INVEST IN YOURSELF
I would like to take the time to welcome each reader to “THE MANHOOD LINE,” a column written to put forth solutions for men, regardless of their color, achievements, age or problems.
Let me say from the outset that this column is unique. It is not a column to show women where their problems may be. However, this column it is an answer for many, many, many men whom you and I know are tired of being labeled as monsters, misfits, or idiots. Brothers, we are here to answer your questions, share in your joys, and set down REAL solutions for what ails you.
This is YOUR column, written from a biblical, business and common-sense perspective! I’ll tell you up front: some of it will give you a real workout. I encourage you—keep on reading and feel free to share this column with other brothers!
Please remember the following statement: Manhood—like anything else—requires training, preferably from other upright men. To be a man is not a matter of age, but maturity. Learning from mistakes. Not compromising when others around you are ‘quick’ to roll over. Taking risks while others are content to stay where it is safe. Being responsible when it is easier to cut and run. Helping others instead of helping yourself. Not selling out your brothers—or your people—to gain favor, power, money OR all three.
The single factor in my putting keys to electronic paper? I am tired of seeing regular, hard-working, God-fearing, family-oriented men—of all colors—run over repeatedly by a bunch of hard-headed folks of both genders who happen to be inflated in their own minds by their positions in the mainstream mess, Hollywood, politics, sports or business.
Men have been taking it on the chin, the shins, and over their heads from big mouths who have been taking men to task, but who in and of themselves have had little success in their OWN lives. Brothers, we have been forcibly cut from our rightful leadership roles and been drifting into roles not meant for us. If you do not know who you are, how can you expect anyone else to respect you, or take you seriously? First tip; this African Proverb: “It’s not what you call me…but what I answer to!” I’m all about helping you to discover who you are and get you ready for where God wants you to be!
Who am I to take on this task? I will be writing from this perspective: I am a Christian, an African American man, a Minister and a whole lot more. I have survived in a society which would have written me off long ago if I did not have faith in God. While I am far from perfect and have skinned my knees more than a few times neither am I “politically correct”.
A few years back I had a conversation with a 20-something woman about what qualities she desired in an ‘ideal’ man. She listed money and the materialistic list just kept on going and growing. Nothing said about the spiritual depth to a brother. After she put forth her wish list I asked her what she was willing to offer a man once she found these things that she claimed to want in a ‘relationship’. She went silent. Then, we ended the conversation.
Brothers, there are more women out there in society just like this one. Worse yet, because of the feminization of America, some of them have money, power or both! They don’t know how to be ‘upright’ women, so they eagerly hunt for ‘confused’ men…and get upset when they get what they want! The KJV Bible is clear in its warnings in The Book of Proverbs: Avoid such women like the Wuhan Virus. Sure, she may take your breath away, brother but she may eventually have you carried way. Remember what happened to Samson, Amen?
Let me drop this wisdom nugget. Beware the woman who will insist upon you respecting her but will not reciprocate that same respect towards you. Next, beware the woman who is jealous of you having or keeping good, solid male friendships. Men DO need to hang out at times with their tribe apart from women. Lastly, beware of the woman who takes…and will not support your ‘growing’ as a man.
For far too long, society has said that there is something wrong with men—especially men of color. “Fix them!” Has been the SJW ‘rallying cry’. The ‘pointy head’ coalition of social engineers have piled on. Commissions have been formed to ‘address’ the problems of young Black men. I could go on and on. However, whenever we bring up the matter of having men involved in building a spiritual foundation and working on character, education, job skills, and staying crime free, this same ‘podcast warrior’ bunch go silent. They have never read the works of Booker T. Washington, Tony Brown or Thomas Sowell.
There are rich and powerful men who have—with a smile on their lips—sought to destroy the talented man, and the hard-working man. Then we have the misguided soldiers of Homosexuality and Transgenderism trying to ‘punk out’ the spiritual man and moral man. Lastly, we have single and married women who have worked hard to seduce the loyal family man.
Let us understand one thing…WE are in a WAR! Efforts are firmly underway to destroy men in this country. In the words of Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson, author of “The Assassination of the Black Male Image” (Middle Passage Press): “We should have LISTENED and believed our parents and grandparents. They were neither revolutionary, nor the vanguard. They always talked about religion, country, moral values, and basic rights. Period.”
Brothers, in warfare, there are no ties. You either enter the arena to come out victorious or remain a casualty. Over the years, I have seen more casualties than victorious young men because they have been encouraged by our ‘social media generation’ that one may have experience without needing wisdom; that being ‘liked’ on a platform is important and someone else will clean up their ‘mess’. Further, there is a belief among many young men that it is alright to ‘exist’ instead of learning the skills and education fundamentals for growth.
One other thing that I’ve seen among young men: an attitude of anger towards their friends and older Black brothers who have made the effort to make it in life. Instead of humbling themselves (Micah 6:8 KJV) and getting involved with their OWN upkeep and advancement, these young men sit with their arms folded and lips stuck out.
Brothers, I have some harsh news for you. No one cares if you pout and quit on life. This is the quickest way to become a statistic. Furthermore, if you are bound and determine to wear your hair long and braided; if you are content with an earring or two plus some polish on your nails do NOT be shocked when other men (and many women) will not want to hire you!
If our men in the house are looking for a challenge for the upcoming year, I have a simple one: “Invest In Yourself!” The title of this column; our sailing out on the seas of manhood, comes from the late Pastor Gene C. Baker, Indianapolis, Indiana. He was a man’s man. A hard-working preacher, one of my mentors when I started out into the ministry.
One of my first pieces of advice for a young brother: Find an older, upright man who is doing what you want to do and learn from him. Take the good points, shed the bad points, and learn, learn, learn! When you are assaulting the rocky cliffs of manhood, talking should be kept to a minimum. No one cares how many times you ‘beat’ a video game! Your ‘rookie years’ are the ones that will help ‘grow you’ to not only become a successful man; they will form the bedrock of your survival skills when—and if—bad times cross your path. Pastor Baker had a great piece of advice for young preachers who were first starting out: “If you can’t preach to two…you won’t be able to preach to two thousand.” In other words, you need to prepare your ministry just as hard for a small group as you would for a large crowd.
A man must make the effort to prepare himself; INVEST the time, talent and sweat needed to build yourself that career or relationship you are seeking and to build yourself to face the time in history which you are challenging. An unprepared man is sure to become a casualty in the arena of life. God favors the man who not only walks with Him but takes the time to grow under the training of the men whom He has sent their way.
How can a man hope to open a business if he has not invested in learning how to get one going? How can a man earn a promotion on his job if he has not taken the steps needed to meet the qualifications? How can a man preach the gospel effectively if he refuses to spend time in prayer and Bible study? One other point I’d like to add: When life reverses on you, and you find yourself out on the losing end, it is the invested man; the prepared man who will be able to pick himself up, shake off the losses and disappointment and move forward to rebuild success for himself and those around him.
You have a computer in your hands, brothers. How are you using it? Spending time watching garbage that stunts your maturity, or finding on-line articles, podcasts and courses that will grow you into a solid man ready to advance to the next level of life? All it takes is for you to decide to invest in yourself. That way, you’ll be ready to invest in others when the need arises.
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Syndicated Columnist and Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Consultant from Indianapolis, Indiana. Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE: THE GOLD FILES. Bringing back some of the classic THE MANHOOD LINE columns for a new generation of men. THE MANHOOD LINE was and is a syndicated, monthly column, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective FOR MEN. Email welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org. ©1996, 2021 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (2).