October 11, 2014

President Obama Speaking Truth to Young Men

In the video clip below, President Obama is talking about the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge he issued in September of 2014. He is speaking to the progress being made in calling men into service to young males. He describes a very long list of organizations, agencies, cities, and businesses that are all starting initiatives in support of (mostly) young men of color.

The President says America is realizing we won't succeed as a country unless our young people are successful, and that's why he's putting out this call to action. It's a beautiful thing to hear, especially for those of us who've been in man-making work for a long time.

What I liked so much is that he leads with his own very personal story of being a fatherless boy and support he got from his single mother and grandparents. It's a familiar story to those of us in the man-making field, but wonderful example of real vulnerability and hard truth-telling from a very powerful man.

. . . a wonderful example of
real vulnerability and hard truth-telling
from a very powerful man.

In the Question and Answer time, the President continues to tell it like it was when he admits to being a young teen male without direction, other than "misplaced goals" focused on basketball. As he got into high school and even in early college, the President confessed he didn't take his opportunities seriously and was "enjoying myself a little bit too much." I really liked his admission that, with all his privileges, many "second chances," and having access to advanced education, he was still very much a lost young man. That condition didn't change for President Obama until his twenties, when the young male brain starts to get better wired. That is when he started to look toward the future and take himself and his life seriously.

. . . the President confessed he was
"enjoying myself a little bit too much."

You will hear the President answer hard questions, like the one about how he learned to be a good father when he only met his dad once when he was 10. He speaks to the values all parents should teach their kids, and the power of an involved father or, for fatherless young guys, the importance of a caring adult man in a young boy's life.

I think the President Obama modeling truth-telling in this video is inspirational. That and the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge are great gifts to man-making from the President of the United States.

If this clip doesn't show up use this link.

You wouldn't be reading this at all if you didn't already care about what happens to our young men. If you're already working with some young guys, why not share the video with them and get their reactions. It's a powerful call to positive manhood from a very important place.

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