Archive for Mentoring

Real Black Men Step Up

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on March 7, 2014 by Gary Johnson

David Caruth

By Dr. David Caruth

For five years, Black men in America have waited for President Obama to address the unique set of challenges we face year after year.  We all know the statistics: high unemployment rates, high dropout rates, and high incarceration rates.  Even worse, vigilante killers who murder young Black males walk free because we receive unequal treatment under the law.

Recently, President Obama launched a new initiative, “My Brothers Keeper” in a belated attempt to show concern for the pain Black men and our families feel and experience everyday of our lives.  While I applaud any effort the President of the United States takes to address our concerns, I am more impressed by leaders in the Black community who have taken matters into their own hands.

Last year, Pastor Eugene Sheppard of Living Word Church in South West Washington, DC put out a call for a Black Men Roundtable.  Nearly 40 pastors, ministers, and concerned members of our community showed up.  We discussed ways the Black Church could reach out to Black men in the community to repair brokenness in our families, provide guidance for our youth, and solutions for families who were negatively impacted from failed drug and welfare policies of the Clinton Administration.

In addition to pastors and ministers, Purnell Pinkney and John Kirksey, representing the American Renaissance Movement Inc. made passionate presentations concerning our need to act independently of party politics.  From their perspectives, we need to avoid secular liberal policies and support leaders who share our core values.

We identified 10 areas for concern that we want addressed:

1.               Absentee Fathers in the home

2.               Early education and intervention for our young men

3.               Employment

4.               Adult Education and Vocational Training

5.               Business and Entrepreneur training

6.               Preventive negative behavior intervention

7.               Transformational Change

8.               Mentoring

9.               Substance Abuse Counseling

10.            Job Fairs with on-the-spot interview and hiring

In a recent New York Times article by Michael Shear, “Obama Starts Initiative for Young Black Men, Noting His Own Experience,” Mr. Shear made it plain that President Obama’s belated concern with the plight of young Black males appears to be window dressing to shore up his legacy on race relations in America.

“Mr. Obama’s remarks come as the end of his time in office is in sight, with the president mindful of the legacy that his administration will leave behind on race and other civil rights issues like same-sex marriage and immigration. Mr. Obama has embraced the right of gay men and lesbians to marry, and Eric H. Holder Jr., his attorney general, has aggressively sought to ensure that all eligible Americans have access to the ballot box.” Shear, February 27, 2014.

From where I stand, President Obama’s choices to lead Cabinet-level executive agencies have failed to address the concerns that we identified. In fact, former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp did more to address the needs of the Black community than any of President Obama’s choices to lead domestic policies.

Secretary Kemp made grant funds available to eliminate drug use and fight the violence that comes with it.  We are still waiting for President Obama’s HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, to provide leadership that will positively impact the lives of young black males who find themselves surrounded by poverty, drugs, and gun toting vigilantes.  While we wait, I stand with progressive Black men who are not waiting for government to provide solutions to our problems.

Black men should take every opportunity to work directly with foundations and other private entities that understand what one nation under God, means.  Real Black Men need to Step up and provide the kind of leadership that is necessary to help transform our country, protect our youth, and strengthen our families.

As the President of God’s Perfect Timing Ministries, I invite you to join our efforts to eliminate poverty.  Together, we can begin the healing process and live out the true meaning our creed, “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.”


Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , on February 20, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

*A mentor is NOT a personal or verbal punching bag.

*A mentor is NOT a person to be disrespected.

*A mentor is NOT a person whom YOU seek–they seek YOU!

*A mentor is NOT an ATM that you may tap at will.

*A mentor is NOT a person who will always tell you that you are right.


*A mentor CAN NOT undo your past, but CAN point you in the right direction.

*Mentors CAN NOT fight your battles, but CAN teach you how to fight your OWN battles.

*Mentors CAN NOT change your attitude, but CAN give you the tools to check yourself out!

*A mentor CAN NOT tell you only the good things, but CAN share the good and the bad about your abilities to help you correct shortcomings.

*An effective Mentor SHOULD NOT be of the opposite sex, but SHOULD BE a born again, Bible believing Christian who has been where the one being mentored IS going to go.


*A willingness to let the person being mentored GO. Meaning that the mentor’s job ends when it is time to let that individual go out and DO what they have been trained to do.

*A willingness to provide Biblical TRUTH. Sure, war stories are nice…but training someone else to fight life’s battles on their own is the main objective. The person is NOT a carbon copy of the mentor; but have been taught the truths of life–good and bad.

*One CAN NOT mentor via long distance. A mentor has to let individuals IN CLOSE for not only instruction, but also up-close observation. It is one thing to tell someone how to handle something. It is another to let them SEE how YOU handle the matter you are trying to convey.

*A willingness to INVEST in the person being mentored. This means coming out of the pocket of the mentor. Books, magazine articles, newspapers…even a new Bible if needed. Bottom line–the spoken word is effective; but giving someone something to take home with them–for homework and future study–is great!

*Modeling of character in the face of adversity. This is where the rubber meets the road. How the mentor handles disappointment, tragedy, loss, reversal, and loneliness is the fuel that gives the one being mentored the strength to go on.

*A Mentor NEEDS to be involved for the LONG HAUL. It may take weeks, months or even years of effort to teach the one being mentored the ropes of the business or discipline that one is entering.


*Loyalty: A person being mentored cannot afford to harbor a spirit of ingratitude towards their mentor. They also cannot give in to ‘gossip’ or ‘innuendo’ that happens to surface about their mentor.

*Patience: A person being mentored MUST be patient with their mentor AND themselves.

*Professionalism: A person being mentored must keep the relationship above board.

*Punctuality and Observation: Be on time, or have the flexibility of time.

*Respect: At all times, respect your elders who are taking the time to train you.

*Reflection: Take the time to ‘chew on’ what you have been taught. It may come in large chunks, or small portions. The biblical admonition: Write it down and make it plain!

*Gratitude: Always take the time to thank those who have helped you ‘grow up’ and mature.

*Becoming a mentor: Eventually, you will have the opportunity to ‘pass on’ what you have learned to another individual or small, select group of individuals. After all–someone took a chance on you!

*If you can live to be forgotten and possibly re-forgotten, you have a great life ahead of you as a Mentor.

The Ramey definition of a mentor: An older person–oftentimes of the same sex– who will serve to guide, to teach, and to equip you to succeed at a particular stage in your life–and will let you go on to be successful. This may not be a ‘by the book’ definition, but one based upon my personal reflection, observation and experience.

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