It was a cool and cloudy early Monday morning when I met a young man, Someone's son and a member of the Next Generation of Husbands, Fathers, and Leaders. Although he is someone's son -- he is really OUR son -- OUR future -- OUR bridge to the future. So, how did I meet this young man and what is this story all about? It was a chance meeting. Had I started my journey earlier and caught an earlier bus, our paths would not have crossed. We disembarked from the bus at the same stop. .I got up from my seat and as I exited the bus, I heard footsteps behind me. So, I casually looked to the side so I could see who was walking behind me. It was a young man, about 5' 7", wearing a hoodie with a backpack strapped to his back. There is a charter school about one block away. So, he was on his way to school. For some reason, we both found ourselves waiting at the corner for the traffic light to change from red to green. There we were standing side by side.
I turned to the young man and said, "Have a good day at school."
He turned around and flashed a big smile and responded, "Thank you."
"So, what grade are you in?" I asked as we walked across the street.
"Twelfth," he said proudly as his chocolate brown eyes sparkled.
"So, you're going to graduate from high school this year," I responded.
"Yes," the young man said as he looked at me with eyes that sparkled and a smile that illuminated his face.
"So, are you going to college?" I asked.
He hesitated for a moment and then said, "Well, yeah, I mean, I'm trying to."
"Take care," I said as I smiled warmly.
We both went in different directions. He was off to start a new day and a new week at school.
The most striking thing to me -- and what I will remember most from the very brief conversation that I had with this young man -- is his reaction to someone -- an adult -- speaking to him. An adult who acknowledged his presence. This young man who is not only someone's son . .. but our son . . . wants and needs affirmation.
I learned a valuable lesson from this young man.
What did I learn?
How vulnerable our sons really are and why it is so very very necessary that we begin "speaking to OUR sons" -- the young men that we encounter as we go about our daily routine. ."Speaking to OUR sons" is simple. It can come in the form of a simple "Good Morning" or "Hello, young man".
We must start "speaking to our sons" with words of caring, love, and affirmation. We need to take a minute to step out of our world and jump into the world of OUR sons.