A small child wearing a white sweater vest with a yellow long sleeve shirt.

From the get-go of this blog post, I will be honest. I have said the following sentence in my life:

“Did they do the crime? They deserve to do time to pay for that crime.”

Do I feel that it isn’t a fair statement? Like many things in our life, it really depends on the crime, the sentence, and the result. This tough love attitude has earned a bit more though, let’s dive in.

Why Am I Writing About This?

Responsibility

I have listened to the video and podcast below a few times this year, and they consistently remind me of the imperativeness to think deeper about the challenges in our great nation. No this isn’t a political post, nor will it include any Trump memes or headlines. This is about our RESPONSIBILITY to give back to the younger generations, especially to help those that need exposure the most.

The American Dream Opportunity

I don’t think the participation trophy mindset demonstrates the proper philosophy of how opportunity should work, as we shouldn’t be rewarded based on effort, but on results. What I do think is that everyone should have the equal opportunity starting point. Specifically, a quality education and environment to be educated.

The question that results from equal opportunities – what will you do with that opportunity??

With that opportunity, if you use it to be a more productive citizen of the country which leads to an overall better state of it, then absolutely, I think you can be paid for it. Google has tremendously helped the world, should their founders be rich because of it? I’d lean towards saying yes to that, only with the condition that they are using that money to benefit the world as whole even more so.

Contrarily, if you decide to use that opportunity negatively, then it’s for you to fix. The world doesn’t owe you anything but an opportunity, it is on you take the opportunity with some hustle + muscle = success math!! In other words -> work hard to grab it by the reins!!

In America, our education system for many inner cities does not meet the equal opportunity philosophy and without the exposure to the potentials of the world, many do not fight to make their dreams into a reality.

The Video and Podcast

First, check out the video which stemmed the conversation in the podcast that follows:

Second, check out the example from the podcast. Unfortunately, I can’t get it to show time, but here is where the story starts when he asked: “Why don’t you sell cocaine?”

“Nothing Funny” Podcast

Image below shows the starting point as best I can.

You can stop listening after the story about the environment these kids grow up in.

Both together take a max of 15-20 minutes.

Thoughts From the Clips

Your Story

Take a moment to just think about how in the world you got to where you are today. I’ve written about how everyone has a story before, and it is still true. We are where we are for at least these two reasons:

  1. Your decisions – the decisions you have made add up to the sum of where you are now
  2. People – how have you been guided in your life and how has it helped or hurt you?

Your Environment

How did you grow up? How has it given you different perspectives of the world like relationships? Work ethic? Sports? Intelligence? School.

These things all matter!!

Sports have been a huge part of my life mostly because they were available, and not to mention enjoyable. Would I have been a 3-sport athlete if our school offered a robotics club in the Spring or computer programming classes?

Your Future

Based on your story and your environment (past and present), where are you going next?

Are you going to turn your mistakes and challenges into actions?

This is where goals are essential to where you are going and how you’re going to get there.

It matters!!

The 3-point combo above represents to me what the clip really boils down to. The children that need help, need to improve the decisions or people in their life through exposure to people like ET and others who are willing to help. The environment piece challenges us. This one goes more towards the government and how they can help us change, while people like Erin Gruwell exceed all expectations!! Lastly, through the exposure and hopeful change in environment, we can try to help the younger generations make themselves a better future.

There is a lot more to it than the summary above, and there are people fighting to help improve the school system environments and the lives of those they teach every single day. For them, I AM SO THANKFUL. A great example – my fraternity brother: Richmond School Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Educator Award

If we all take the time to do our part, then together we can make a huge difference that matters!!

Reflection

Is Morality Relative or Absolute?

The podcast talks about the children knowing the difference between right and wrong. Without going into the philosophy debate, let me explain two extreme sides of morals.

  • Moral Relativism
    • Morals are relative to your culture and your environment, in other words, there are no worldly right or wrong principles, but only those local to those cultures.
  • Moral Absolutism
    • Morals definitively are right or wrong. For example, stealing, no matter the circumstance is wrong.

In summary, the children may not be taught the right or wrong, because as CJ stated – they aren’t in the environment to teach them differently than they grew up in.

These two clips never fail to give me goosebumps. The next time you go to say “They did the crime, they deserve the time.”

Ask yourself, is it really that simple?

The podcast gives me a reusable example that helps to put into perspective the mindset behind the crimes. There are children in the US who think their future is only jail or death. Did you hear it on the podcast?? THEY AREN’T SCARED. THE FEAR TACTIC DOESN’T WORK.

I’m challenging you now – keep the perspective in mind from the podcast and be open-minded as you look to inspire and grow the future of our nation. How can they get this exposure if we never volunteer to give them any?

Role Models

The role models you look up to and admire make a huge difference in where you want to go. The point Eric Thomas made about the fact he is visiting schools for free when rappers aren’t is valid in my opinion.

Drake wasted 50K at the club and there are plenty of school systems who could use that money in a very different way.

Here are a few people in the world that I feel are great role models for both men and women.

Beyonce

Beyonce started her incredible career by opening for shows as part of the group Destiny Child. From those humble beginnings, she went to performing at the Superbowl and selling out her tour on the same night!!

Dolly Parton

Check out Josh’s article for more details.

J. Cole

A celebrity who doesn’t tweet or post on IG often, but helps the community a lot. From growing up poor in Fayetteville, North Carolina to waiting outside in the rain for Jay-Z to hear his mixtape, J.cole has become a person to admire because of his humble attitude.

Bill Gates

One of the world’s richest who tackles its biggest problems with his money – check out his blog for some more information.

Give Back – Expose!!

My action calls for you based on the video and podcast?

  1. Give back and expose the youths to the new opportunities. For me, I will be back into the BDPA weekend volunteering schedule as we teach students to make websites. They will use this knowledge to compete for a scholarship!!
    • I’ll be helping a senior at Strasburg High School pay for college. Look for the new scholarship information soon!!
    • I don’t necessarily mean that college is the right answer for each person, but exposing them to a different outlook compared to a life of possible criminal activity
  2. Educate perspective on this post or the video/podcast!
  3. Stop and think the next time you see someone make a mistake – discover why

Let me know what you think and how we could help tackle the challenge together!!

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