To My Grandchildren: Lamar, Isa, Nasir, Ali and Blessing:

There’s an old saying: “Youth is wasted on the young.”

This adage rings truer to me each day.  Unfortunately, the more I think about this maxim, the more youngsters I see who validate this statement’s truth. I’m sure that many in my cohort see this as well.

I feel incredibly blessed that through this letter I am able to converse with you to help increase the chances you don’t waste your youth.

I’m also blessed to share my thoughts with you since I never knew my grandparents on my mother’s or father’s side.

I remember my maternal grandmother slightly, but I was too young to hold meaningful conversations with her before she passed away. I never had an opportunity to see my grandfathers. For someone my age (70)  that’s not unusual.  I’m pretty sure the life expectancy of African American males born in the late 1800s was lower then, than now, maybe the life expectancy was between ages 45 and 50.

I will be sharing what I have already shared with my children.

I have always made it a point to communicate with your mothers and fathers because of my frustration about not having the opportunity to hold meaningful conversations with my father, your paternal great grandfather.

Don’t get me wrong; my father was always there.  My family was stable. My father wasn’t a talker; he was a worker.  Always working, he helped establish and run one of the most successful funeral homes in New York City, “Unity Funeral Home.”

My mother, on the other hand, was a great communicator.  She was a fantastic educator and an inspiration to all her immediate and extended family.  (I’ll share her accomplishments in another blog.)

What would I like to say to you?

Stay focused on the good things in this life.

What are these?  Ideas and activities that help you grow spiritually, mentally, and physically.

Don’t get distracted. Many temptations will come your way, and many of  these distractions are explicitly aimed at our African American community to keep us underdeveloped and always dependent on other folks to provide for our needs.

To break this cycle of dependency, strive to be as educated as you can.

Education is essential. Our world respects “formal education.” A formal education will make it easier for you to support yourself and your family financially.

But also,

  • Learn about yourself and the roots of your family and ancestors. “Know yourself.” Study the accomplishments of current and past family members.
  • Build a strong moral and religious base. This foundation will fortify you for the many “tests” life will send your way. Understand that we all have trials in this life! Bar none!  The Creator sends us challenges to test our faith and the strength of character.
  • Remember: You’re not alone when you have to deal with the stuff life throws at you.
  • Stay strong and patiently persevere through all the storms that will come up in your life.
  • Stay on the straight path of high moral character and living right.
  • Respect others and their property and relationships, just as you want them to respect you.
  • Strive always to do the best you can in whatever it is you are doing.
  • Fulfill your potential. Allah has blessed us all with great potential. Always try your best to fulfill yours. Allah says “be,” and it “is.” But in between “the be” and “the is,” we have to put in the work to accomplish great things.

That’s all for now.

Remember, life’s a wide-open field for men and women who are wide-awake. Stay Woke!

I love you all, and may Allah bless you and reward you in this and the next life.


Big Daddy

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