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Breaking the Cycles of Fatherlessness & Poverty

The SOM Blog

Real Talk

Dear Young Man... Who are you?

Darryl W. Thomas, Jr.

November 24, 2017

Dear Young Man,

Who are you?  Do you know who you are?  I'm not asking you to tell me your name.  Neither am I asking you if you know your name.

What is your identity?  Do you know your purpose?  Do you know your reason for existence?

Let me say this... you are a VIP (Very Important Person).  In fact, you are an extremely important person!  You are not only valuable, but you are vital to our society, to our community and to your family.  Our society and community need you more than you may ever realize.  Your family cannot function properly without you.  You are vital.  You are irreplaceable.  You make a huge difference.  But the difference you make and the impact that you have depends on how you see yourself.  

This is why the first question (Who are you?) is so important to consider.  The truth is the way that you see yourself is how you conduct yourself.  If you see yourself as one who is unworthy and not worth much, you will carry yourself in that manner.   If you see yourself as being confident and self-assured, you will present yourself in that manner.  If you see yourself as a victim in life, you will go about looking for examples of you being treated as a victim.  If you see yourself as a winner, you won't quit and will find a reason to keep going in spite of the obstacles before you.  

In the words of Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."  What you tell yourself not only matters, but you also believe what you tell yourself.  The Holy Bible says it this way, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."  So who are you?

Once again, you are valuable and vital.  You are extremely important to our society, to our community and to your family.  Do NOT let anyone [including yourself] tell you differently.  I know that you may be thinking, "But, you don't know me, Mr. Thomas."  You may be wondering, "How can you say something like this?"  

Well, not too long ago, almost 20 years ago, I was there where you are.  Believe it or not, I used to be a teenager at one time.  I was a little boy that was forced to grow up much faster than most boys.  I experienced unfair situations. From my dad abusing women to my mom abusing drugs to my dad and mom being split (or divorced).  My family was poor and we lived in gang-infested and crime-stricken neighborhoods.  I get it.  

Life hasn't been fair for me.  Life hasn't been anywhere close to being perfect.  Life has hit me hard.  But I am forever grateful for the hard hits, the less-than-perfect life, and the unfair treatment.  Why?  Because I have come to know who I am in the process.  Slowly, my identity is becoming clearer to me.  With every obstacle and every hardship and every test, I learn a little bit more about myself.  

I've learned that I am less than perfect and that I am NOT superman.  I've learned that I do have pride issues and I rather suffer alone than ask for help.  I've learned that I can be impatient and rush the process at times.  I've learned that even though I may look like I have it all together that there are times that stress does get the best of me.  I have been crushed by the pressures of life. 

On the flip side, I've learned some positive things about myself.  First of all, I am a lot stronger than I thought because I am still alive to tell about it.  I've learned that I am resilient and that I really can be patient. I've learned that I am a winner, a problem-solver, a leader, a warrior, an overcomer, and a valuable member of society and in my family.  I've discovered that I am born for greatness.  

You know what else I've learned?  I've learned that I have some special people in my life that really do care for me.  These same people truly want to see me succeed, and they are willing to help me to do so if I would just let them.  These people have my back for real.  But I would never know that if I didn't get to a place where I needed them and was brave enough to ask them for their help.  It's true.

This doesn't just apply to me, but it applies to you as well.  You are more than what you see in the mirror - much more.  You are powerful beyond measure!  But if you are never tested, then how will you ever know your value?  Young man, you are a strong leader, a resilient overcomer, a patient problem-solver, a valuable member of society and in your family, and a warrior who was born for greatness!  You are a winner!  Don't you ever forget that. 

Is life easy?  Of course not.  Is it fair?  Not at all.  Truthfully, I wouldn't want for it to be.  If it was, neither you nor I would know who we are and what we were made of.  And we wouldn't know how irreplaceable and how priceless we really are.

My challenge to you is the next time you are faced with an obstacle, I challenge you to look at it differently.  First, be encouraged because the mere fact that you are being tested says that you are ready to pass the test.  Secondly, get excited because you are about to discover a new thing about yourself that makes you unique and great!  You are greatness, young man!!


Darryl W. Thomas, Jr.