who ever lived said:

Proverbs 12:4 reads, “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 23:27 reads, “For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.”

My dear brother, there are some things that you need to know about dealing with women folk that will help you avoid much trouble and sorrow, and that will help you find the right woman as your life’s mate. The following are some things that you will want to keep in mind as you deal with the women folk:

1. Understand that women are designed by God to be a help and a blessing to man, not a hinderance.

2. Think with your big head; not with your little head. In other words, don’t let your life be driven by sex, but rather by God’s Word, and what is right. Too many young and old men today love sex more than they love God. My old school fellows and I used to call men like this “sex-whipped.” Well, it was a little bit more graphic than that, but I can’t go there here.

3. Everything that glitters ain’t gold. It is a tragedy, but true, that most pretty and fine women are not good for you. You had better learn and learn quickly to get past the exterior and find out about the interior. Beautiful women are a dime-a-dozen, seriously. God made them beautiful and voluptuous. But what you want, son, and what you had better get in a woman is a woman of virtue, integrity, trustworthiness and honor, if you want to have peace of mind in this life. Because if you fool around and get yourself a woman who is beautiful on the outside, yet on the inside she is full of lies, cheating, rebellion, stubbornness, disrespect, manipulation, etc., etc., you will have hell to pay! Mark my words. Notice what Solomon says on this subject from the Book of Proverbs in the Holy Bible:
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”

4. As you are in the process of looking for that special someone, please put God first and the search for the right lady second. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

5. Don’t be afraid of women nor be intimidated by women. They are just women. Love them, talk to them, lead them, have fun with them, but don’t be afraid of them and don’t be intimidated by them, because as soon as a woman detects that you are afraid of her or intimidated by her, you are doomed.

6. I want to say to you also something that may be a shock to you, and that is: YOU ARE THE PRIZE TOO. Yes, to find a good woman is a prize indeed, but contrary to what one might think, it is also a prize for a woman to find a good man in this day and time. And considering the male/female ratio in the black community, a woman finding a good man is more of a prize. So don’t sell yourself short.

7. Another secret item that will help you understand the women folk is the simple, untold, truth that women desire men just as much as men desire women. I am not only talking about in emotional, financial and romantic ways, but physically as well. This is just a normal thing that our Creator put in both the male and the female. So do not buy the myth that you have to bow to women and beg her to get interested in you. She may already be interested.

8. Take note with me the kind of men most women really like. And for some strange reason, it is not the soft, apologizing, shuffling, sweet, little, sugary man she is looking for. Good women like real men. Notice some things women like in men:

A. Confident, but not arrogant.
B. Cool, not hot-headed.
C. One who knows where he is going.
D. One who does not let women control and manipulate him. Women don’t like weak-back men.
E. A clean and neat dresser.
F. One who can share his true feelings well.
G. One who is authentic.
H. A man who “knows” how to handle her.
I. A man who can make her laugh.
J. A man who will not let her have her way all of the time.
K. A man who likes to have sex often and who enjoys sex.

9. Here is something to keep in mind, that is not popular with men or women today: In your relationship with the woman in your life, be the leader: “Be the head and not the tail.” Don’t be the follower. Understand, son, that God made you to be the leader of the relationship. This does not mean, in any way, that you have the right to be abusive or to mistreat her, however. Lovingly insist that your relationship be this way because God intended for it to be this way. If you are a strong, loving leader, a “good woman” will not mind, at all, lining up with your leadership. Deep down in their heart of hearts, good, decent women appreciate strong, loving, decisive male leadership, and they despise or will eventually despise a man who is not a strong leader and who lets her control him and manipulate him. In fact, I know of countless cases where women left easy, soft, weak, “nicey, nicey” men who let them have their way, for strong, decisive men who did not let them have their way all of the time. It is a strange situation, but what I am telling you is true. Be a strong, loving man who knows where he is going, knows what he wants, who can think independently, and who does not allow women to hinder him. Strangely, women will be greatly attracted to you if you genuinely exude that kind of personality.

10. Contrary to what is popular today, pray for a good woman and marry young. This waiting until you are thirty and thirty-five years old is not wise. Get yourself a young, beautiful girl and marry her while you are young. This will save you a host of temptations and problems, and one of the great side benefits is that your children will be grown while you are still young. Brother man, if you don’t have the gift of celibacy, which you probably don’t have, please marry young. If you don’t, you will probably end up doing things, sexually speaking, that you will regret the rest of your life. Do not think holding out for as long as you can is the best way.

I could write an entire book on this subject. But for now, just remember these things as you deal with the opposite sex.

Dealing With The Women Folk Well,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Spurgeon said, “God save us from wives who are angels in the street, saints in the church, and devils at home.”

Proverbs 14:1 says, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

Proverbs 21:9 says, “It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”

Proverbs 21:19 says, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Proverbs 30:20 says, “Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.”

Syrus said, “Many receive advice, only the wise profit by it.”

Someone else said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”

How To Be Really Cool (Letter 22)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/26357/226713-how-to-be-really-cool-letter-22.mp3]

Dear Y.B.M.:

I trust that you are a cool fellow.

being-coolIn this letter, I would like to mention some things on this matter of “being cool.” Now you may think it strange that I am writing on the subject of being cool in a book of this nature. But, in my opinion, being cool is important. In fact, being cool is a cool thing to do.

What coolness is not…

Now being cool is not necessarily wearing your cap on backwards, or having your pants hanging off your tail. Coolness is not necessarily having an N.B.A. jacket on twice your size. Coolness is not having three or four girlfriends and having babies by each of them. Being cool is not smoking, drinking and doing drugs. Coolness is not carrying a gun or being a part of a gang. It is not skipping school to hang with the boys. Friend of mine, I am not merely suggesting that these things are not cool. I know these things are not cool. Get away from foolishness and learn how to be really cool.

So what is real coolness?

Real coolness in my book is being prepared so that you will never look un-cool. Real coolness is being un-ruffled at the various vicissitudes of life. Brother-Friend, real coolness is that quiet confidence in knowing that God is in control and knowing that everything will be alright. Coolness is having inexplicable peace, joy and calmness even in the midst of the storms of life. God calls this peace and joy “peace that passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and “joy unspeakable” (I Peter 1:8). To me, being cool is also being able to express yourself clearly even when you are under fire. Being cool is being able to keep your tongue under control even from defending yourself from the accusations of fools.

In closing, let me say that coolness is knowing what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

Are you really “cool,” friend? Or do you just look cool?

Yours For Never Letting Them See You Sweat,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: “The secret of success is to be like a duck — smooth and unruffled on top, but paddling furiously underneath.” —Unknown

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Twelve (Letter 21)

[audio http://brotherskeeper.buzzsprout.com/26357/224762-things-i-wish-someone-had-told-me-when-i-was-twelve-letter-21.mp3]

Dear Y.B.M.:

Today, I would like to share with you some things that I wish someone had forcibly told me when I was twelve years old. Sadly, some of the things that I am going to mention in this letter, I learned at H.K.C. — Hard Knocks College. And that is not the college to go to. Indeed, it is the college from hell. I hope that you will allow me to now be that sign post of wisdom I wish I had when I was your age. If you take heed of what I am going to say here, it will save you many heartaches and troubles.

black-boy-schoolFirst of all, I wish someone had seriously taken the Bible and plainly showed me what true salvation really meant when I was younger, as I showed you in Letter Two. True salvation in my earlier life would have made a big difference in my life as it will yours. Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour as soon as you can.

Second, I wish someone had told me about the importance of reading, studying and applying the Bible to my life. Read, study and apply the Bible to your life, and be the success that God wants you to be.

Third, I wish someone had forcibly told me to avoid having sex until after I was married. And I wish they had told me the Biblical reasons why. I know that it sounds weird and foreign, but Y.B.M., avoid having sex of any kind until after you are married.

Here is just one verse from God’s Word that gives you a reason why:

I Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

Fourth, I wish someone had taught me about the proverbial “value of a dollar.” In other words, I wish someone had taught me how to manage money better, and how to save and invest it as well.

Money is not everything, but money is important. In fact the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 10:9, “Money answereth all things.” And the way you handle it will be one of the keys to your success. So if you don’t know how to handle your money, get with a good businessman and learn all that you can about how to make, handle, and invest money. I will write you another letter about money in the near future.

Fifth, I wish that someone had taught me how to manage my time better. I wish I had learned the value of each minute of life at an earlier age. Time is like money – we must spend it wisely. Do whatever it takes to learn how to manage the time that God gives you.

Sixth, I wish that someone had taught me to have a better work ethic. There is nothing wrong with hard work. Hard work is the road to lasting success. Learn to see work as a friend and not an enemy. Work hard and smart.

Seventh, I wish that someone had told me, in a forcible manner, that junior high school and high school were not times in which to play, but to gain knowledge. I wish someone had told me that school and learning were a privilege and not something to be despised.

Eighth, I wish someone had told me that life was not going to always be easy, and that I needed to take life more seriously because this is the only life I get.

Ninth, I wish someone had told me that just because we had integration in our schools, racism and prejudice did not end.

Tenth, I wish someone had forcibly told me not to hang around the wrong crowd — that it was not cool — but rather, to be independent and to think for myself and to do that which was right “though the stars fall.”

In my writing about what I wished someone had told me when I was younger, I have in turn told you some things that if you were to take heed of, would save you many a hard knock.

Do the right thing and “make Black America better.”

Yours For Not Going To H.K.C.,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Booker T. Washington said, “I have learnt that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Cornel West said, “America’s massive social breakdown requires that we come together — for the sake of our lives, our children, and our sacred honor.”

George Washington Carver said, “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

Maya Angelou said, “Nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.”

The Value of Working Hard and Smart (Letter 20)

Dear Y.B.M.:

black-young-man-job-seekerI do not want to sound like I am preaching to you, but to start this important letter, I must ask you to please take note of the following verses from the Book of books:

Solomon said in Proverbs 21:25, “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.”

Proverbs 13:4 says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”

Proverbs 10:4 says, “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.”

Those old proverbs above are true, and you can see the truth of these verses all around you. Those who choose to be lazy and slothful with their lives usually end up poor and dependent upon others; while those who make up their minds to work diligently end up having the things that they need, and also many of the good things that they desire.

Based upon these truths, I want to strongly encourage you to be determined to not be a lazy person, but rather a person who will learn to love work, and one who will work consistently and diligently.

Now, how does a person become slothful and lazy in the first place?

First, a person can become lazy because it is a natural tendency of mankind to avoid work and that which is difficult or that which appears difficult. Unfortunately, it is a part of our sinful nature as human beings to be lazy.

Second, many young men today are raised to be lazy — not intentionally, I am sure, but the result is the same. Well-meaning parents who attempt to give their dear children “a better life than they had” have a tendency to not teach their children the value and importance of hard work and labor and the proverbial “value of a dollar.” These dear, well-meaning parents, have a tendency to just give the child everything he wants without that child working for anything and earning it the “old fashioned way.” Therefore, the poor child grows up to be a man with the pitiful notion in his mind that the world owes him something for free. And in real life, it doesn’t work that way.

I believe a third reason why so many young men become lazy is because of their addiction to television and this new thing called the video game. Too many of our young black men spend too much time before the television set watching others do their thing and make their money, while they do nothing. On top of that, much television watching gives young men a warped sense of what real life is about. Most of television is fiction and we cannot continue to live fiction lives in a non-fiction world. Get this: TV is not reality! TV is not reality! TV is not reality! Even “reality TV” is not reality! Please stop watching others accomplish things and accomplish something yourself.

Here are some good ways that you can break the slothfulness habit if you struggle with this universal problem.

1. Sit down and define what you are about and what it is you would like to accomplish in life. Set specific goals and pursue them.

2. Make up a time schedule and plan how you will achieve your goals. And then pursue them like a mad man.

3. Be determined with the tenacity of a Bulldog, that you will not let anyone or anything get in your way of doing what you know you ought to do.

4. Get into the habit of going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. Most people can accomplish more in a given day simply by getting up by 5:00 a.m. as opposed to 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. Try it before you think I am nuts.

5. Work your plan! Work your plan! Work your plan! And work it daily. Never, never quit no matter what happens.

Dear brother, if you desire a college education, then you will have to work for it. If you desire to start a business, then you will have to work for it. If you desire to write a book, you will have to work. If you desire the “finer things in life,” you will have to work for them. Hard work pays great dividends. As Saint Paul said in II Thessalonians 3:10:

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Now, that’s serious.

Working,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Someone once said, “When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.”

Nelson Mandela said, “The secret to success is to learn to accept the impossible, to do without the indispensable, and to bear the intolerable.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets as Raphael painted pictures, sweep streets as Michelangelo carved marble, sweep streets as Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.”

Thomas A. Edison said, “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”

Learn About Where You Come From (Letter 19)

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/26357/220947-learn-about-where-you-come-from-letter-19.mp3]

Dear Y.B.M.:

I trust that you are doing well today.

extended black familyThis is just a short letter to encourage you to learn more about your heritage and where you came from. This is more important than you may think. It is crucial to your self-esteem, confidence and vision for the future. You see, having knowledge of your history will help make you a wiser person today, and give you a better idea as to where to go in the future. As they say, a person who does not know where he came from does not know where he is going.

Now, this important knowledge is gained in two basic ways: One way is by word of mouth: i.e., through the words of parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. And, of course, the second way is through reading and studying good black history books.

In my last letter, I exhorted you to speak to older black men in general. In this letter, I want to encourage you to take some time and visit your older relatives, and ask them some questions about how it was “back when.” Ask questions like, what did they go through? How did they handle racism? What were my ancestors like? Where did they live? What did they do? What kind of personalities did they have? What made them who they were? What interests, desires and dreams did they have? Dear Y.B.M., you can learn a great deal about yourself by learning about your people. You can learn from their successes as well as their failures and mistakes.

Earlier, I also mentioned the value of books in this regard. Simply put, it would help you greatly to read two or three Black American history books as well as history books on Africa and two or three general American history books. If you read, study, and absorb such books, you will be head and shoulders above the crowd as far as how to handle present situations and people, and as to how to plan for the future.

A good working knowledge of history is crucial. By taking heed of this humble advice, you will gain a perspective on life that is rare among young people today. It will give you a proper perspective on your role and place in America and the world. With this knowledge, you will be able to more successfully relate to your own people as well as to others.

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Go back, son, so you can go forward.

Going Back,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Randall Robinson said, “It is impossible to love ourselves without having an affection for Africa.”

Colin L. Powell said, “Our Black heritage must be a foundation stone we can build on, not a place to withdraw to.”

Langston Hughes said, “We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.”

Booker T. Washington said, “Let us hold up our heads and with firm and steady tread go manfully forward.”

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. said, “We must give our children a sense of pride in being Black. The glory of our past and the dignity of our present must lead the way to the power of our future.”

Ossie Davis said, “I can move between different disciplines because I am essentially a storyteller, and the story I want to tell is about black people. I always want to share my great satisfaction at being a black man at this time in history.”

Talk and Listen to Every Older Man Past Fifty That You Possibly Can (Letter 18)

Dear Y.B.M.:

I realize that you may feel more comfortable with those who are of the same age as you. However, may I suggest to you that it is very important that you spend some quality time talking to and listening to every older black man past fifty that you possibly can? These men will not claim perfection, nor will they claim to have it all together. Many of them will not have the educational background that you may have. But it behooves you to be quiet and listen to them.

mentoringDear friend, because of the light that you have received in this age of knowledge and information, you may know a little about the super highways of life; but you don’t know much, if anything, about the smaller back-roads and shortcuts of life. Also, even though you may know a little about the main highways of life, you do not know what lies ahead on those highways. These older gentlemen do, because they have passed this way before. There is a lot that you think you know that you don’t know. As you grow older you will become increasingly aware of how ignorant you really are. These dear older brothers, who have passed this way before, have been down both the super highways and the small back-roads and shortcuts. And they can really help you make a grand success of this life, if you would only listen to them.

The Bible says in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

Here are some of the wonderful and positive things that older men can impart to you if you are ready to hear a “word to the wise.”

1. They can help you avoid the pitfalls along the road of life.

2. They can outline for you the priorities in life that you need to concentrate on.

3. They can advise you as to which road is best for you to take at various junctions on the road of life.

4. The real good, older men will admit their mistakes and failures, and will genuinely try to help you to avoid them.

Listen, learn and live, dear brother.

Now most of these wise older brothers will let it be known that they do not have time to waste. Nor do they like to offer their valuable advice and time to just anybody — particularly one who is a fool. (i.e., one who will not listen to and heed sound advice.) So, these wise, old men are not called wise, old men for nothing. They can see right through you. They know if you are sincere or not. They will be slow and cautious in dealing with you until they are convinced you are for real. Now here are some ways to convince them that you are sincere:

1. Do not act in any way as though you already know the answer to all of the various issues of life. (Even if you do know, don’t act as though you do.) The fact of the matter is, YOU DO NOT KNOW ALL THAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW! So, don’t be a “know it all.” Shut up! while the man is talking, and please do not say stupid things like “I already know that.” Listen. Really listen. If these men detect that you are not really listening to them, they will not tell you anything.

2. Ask intelligent questions, and wait for the answer. If he does not give you the answer, then ask again. Re-phrase the question. Do what you have to do to get the answer. Bug them, bother them, annoy them. It is that important. Sometimes you have to dig for gold, son.

3. Don’t waste their time. Be very concerned about their time. They will appreciate it. Their time is more important than yours, not only because of their age, but because their time is shorter. Usually men, fifty and above, don’t play around anymore when it comes to their time. They are very serious about their time, and you had better be too, or they will abruptly cut you off. Think your questions through. Write your questions down. Do not go in half-cocked.

4. Train yourself to spend more time around older, wise men, than young, foolish men. (There are some young, wise men too, by the way, but not many.) Young, foolish men can’t teach you anything; older, wise men can teach you a lot. If you want to become a better, wiser man, hang with the heavies.

Most of my close friends are at least ten years my senior. Their age, wisdom, advice and encouragement has been of great benefit and blessing to me. Through their wise counsel, I have avoided many pitfalls and have received some bread to pass on to my younger brothers. I hope that you will take my advice and start listening to the older, wiser brothers.

Hanging With The Heavies,

Daniel

Power Thoughts

P.T.: Denzel Washington says, “A person completely wrapped up in himself makes a small package.”

Frederick Douglass says, “Truth is proper and beautiful in all times and in all places.”
Arnold H. Glasgow says, “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

Les Brown says, “Align yourself with powerful people. Align yourself with people that you can learn from, people who want more out of life, people who are stretching and searching and seeking some higher ground in life.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.”