United We Kneel

Posted: September 25, 2017 in Resources


If you still say that kneeling is disrespectful, you have refused to listen to WHY we are kneeling. We can not disregard WHY this began. It was due to inequality and justice for ALL. My ability to protest without the fear of oppression and backlash is AMERICAN! The USA is the home of the Brave, but it is also the land of the FREE! Kneeling does not make me less American, it epitomizes why we are considered the greatest nation in the world. Instead of challenging us, LISTEN to why we are kneeling and let’s discuss a real solution. Instead of trying to put me in “my place,” understand my right to life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness. 
To put in context…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that ALL MEN are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable RIGHTS, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The same statement that made us an independent nation embodies the principles that make us a great one. To deny my right is to unbraid the fabric that has woven the red, white, and blue flag that you say I am disrespecting. We kneel because we are free, not because we do not respect those who have and continue to fight to maintain it.  Period.

When we kneel you feel discomfort for a moment, but I live in discomfort everyday because of your refusal to listen. Your failure to acknowledge and appreciate WHY we kneel is evidence of the need for us to continue to do so. 

United We Kneel. 

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I have prayed, pondered, and almost wept over the last several weeks while trying to make sense out of all of this.  I have asked myself, which American do I prefer my son to live in?  If I had to choose between a society where he is aware of who dislikes him because of the color of his skin and they are open and honest about their prejudices OR would I prefer he lived in a country where people overtly express their love for him, but covertly act in away that does not support that notion? My answer…Neither! But if I had to choose, I would much rather know who hates me and have the ability to respond accordingly, than to not know and suffer the effects of their hatred and discrimination. I would rather know than to be frustrated by an invisible wall of resistance, not understanding why I am not able to get beyond where I am.

Honestly, the Neo-Nazi / Racist protesters in Charlottesville don’t scare me. I am more fearful of the Congressman who verbally detest what they did and stand for, but not willing to make policies that counter the systemic injustices that are taking place within our criminal justice system.

I am more afraid of the police officer who pulls me over because he does not think I can afford or deserve to live in my neighborhood and points a gun at me because of his preconceived notions of me.

I am more terrified of an Attorney General who believes Affirmative Action is an injustice to him because he fails to process or understand the need for the law, to begin with.

I am more panic-stricken by a social construct that is built to limit the economic opportunities of an entire community of people but can make it appear as if it is their fault for not working hard enough.

I am more frightened of people who did not know, realize, or acknowledge that racism still existed until seeing the torches and swastikas in Charlottesville.

I could go on, but there is a group of people who look far less threatening, but possess an extraordinary amount of influence and power to impact my son’s life in ways that will affect generations to come.

Elie Wiesel said, “the opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.” To say you care for someone and detest actions that hurt or offend the ones you say you care about without the willingness to make sacrifices for them, will cause your genuineness to be called into question. Colin Kaepernick simply chose not to be indifferent. It is evident what he protested is true and still taking place today. It’s ok to question his motives until he explains why he took a knee in the first place.  To continue to have a problem with his non-violent, silent protest after he explained why, only exacerbates his reasons for kneeling, to begin with.

Kaepernick is a microcosm of what I fear. He represents a community of people doing a right thing for the right reason, however, because someone has POWER and INFLUENCE, they oppress them, remove the economic opportunity, and make it appear to be ALL their fault.

Suppose that was your kid with a conviction? Do you believe he should lose his livelihood and ability to take care of his family because he decided to have a voice?  Would you support your son or ask him to compromise?

In closing, Steve Bannon called the protestors of Charlottesville a “collection of clowns.” At first glance, it appears to be the “pot calling the kettle black.” However, after I mused over it a bit more, I believe it justified my argument above. Bannon is the type that I fear. He is someone with influence, in a position of power, who can oppress the opportunities of a set of people. He can call the Neo-Nazi’s in Charlottesville “clowns” because he views them as being beneath him and only masquerading with no “real” power or influence. If this type can cause us to focus on them (the clowns), then those with influence and power can continue to “Make America Great Again” without any opposition.

We must not allow tweets from 45 and social media post to distract us from what they are enacting or the indifference of those who were elected to follow through on what they say they stand for.  It is not enough to make public statements that denounce bigotry, then fail to pass legislation that eradicates the same; or worse, write laws that perpetuate the injustices.

Call your Congressman or Congresswomen, today, and tell them that they can no longer be indifferent.  Cause them to act on what they say they believe. Secret hate is far worse than public love.  Make the call today!

TheOriginalMentor.com

What do I teach my son?

Posted: July 7, 2016 in Resources

I am so confused about what and how to teach my son moving forward?  I never thought compliance could be dangerous.  I thought compliance was a universal norm that lead to safety. Follow these rules and walk this straight line and you will be fine. But lately, that has proven to not be the case. 

Romans 13:3 says, For rulers are NOT a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have NO FEAR of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
To this day, my son waves and smiles at every police officer he encounters. I have taught him that they are good and they are there to protect him. I do not want him to live in fear because those appointed to “protect and serve” us have become a symbol of terror even for those of us of Good Conduct.

The rules of the game have become less apparent. It does not necessarily have to do with our conduct, but could be based on someone’s perception of me (or him).  The unfortunate part is I can not SEE others thoughts of me, but if I treat them all with mistrust, I become the very image of what I am fighting against. A profiler.  I can not allow myself to become imprisoned by a mentality I despise. When I do, it produces a seed that I will then plant into my son. 

So what do I teach my son?  Be yourself?, watch your back?, don’t trust them?, reach slowly?, hands up?, music down?, live in fear?

What do I teach my son?  How do I instruct and guide the miracle I’ve been entrusted to manage?  I will not be emotional in my reaction, but I encourage us all to prayerfully respond to this call for change.

It starts at your dinner table.  I know….I must…I will continue to teach him to only trust the spiritual truths, which comes from Gods word. I will NOT deviate or compromise the TRUTH, But it does not minimize the wisdom we all need while in this fallen world.  

Thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL…I will fully trust God to guide and protect us as we live our life according to His statues. Will that prevent the enemy from attacking? No…but I will…We will stand firm on God’s unfailing word and KNOW that He’s got us covered (And my son and you and your sons as well). 

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lord take the wheel….we need you RIGHT NOW!!!  Please protect the police and give them good judgement and the ability to discern according to your Holy Spirit!  Comfort the families and give all us a fresh revelation to devise a strategy that leads the lost to you. In Jesua Name. 


Family

There is still immeasurable value in a photo album and framed family portrait.  Not the photo albums of old, with the sticky back and the plastic film flap that protects the photos…photo albums are graphically designed and laid out to perfection.

Imagine this…what if we lost all power or internet connectivity and we no longer had access to the photos on our phones, computers, or clouds? An ever more common occurrence, what if we lost our phone or the hard drive on our computer crashes?  (Rent the movie Book of Eil…it will help you imagine and it is a good movie)

I recall when my son was just 2 years old, he would sit in from of my laptop for 20-30mins at a time, enjoying all of the pictures that rotated, flipped, faded, or dissolved onto the screen.  My screensaver was set to display all of the pictures stored on my laptop.  Initially, I thought he was simply fascinated with the variation by which the images popped up on the screen.  It was not until a year or so later that I realized, he was taking in the memories of the moments, recalling the emotions he felt in those photos.

As a new dad…I tried to capture every single moment I could of my son.  I was a proud papa!  I would capture all of the special moments, like our first trip to Disney World.  I did not take my first trip to Disney World until I was almost 30.  He had been 2 times before his 6th birthday.

Years later, he would talk about moments in those pictures, outside of the moments captured by the camera.  It was as if he was able to relive the snapshot of time over and over again by watching the pictures on my screensaver. Recently, I walked into his bedroom, he is 10 now, and he was looking through his 2nd grade yearbook, recalling memories of his classmates. He really values the memories that are captured through photos.

For families, pictures are very important and are worth so much more than 1000 words.  What I realized early on is that I was always the picture taker, but very seldom in the picture. Many people and families fail to take pictures, because of their own self image. Then I realized, pictures are really not for or about me.  Pictures help my son recount all of the loving memories of his childhood, times with his family, more specifically, quality time with his mom and memorable moments with his dad.  Memories happen without warning.

Again…Imagine if we, somehow, lost all of the data on our devices.  I know you’re thinking, “That will never happen, ’cause the thingy is backed up to the jigga-ma-bob, and the virtual cloud will kick in…I said imagine! …or watch Book of Eli!  

What if “later” never comes and your family does not have any photos of you or the entire family “together” to recount the lasting memories of YOU? Capturing, or better yet creating special moments, because ‘you don’t like to take pictures!’

Pictures are not about You!  I realized, I sometimes masked my uneasiness of taking pictures with always being the one behind the camera.  In the same way my son was able to spend so much time looking at images of himself, he should be able to reminisce about our family time together. #legacy

My wife loves a great family photo and she encourages us to take advantage of the opportunity every chance we get. Ugh! 🙂   We recently had a photoshoot with ImagesByMarcAnthouny.com  At Images By Marc Anthony, their slogan is “Capturing the Essence of You!” The images they took, truly embodies who we are as a family.  This is the first time I have experienced an emotion when looking at images of my family.  Images By Marc Anthony captured candids and staged poses that were natural as we simply enjoyed time together as a family.  It was like we were out enjoying a walk in the park.

My 10 year old son actually exclaimed, “Aawwwwww!” the first time he saw the images because Images by Marc Anthony “captured our essence” as a family.  We can now display images that represent who we are, not on social media, but on the walls of our home.  For generations, on walls of my son’s home and even his children will be able to see the love and joy their father and grandparents experienced as a family.

There is still immeasurable value in a photo album and framed family portrait.  I know we are in a digital age, but I can tell you first hand, this experience and quality time with family was a priceless investment whose returns will last beyond my lifetime.

Invest in your family.  It will live Beyond the Selfie Stick.

Parents: Silence Kills!

Posted: May 12, 2015 in Resources

Parents…Do you have control of your household or are unseen forces controlling you?

theoriginalmentor

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Remember when you first found out and you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Most of us, (well I will speak for me) I was not responsible enough in my on right, now, I am responsible for the existence and well being of someone else. A precious, gentle, little angel, a miracle, a bundle of joy (until you found out it was a boy, then he became a rugged, rough and tumble little boy). Sorry, I did not intend to sound sexist. I am dad…ok now I’m generalizing. Sorry…I will just move on. 🙂

I remember the feeling, the mountain of responsibility that I do not think anyone is really ready to take on. We may want it, but are we ever ready? There are plenty of classes and books like “What to Expect When Expecting” (which was a HUGE help to me), but none prepare you…

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6years ago today, I stepped out of MY comfort zone and entered into something that has been nothing short of amazing.  I have experienced, peace, joy, abundance, revelation, wisdom, guidance, pain, suffering, redemption, and growth.  

Leaving Corporate America, was uncertain, but true steps of faith will never be.

I encourage someone today, who is trying to decide if they have the strength to endure what you know God is telling you, but is afraid to leave what and who is standing between you and destiny.  

Harness the thought of lost opportunity and living a life beneath your potential to fuel your steps, because it helps you focus on what Can Be, instead of where you are and the possibility of not achieving it.  You would have never envisioned it, if God was not going to prepare you and provide the provision to make it come to pass.  

I have always dreamed of doing what I am doing now, just not in the environment that God chose to use me.  Do not limit your future because it does not align with what you desire.  Allow God room to move and He will bless you beyond what you can ask or think.  

What you have may be good, but remember that there is always a such thing as better. 

Welcome…I have walked into Victory and my life has not been the same!  #GodsWill

– Original Mentor OriginalMentor.com

“Being truly blessed is having things that money can not buy.”  Pastor Smokie Norful. #Hope




I Waited For You (www.p4cm.com)

Click the link above to see a great example of a man seeing through the layers of heart and pain.  An exampLe of a man, who heard her cries instead of her insults.  An example of a man, whose spirit connected in a way that felt better than the physical.  This is an example of a man, who was strong enough to love her unconditionally by remaining secure in who God made him to be.  

This is an example of a man who patiently waited for the women of his dreams to heal, grow, and become what and who he needed to share in this journey called life.

I pray that God covers their marriage and allows them to be a shining example of what marriage should be.  Marriage truly is bliss when we find the right person and not settle for the one who made us feel good but was not good for us.  

I could not resist sharing this video on my blog, because I am sure that so many can relate and be encouraged by their testimony.  

He or she is worth the wait.