Wednesday, May 09, 2007

outside the box

On the days I do not have to take my son to school in the morning, I take a short cut off of Sylvan Road on 85-North so I won’t have to be caught up in the traffic heading towards and through downtown Atlanta. This past Monday I took this route. Passing the same old sights, I approached Sylvan Middle School. At the light, I saw a bevy of four boys. I suspected they were all heading to school. Fresh haircuts, White Tee’s and Air force ones, they were all laughing, walking, and smiling. I noticed that of the four boys, only one had books in his hand.

While at the light, I turned out my window and asked, “Yawl on yawl way to school?”

“Several of the boys responded “yea.”

“Come here little daddy, no not you, the one with the books in his hand.” He came over and said, “Yes sir?” I gave him five dollars and said. “I like that, always keep your books with you, I mean you take them too and from school-don't you? You be doing your home work all the time don’t you?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well good.” All of this happened within 30 seconds. One of the other boys asked if I would give him five dollars too. I said naw folk; you don’t have any books in your hand.” I drove off.

This was Monday. Today I am taking the same short cut. I see the same boys. They all waved at me as if they were trying to flag me down. Again, I stopped at the light. This time they all had their books with them. They even held them up to me with a smile. I called them over to the car and gave each of the four five dollars. Now I am broke, and I have no lunch money, but I feel richer than a motherfucker and I am still smiling as I pen this essay. We all can make a difference, guess we gotta try sometimes and just think outside the box.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now do you see how easy that was to make a difference in our youth? We need more men like you that are willing to take a step outside of the box and reach out to our youth. Kids do pay attention and believe it or not, they do listen when we speak to them most of the time. We as adults, have nothing to lose when reaching out to our youth. Why not reward them when they are doing good things...the right things.....that will encourage their peers to step their game up and do the right thing as well, as they did in this situation. "Mi-Mi"

Anonymous said...

What kind of book did they have though, "Rock Star Stud Gigolo" or "Fast and Gamin" or "How To Make It in the Rap Game?
...Nature

Mega Rich said...

Man, that was off the chain. I loved that. I wish I was there to give you some ends. That, my brother, was powerful lesson.

Keep doing you. You make me proud.

Ladynay said...

That was a cool thing relating to them in terms they hear. I do wonder if the other 3 actually OPEN their books though.

Jihan said...

Now I may have to take you out to lunch. There is nothing more encouraging to a young black man than another black man (or $5, lol). Either way I hope these boys will take this experience and glean more than $5 from it.

poison said...

I applaud what your heart lead you to do--and that was to take time out to inspire and motivate those young men...May the Universe continue to bless you RDB...

Homegirl said...

It is a refreshing acknowledgement to the theme “It takes a Village”. Dr. Stephens is one of few faculty that takes an initiative to step outside the box, and tell it like it TIS. Of course this probably keeps him in deep do-do with the main stream. However, the way I see it, he is a lot like we “were” during the days of our spearheading the “revolution” in the '70s before we had to re-group and focus on raising our children and making sure we had decent housing and a few days of groceries. I often wonder if the financial demands of those times weren’t so tough, couldn’t we have made much more of an impact. While I know our efforts produced some serious changes—what if we could have been more forceful without the repercussions of job lost or murder for being outright “hell no” to unjustice and unrighteouness. I’ve been feeling the itch for over a year now, so I’ll let you know if I get the posse together.

By the way, Dr. Stephens (Rawdawg) is an Associate Professor, hands on single father of two. His energy level is akin to the speed of light!!!

Anonymous said...

Thats pretty cool; all those kids needed was for somebody to show that they cared.

Mizrepresent said...

T, I loved this! You are the man....but i already knew that! Good looking out for our young men, good looking out!

DJ Black Adam said...

Man, that is the best thing I have read in months. More power to you brother.

Girly_Girl said...

This is the best post EVER!!! You have inspired me beyond measure.

MsJayy said...

That was a beautiful thing. Next time ask to see their homework. Heck, I'll even send you some funds via paypal. :O)

Anonymous said...

thanks folk, i hope it made a difference-RDB

La said...

I lived and went to school right around there. Right off Sylvan going deeper into the SWATS.

So many of the boys I remember going to high school with didn't have anyone at all, let alone a random stranger to tell them that education was cooler than being in the streets. Most of them are lost now, on the streets, in jail, dead or just missing. But they were good boys who just never really had anyone to show them how to be men. I loved those boys. I didn't agree with the things I saw them doing, but they had heart. And I wish that someone had taken a moment to pull over on the side of the road and encourage them. God bless you for having heart.

Sheletha said...

That was absolutly phenomenal!! Continue to be a blessing to those you meet!!!

the joy said...

Way to show them that work pays. Sometimes its quick, sometimes its earned. They never know when you could show up in bankhead again. But they'll have those books and they might even crack em.

plez... said...

Kudos to you, my brother! And you probably felt so good about your accomplishment that morning, I bet you weren't even hungry at lunch!

By the way, I understand that you are a professor at a local college/university... what do you teach?

JustMeWriting said...

You're right...that did make me feel better. Oh, the difference we can make when we invest in our children... I LOVE THAT.. thank you. Now, I'm speechless again, but with a smile... LOL.

Anonymous said...

U are very generous, but Considering the fact that i do my homework daily and carry ma books to school all the damn time, u ought to buy me a house daddy.
"If half the men ar'd here were like u, who knows, maybe w'all wud be happy in this world."

Lena said...

Aw that's a cute story. However, I do have a bone to pick with you reading this. Do you think those boys started carrying their books because they were actually reading them or because they hoped to get five dollars out of them? Its like that thing in th enews a while back about paying children to go to tutoring, I forgot what county it was. I thought it was stupid because even though they may learn what they need to learn to pass a test, are they learning what they need to learn about life and the value of hard work is rewarding in itself?

Jay Midnyte said...

Wow the little things work like that huh?

BeKinky_Paula said...

Thats so cool. Those boys will remember that forever...hopefully that motivates them to read and do their homework lol

Dee S. said...

Really wish I could bring you some lunch today. I hope someone treats you today.

Lena: I thought about that same thing when my daughter began 3rd grade this year. How do I motivate her to study, outside of being an example of a constant student of the world, which I do. However, I do treat her when she takes a good first step. My motivation as a student was to make my mom proud and I know she wants to make proud.

But I don't know how we engage students whose parents don't foster a reverence for education on them from the very beginning of their lives.

I would like to believe that after these boys carry their books home for a while. If they haven't already, they may want to crack it open eventually.

Urban Thought said...

That is something kinda wonderful right there. Indeed, that is outside the box. But I'm sure you are richer in spirit for it. Hope the hunger pangs didn't hit too hard.

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