Left at the Door
Have you ever come into someone's home and waited at the door for instructions on what to do? Or have you ever been invited somewhere and your inviter greets you at the door and then walks away?
This is what I believe is happening in our young black men we are leaving them at the door and leave them to find their way.
I mean this not only in philosophical way that we are leaving them at the door of opportunity and change but also in a very practical way. I will spare you the philosophical for now and talk the practical.
As a young black man I’ve walked into many rooms, and even more recently where there is little to no one who looks like me. I may recognize a face here and there that I’ve seen at another gathering but I don’t believe that there is enough of a connection to approach them for a conversation. I even sometimes was greeted by them but they left me at the door. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this feeling. It’s like being in a nightclub alone not only is the situation difficult but it also leaves you exposed and vulnerable to the wrong person.
Some of us, including myself, have been guilty of even inviting young people to OUR parties, events and meetings but then “leaving them at the door.”
We need to help bridge the connections even if it's a simple:
“Hey come walk with me and I'll introduce you to some folks and you can hang around me tonight”
Just the fact of them being introduced by you validates them and allowing them to be involved in your conversations without necessarily pressure to speak is a great opportunity to learn!
That is how I learned, How I expanded my vocabulary, and How I knew what topics or words I needed to go Google when I got home
Now I can hear some of you saying... “Well that's not how I learned”
Well isn’t the point for us to make it easier for the next generation? To blaze a trail where we have been so that they can focus on figuring out where they are going.
I can also hear the prestigious saying that “My conversations are classified and of the upmost importance!”
And I understand discussing matters such as the most recent political scandal or the latest sports headline is important, but that aside we do have conversations of substance at times that could really help our young people. Not to mention keeping young people around us keeps us honest and gives a conviction to talk about REAL things.
Make a vow that the next time you see a young minority alone at an event or community meeting, especially if you recognize them, you will approach them. Ask them what their name is! Ask where they’re from! Tell them to come meet some folks you know! Engage them! (which can just be them actively listening!). Let's welcome them! Embrace them! Encourage them!
"It is not good for man to be alone" - Gen 2:18; "Better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off." - Proverbs 27:10; “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” - Ecclesiastes 4:12