Tough Love! Isn’t it needed for those we help transition into manhood?

BillRoddy_ManhoodFTHood_FBArt_61913_49I had to discipline a young man I’ve been mentoring for several years.  He worked for our organization and successfully transitioned into a full time position with benefits.

He is still struggling to transition into manhood!

“Mr. Roddy, I’ve been working for this company for several years.  I think I should be getting a raise in pay and promoted.”

“Carl, what do you think you have done to merit an increase in pay and a promotion.”

“Mr. Roddy, I’ve always been on time, a team player and I think I am entitled to a raise and a promotion.”

Many of my conversations with youth and young adults inspire me to reflect on my childhood. I was raised in the 60s and the 70s. I had to share my thoughts.

“Carl, just because you’ve been in a position for a certain length of time doesn’t entitle you to anything.”

Our conversation was a challenge from there!


When did we as individuals and as a nation start thinking we are entitled to something that we don’t earn?

Is it a fear based mechanism we develop with the hope that someone else will take care of us?


Our conversation reminded me of my young life in Chicago.  My grandparents never let me off the hook.  I had to earn everything and there were no excuses.  I was irritated at them on many occasions. They often put my transitioning into manhood on hold.  As I matured, I admired their values and how they raised me.

“You are only entitled to what you have earned in our home.  After you leave our home it will be a rude awakening for you if do not understand what we are trying to teach you. We know you are upset with us. Perhaps years in the future you will grow to appreciate what we are sharing with you.

“Becoming a man entails understanding  many facets of life, son.” ~ My Grandfather, William Henry Roddy


How do we discipline those we mentor?

Are we so focused on “just being their friend” that we forget our roles as mentors, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and coaches?

And perhaps true manhood is a lifelong challenge!



Are we ultimately in the relationship building business?

BillRoddy_ManhoodFTHood_FBArt_61913_43This evening I had an interesting conversation with a young man I’ve been mentoring for many years. He’s had a series of challenges in life like most of us.

Today was something special.  He’s learning an important aspect of life; how to establish long lasting relationships in his personal and business life!

“Mr. Roddy, I’m starting to realize you eventually have to make a living by doing things you love and focus on building loving relationships with your family.”

I listened to him share his thoughts, I wanted to jump up and down and give him several ‘high fives.’ I reminded calm and asked him a few more questions and listen.

“Bob, how did you come to these conclusions?”

“Mr. Roddy, I’ve been watching Mrs. Roddy and you for twelve years. It’s starting to make sense to me.  Most of my struggles in my relationship with my fiancée are results of my perceptions of what I thought a man should be.

“What made you reconsider your approach?”  “I remembered the conversations we had when I was young. “You always shared with me that when our thoughts about life cause us pain they are signals for us to look within so that we can examine our thoughts, behavior and actions towards others.”

“What has cause you pain in your relationship with your fiancée?”  “I was valuing things and money more than relationships.”


Wouldn’t all of us love to grow by learning the art of establishing long-lasting relationships?

Don’t you feel knowing that when relationships are established the sky is the unlimited in our personal lives and in business?

What will we value when it’s our time to leave this earthly body?

Would it be things we own, our net worth, names on buildings, or would it be the relationship we’ve established with love ones?”




“Gone But not Forgotten”


So many thoughts have surfaced since writing my memoir, Manhood From the Hood. I received this thoughtful letter from Darzel Price.  He is the older brother of Keith “Magnetic” Price.  Keith was on our basketball team at Crane High School in the 70’s.  What is the moral of Darzel sharing his feelings?  Is it the power of one brother’s love for his sibling? Is it a testament of what most important in life? Every Friday, I will share my thoughts on my friends no longer alive but continue live in my heart.

My Brother

Keith Byrod Price

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my late brother Keith Byrod Price.  He passed away on Easter Sunday, 2000. He would have turned 53 on June 17, 2011 had he lived. That day, more than any other time of the year, is tough for me. To lose a brother with so much unfulfilled and unlimited potential can be mind boggling and devastating. Because of God’s grace and mercy, I’m able to endure and reflect upon the memorable times that we had in Rockwell Gardens, Grant Elementary School, Crane High School, and Southern Illinois University.

I reflect on the competitive games we had on the fields of baseball, football and the basketball courts. Though we were siblings, we didn’t allow our bloodline to impede our desire to win. I remember the hot summer nights when we raced to the Good Humor truck, the times that we went to Vienna’s to purchase their well known hotdogs and fries. We listened to Herb Kent, a famous Chicago Disk Jockey in the 60’s and 70’s, and tried to imitate a member of the Temptations, had spirited but non-violent conversations that we had about religion, girls and politics. We would go to Maxwell Street on Saturday’s and some Sunday’s to shop at Smokey Joe’s and Kelly’s sporting goods.

We had many fights in Rockwell Gardens. Keith was not one to back down from anyone. I joked with him years later, that he should never make a conscious effort to fight anyone that I couldn’t whip. Looking back, he would always fight these collard green eating and hot water cornbread fed guys who had the combined strength of Hercules and Samson.

I also remember the times that we would walk to the Chicago Stadium and keep the money that my mother gave us for bus fair. This was used for programs, banners, hotdogs and popcorn.  These are just a few of the memories that I cherish of my late brother. He left us too soon, but I thank God for his mercy and his unconditional love that allows me to stand.

Stay Encouraged,

Elder Darzel J. Price Sr.