Don’t Give Up on Your Mentees

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Mentoring

(Photo Credit: Every Day Is School)

Effective mentors never give up on their mentees.  Your mentees may make mistake after mistake, but they still need great mentors in their lives to continue to encourage them to do better.  We all have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  Your punishment for your mentee, therefore, shouldn’t be to abandon him or her.  Too many phony mentors stop mentoring their mentees when the mentees aren’t performing well.  Many of these phony mentors simply desire to brag about what they’ve done for their mentees, so when the mentees are struggling to progress, this prevents them from engaging in vain self-promotion.  Your mentee should never have to wander around and search for a new mentor, and/or seek the guidance of another mentor simply because you don’t feel like being bothered with him or her any longer.

Authentic and effective mentors never make mentoring about them—they always make it about those they mentor.

To be an effective mentor, you have to have a true love for helping people.  The person you’re mentoring needs your help and love.  When you’re a selfish mentor, you lack the love necessary to be useful not only to your mentee but also to yourself.  True mentors don’t engage in self-aggrandizement; they aren’t vain people. You have some pathetic mentors who don’t want their mentees to have achievements greater than their own.

Mentoring is serious business.  If you’re not truly interested in helping people to progress in their various endeavors, then stop calling yourself a “mentor” and stop pretending like you’re so serious about mentoring. You need to recognize when you shouldn’t be mentoring anyone; you’re the one who needs to be mentored.

No one said mentoring is easy.  You’re going to experience some challenges and problems while mentoring. Those challenges and problems shouldn’t cause you to become a coward and run away from them and your mentees. Those problems and challenges should come to make you an even more effective mentor by you learning to tackle them boldly and directly.  Too many of our vulnerable young people are being lost because mentors are giving up on them.  Many mentors often give up on these young people simply because they sometimes didn’t do what the mentors told them to do.  Well, how many times did your mother and/or father tell you to do something and you didn’t do it? Exactly. Did your mother and/or father give up on you?  Why give up on your mentees then?

Your mentee shouldn’t feel more comfortable talking to another mentor and seeking the guidance of another mentor more than you.  When this happens, you’ve done some things that have made your mentee lack confidence in you.  One of the ways you can cause your mentee to lack confidence in you is to avoid him or her.  Constantly letting the mentee’s calls get answered by voicemail is a sure way to evince your disinterest. Stop avoiding his or her calls and be honest with him or her about how you’re feeling. Communicate your displeasures with him or her.  Don’t be afraid to demand him or her to do better than he or she is currently doing.  If you’re going to be an effective mentor, then you have to be willing to have frank discourses with your mentees.  Although the conversations may be unpleasant at first, they will learn how beneficial it is for you to be open and candid with them.

If your mentee seems to change his or her mind frequently about career goals, don’t become frustrated with him or her.  View this as an opportunity to assist them in becoming more focused and committed to specific career aspirations.  Working in collaboration with your mentee, devise a plan to aid him or her in accomplishing career aspirations.  He or she will have some specific things to work towards and focus on, diminishing those proclivities to shift frequently from one desired career to another.  If you give your mentee time to talk to you, you may discover that it’s really not changes in career goals he or she really has but simply a longing to have someone listen to him or her.  To be an effective mentor, you have to recognize when your mentee simply needs to talk to someone, and the successful mentor makes himself available to listen.

When another mentor has to devote a significant amount of more time to your mentee than you spend with him or her, you’re simply a pathetic mentor.  What you need to do is go back and sincerely assess whether you were committed to being a mentor in the first place.  Don’t let your failure to be there for your mentee result in him or her becoming a victim of depression, which can lead him or her to committing suicide.  Do you really want that on your conscious?

Your mentee needs you.  Don’t give up on him or her.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Overcoming Undercover Enemies

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Backstabber

(Photo Credit: Money Matters 101)

Your greatest enemies may not be the folks you think: they may be the people you least think.  It’s vital for you to keep your eyes and ears tuned to what’s going on around you. By doing this, you can become more aware of things that can be transpiring behind your back.  Unfortunately, too many people hang around individuals who they think support them, but behind-the-scenes they’re stabbing them in the back.  Yes, folks will laugh with you on the phone and when you hang out, but that does not mean they really like you. They may be using their ability to stay in close connection with you to plan and execute their evil hidden agendas.

Watch out for those people who are always talking about someone to you; chances are they’re talking about you with someone else.

We often don’t engage in enough careful thought about the people in our lives.  Those people you allow in your lives can be some of the very individuals causing you to experience the most vexing problems.  From my experience with people who have been my undercover enemies, I can tell you that I didn’t take serious the warning signs they might be or become my enemies.  While I placed trust in them and devoted significant time to them, I failed to recognize the impact their selfishness and low self-esteem would have on me.  When you love someone, a natural proclivity to accept all that comes with him or her surfaces.  I Peter 1:8 informs us that “love covers a multitude of sins.”  When you have true love for someone, it will, indeed, cover a multitude of  his or her sins.  What you have to do, however, is not allow your love for people to keep you in a state of blindness.

When people don’t really care for you, they will do some direct and subtle things to you.  It’s your job to look for those direct and subtle things.  The subtle things can be the most challenging to detect, however.  What I have found to be one of the most useful ways to determine if someone close to me or someone I spend a considerable amount of time with is really against me is to have honest conversations with him or her about our relationship.  I’ve learned to ask the following questions and more: What do you like most about me? Why do you enjoy spending time with me?  What do you dislike most about me?  What’s one quality you adore most about the person you admire most?  When you ask the aforementioned questions and more, observe any selfishness you see in the responses and any low self-esteem that could ultimately cause problems in your relationship.  Look for any uneasiness the person has speaking about the relationship you share.

If you talk to a person long enough, he or she will tell you everything.

Again, I’ve had some enemies I was unable to identify, but I’ve provided you with ways to recognize your own undercover enemies.  Although you might not want to hear it, you should watch out everyone; nothing’s wrong with being too careful.  Even your closest friends and family members may allow themselves to be used by the forces of evil.

What do you do now that you’ve identified your undercover enemies?  Don’t let them know you know who they really are.  Discontinue hanging out with them and talking to them on the phone.  Let the relationship die a natural death.  Most of your undercover enemies are arrogant enough to think you’ll never discover who they really are, and they will think they hold a certain power over you with this “secret knowledge.”  You will, however, be the one with the real knowledge and power.  You will have removed their disguises and they will not even know it, and you will have the power to turn their evil plans upside down—they’ll never see it coming!

What are some of the problems you struggle with?  Share those problems with me.  We may be able to arrive at some solutions together.  It’s a good thing to converse with people who are genuinely committed to helping you solve your problems.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jesus Didn’t Die to Condemn You: The Gospel of Grace

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Black Preacher

(Photo Credit: Rap Genius)

One of the primary reasons why many churches are doing an ineffective job of evangelizing is they fail to reverence the Gospel of Grace in their teaching (if any teaching is going on at all) and preaching.  When Jesus died on the Cross for all (past, present and future) sins, we were given a chance to live in the freedom of His Grace (Romans 6:14).  For those who repent of all their known and unknown sins (Romans 10:9-10), they’re given Salvation and eternal life in Heaven (John 3:16).  With the gift of Salvation comes freedom from condemnation for past, present and future sins (Romans 8:1-2).  When you accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior, you’ve been set free from condemnation.  You no longer should be sin conscious; that is, you no longer should live in fear about sin and/or feel guilty about any sins (Hebrews 10:2).  When one does sin, he or she can be forgiven by repenting of the sin (I John 2:1).  At the moment you receive Salvation, you’re no longer under the Law of Moses; you’re now going to be led by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:18).  The Holy Spirit will now teach you all things (John 14:26), and you will no longer need human beings to teach you everything you need to do, think and say (Galatians 3:25).

Grace is Jesus Christ.  Grace is unmerited (undeserved) favor.  Grace is the peace, power, and love of Christ working in the life of the Believer (a person who has received Salvation).

Unfortunately, too many preachers lack the proper teaching about Grace, and continue to “lord” (Mark 10:42; II Corinthians 1:24 [New International Version]) their authority over their congregants and those outside of the Church.  Because many churches are still teaching and preaching the Law of Moses, they’re unintentionally serving Moses instead of Jesus, and they end up offering the world Moses instead of Jesus. For those of us who are serious about the mission of Christ (Luke 19:10), we have to teach and preach the Gospel of Grace throughout the entire world.  We also have to encourage Christian teachers and preachers across the world to learn and spread the Gospel of Grace.

The Apostle Paul writes, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”  The “gospel of Christ” is the Gospel of Grace.  Paul is astonished that people are so quick to turn away from the Gospel of Grace and teach and preach other things.  He informed the Galatians and us that there’s no other gospel except the Gospel of Grace.  Paul divulged that there are false teachers present who “pervert the gospel of Christ.”  Therefore, when someone is teaching and/or preaching something other than the Gospel of Grace, he or she is teaching you something diametrically opposed to what Jesus taught and preached and diametrically opposed to what He commands His followers to teach and preach.

The only way you can receive Salvation is through your Faith in Grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Church leaders, if you’re serious about the mission of Christ, which is to win lost souls, then you must teach and preach the Gospel of Grace. Your evangelism will continue to be ineffective without an emphasis on the Gospel of Grace.  Stop teaching and preaching the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was brought to bring about your death (Romans 7:5), but Jesus has come to give you abundant life (John 10:10).    

Don’t let another person condemn you to Hell.  Repent from all of your known and unknown sins today and Jesus will give you Salvation immediately.  Again, stop teaching and preaching Moses and teach and preach Jesus.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

3 Benefits of a National Conversation about Black Males and Police Power

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Police Abuse of Power

(Photo Credit: Ripp Dem Up)

Too many Black male lives are being lost at the hands of White police officers abusing their power.  The lives of Black boys and men matter.  Their lives matter enough to have a serious national discourse about how their lives are increasingly threatened by abused police power.  Democrats, Republicans and Independents must genuinely participate in this national conversation.  Police officers are charged with the noble responsibility of protecting and serving the American people—not doing unlawful harm to them.  Black boys and men are Americans and deserve the same equal and quality protection and service that every American has a right to enjoy.  Many White police officers, however, haven’t gotten the memo about their responsibility to apply justice equally and fairly among all Americans, including Black boys and men.  Clear thinking Americans must call for a national discourse to take place about abused police power and its impact on Black boys and men.  What follows is a list of three of many benefits of having a national discourse about the problems with many police officers abusing their power when interacting with Black boys and men.

1. Increase Confidence in Police Officers in Minority Communities

If more confidence in police officers is to emerge from minority communities across the nation, then an authentic national discourse about police abuse of power must take place.  Many racial and ethnic minorities want the nation to hear their voices about how they lack faith in numerous White police officers’ willingness to serve and protect them.  Many minorities posit that police officers are out for their destruction.  This hostility that exists between many in minority communities and the police can only be positively addressed by having a genuine national discourse about it, and then implementing policies at the local, state, and federal levels to respond to credible problems.

2. Dramatically Reduce the Number of Senseless Police Killings of Black Males

Again, the lives of Black boys and men matter.  Too many Black boys and men are being murdered by police officers because they’re being unfairly targeted by many White police officers.  If America doesn’t get serious about police officers’ unjustified killings of Black males, then this country is headed down a terrible and bloody road to race wars between Whites and Blacks, leading to unnecessary losses of precious lives.  A national discourse about these senseless murders of Black boys and men can lead to important solutions about how better to prevent and fight against these injustices.

3. Help to Improve Racial Divides between Blacks and Whites Caused by Police

Unfortunately, unnecessary walls are erected between numerous Blacks and Whites because of intentionally nefarious actions of White police officers against Black boys and men.  We shouldn’t allow the racism of many police officers to divide those of us who aren’t racists.  A national conversation about police abuse of power engenders an opportunity to separate the racists from the non-racists.

Conclusion

In America, we continue to avoid having the important discourses we need to have as a nation.  It seems that vital conversations needing to take place at the local, state, and federal levels aren’t happening because countless individuals lack the courage to engage in these difficult conversations.  The American people will grow more divided by avoiding essential race matters.  We don’t magically become more united by abandoning discussions about race—we continue to grow farther apart by neglecting frank discourses about race.

Let’s have an honest national conversation about police abuse of power when interacting with Black boys and men.  Our country will be better for having this conversation.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson: Drawing the Line between Courts and Commissioners

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English: Baltimore Ravens Training Camp August...

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

As professional sports leagues and the athletes they employ garner a higher public profile, there have been increasing demands, from media, lawmakers and the public that they be held to a higher standard of conduct.  Athletes have come under greater scrutiny, both on and off the playing surface, with each instance of misbehavior sparking a greater outcry than the last.  However, is there a public good served by publicly vilifying athletes for off-the-field or off-the-court indiscretions?

Moreover, do professional sports leagues, like the NFL, have the competence or right to impose punishment on players in response to public outcry, either before the player has had his day in a court of law, or after the courts have decided not to pursue criminal charges?

Two recent cases of note involve former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Ray Rice and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Rice was arrested earlier this year for allegedly punching his then fiancee unconscious at an Atlantic City casino.  A New Jersey grand jury indicted Rice on a charge of aggravated assault, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.  The charge was later dropped when Rice agreed to enter court-supervised counseling, and he eventually married his fiancée, the alleged victim in the case.  Despite the decision of the courts, the media outcry continued, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded by levying a two-game suspension against Rice, just days before a TMZ video of the assault was made public.

Furthermore, as the betting would suggest, the video stoked further outrage, putting Goodell in the uncomfortable position of exacting harsh punishment on a player for non-football related offenses that a court of law deemed not severe enough to bring to trial.  Goodell dropped the hammer on Rice, suspending him indefinitely, while the Ravens terminated his contract, likely ending his NFL career.

In Peterson’s case, the 2012 NFL MVP was recently suspended by the Vikings following his indictment by a Texas grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.  Peterson did not deny the allegations, explaining that he applied the same method of discipline on his son that had been applied to him as a boy. While it is understandable that the public is shocked by such actions, demands for the NFL to act where the courts have not place a burden on the NFL that it is simply not capable of carrying.  The NFL is a private enterprise that exists for the primary and legitimate purpose of making money.  It lacks the experience, competence, and mandate to exact justice fairly and in accordance with the law.

While fists have been shaken at the NFL’s perceived bumbling of the Rice case, a surprising modicum of outrage has been directed towards the New Jersey court that chose to drop the charges against Rice.

Adrian Peterson has received little to no benefit of doubt prior to getting his day in court.

NFL players have been arrested at a rate of approximately one per week in 2014, and we’ve witnessed no shortage of high-profile college football players who have faced charges that were conveniently made to disappear.  It’s a worrisome trend for every member of society, whether he or she is a football fan or not. However, such offenses are best addressed in court—where the accused player both answers to the law and is protected by it.  If the courts don’t punish a player for alleged offenses, the commissioner of the NFL cannot do it for them, no matter how vociferous the howls of media outrage become.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Revolutionary Paideia’s Focus and Objective

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Revolution

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Revolutionary Paideia’s is focused on the foremost postmodern issues and problems facing those situated in America and across the globe.  Instead of shying away from controversy, Revolutionary Paideia engages controversy and looks to stimulate important discourses that emerge from controversy.  Specifically, what’s this site focused on?  It’s focused on the trending and not-so-trending controversies.  Although many writers seek to find their niche, Revolutionary Paideia has resisted becoming just another “niche site.”

This site largely features pieces on education, popular culture, black culture, sports, current events and personal development, with a special concern for helping individuals learn to be themselves.  While the aforementioned topics are the most covered topics on this site, Revolutionary Paideia refuses to classify itself as being this or that or being a part of a certain niche community.  Revolutionary Paideia does demonstrate a strong concern for issues and problems related to and impacting Black people, but it would be improper to label this site as a Black culture blog.  How would you properly label this blog?  It’s a cultural commentary blog.  It’s focused on providing smart commentary on pressing and interesting issues of our postmodern period.

What’s the primary objective of Revolutionary Paideia?  This blog longs for people across America and the globe to have a renewed interest in inquiry, ideas and debate.  We need more genuine spaces that give people an equal voice and the liberty to express themselves as they please.  Revolutionary Paideia is place where innovative ideas can be explored and those who offer those ideas can receive insightful feedback.  We become a better country and better world when we permit our ideas to lead us to solutions to many of our complex problems.  This blog is unafraid to engage people on issues that many, if not most, try to avoid, including race, religion, class and sexuality.  If you would like to have serious discourses about those aforementioned issues and many other controversial topics, then you’ve found the right place.

Revolutionary Paideia is a space where you can even feel free to request that certain topics, challenges and/or problems are addressed.  Many of the pieces that appear on this site are products of requests by readers. Never feel that your suggestions will be shot down.  All of your suggestions will be seriously considered. Readers, therefore, play a significant role in helping to shape what appears on the blog.  One of the greatest ways to demonstrate to readers that they matter is to allow them to see their ideas and feedback come to fruition on your site.

Revolutionary Paideia is truly appreciative of how its many readers have contributed immensely to the site’s success over the last four and a half years.

This site strives to meet the needs of real people.  If you’re struggling with challenges and problems that have gone unmet, this site wants to research and develop the solutions you need.  Don’t have any fear about asking for help here.

Revolutionary Paideia wants to empower you to find your voice, express your ideas, and be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Let the Power of Discovery Begin at Home

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Black Family

(Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

Before you go out exploring phenomena outside of your home, discover the new things you can learn about those inside of your home.  How often do you ask questions to those in your immediate family?  How well do you really know your family members?  Too often we assume we know a tremendous amount about our immediate family members, but there can be so many things we don’t know about them.  Many people can be so busy trying to find out what’s going on in other people’s homes that they’re missing the greatest attractions developing inside of their own homes.

Parents, how well do you know your children’s friends?  For parents with older children who are in relationships, how well do you know the individuals they’re in relationships with?  Do you know why your children decided to be in relationships with these individuals?  How did they first meet and what attracted them?  Are your children too secretive about their relationships?  Why?  Do you have children you find it strange that they are even in intimate relationships?  Have you asked questions that will provide you with more information to make it less strange?  These aforementioned queries are just some you can posed to members of your immediate family to discover some potentially novel things.

One of the best ways to build and maintain strong families is to place a strong value on communication in your home.  Your home should be a place where frank and open communication are truly valued.  The members of your immediate family should feel comfortable to talking to one another about virtually anything.  One thing I’m very proud of about my immediate family is the members of the family feel comfortable talking to one another about anything.  We can share things with one another without feeling like any member is going to bring condemnation for what’s disclosed.  My immediate family is loving and supportive, and it has been the welcoming and embracing of frank and unrestricted communication that has been essential to the love in my family.

If you talk more to your immediate family members, you may learn ways you can be useful in helping them to overcome physical, social, emotional and/or spiritual challenges and problems.  Before sending a family member to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, determine if this is even necessary.  Those situated inside the home can serve as the only psychologist or psychiatrist the person needs.  We often miss opportunities to be helpful to those who live in our own homes because we allow ourselves to become too busy to look for the potential needs of our family members.

Use this piece as a conversation-starter with the members of your immediate family.  Let this piece become a way for you to ask questions of the members of your immediate family that you’ve always wanted to know or failed to ask.  You may discover some things about your immediate family members you needed to know before they died.  Don’t make your family members think you’ve turned into a private investigator (unless you truly are one).  Just let them know you want to grow closer as a family through the power of discourse and inquiry.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison