In my teenage years, I was constantly landing myself into trouble!

I didn’t see the point of doing any of the work my teachers assigned to me. Why should I? The way I saw it, adults did not understand me or my life! So there was no point in listening to the things adults said.

I was sick of being labeled a trouble maker! And not just being “labeled” a trouble maker; I was sick of being one! So I made the internal decision to create a future different than the one I was making for myself…a better future! A future in which others would look at my lifestyle and want a similar lifestyle. I wanted a future where I would be respected for the great things that I achieved; rather than the bad things that I had done.

I began reading books such as “7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens”, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and even “The 48 Laws of Power”. I quickly noticed a recurring theme in every book that I read.


I made changes in the way I communicated so that I had more control over the outcomes of my interactions with others. Also, I changed my daily behaviors and habits, and made sure that these behaviors and habits matched up with the ideal future that I had envisioned in my mind.

If there are any young men out there who feel as though you are going to do what you wand to do and no one is going to stop you . . .you’re right! No one is going to stop you!

You will just continue doing what you want to do until you are 30 years old (living with your Mom) OR you can stop doing the stupid stuff and do what needs to be done so that you can have the future that you really want!

By Andrew Moody

Choice Not Chance Participant


overcoming adversity

Adversity comes in many forms, we all have it.

It might be the absence of a father growing up and all that’s entailed in that. It might be financial struggles, relationship problems, educational failures, the death of a parent or even health issues. The list goes on and on. Everybody faces adversities many times throughout their lives.

The real question is how to deal with and overcome adversity.

Growing up, my father was nowhere to be found. We lived in the projects and life wasn’t always so easy. I didn’t have a good male mentor to teach me how to deal with the challenges of life. As I reflect on the lessons life has taught me, there is one critical key that can help young men begin to come out of the deep hole of adversity.

Develop a winner’s mindset!

Our actions are outward expressions of our thoughts. If we get the thoughts right, right actions will follow. A winner’s mindset can be achieved over time by doing the following.

     First, unconditionally accept where you are right now.

     Second, let go of the bad things in your past. That is just baggage that you can’t do anything about and extra weight that you don’t need to carry with you into your future.

     Third, understand that you were created to achieve great things. You were created to be a winner. No matter what you’ve done, you deserve to overcome. Get that in your head.

     Fourth, change the negative CD of thoughts that run through your mind. Replace them with positive thoughts about you and your future. Speak positive, faith-filled words about where you’re going.

     And Fifth, don’t underestimate yourself and what you’re capable of. After all, you were created for greatness!

This will take some work and won’t happen overnight. I can tell you from personal experience that the results are well worth the work that you do.

Take this nugget and let it bring you great rewards.

Submitted by Richard Dowdy
Motivational Speaker and Front Line Leader Trainer
Author of the forthcoming book “Adversity – The Deep Hole 7 Keys to Overcoming Adversity”


right wrong

We are all broken people who were raised by broken people.

As righteous as we may think we are, we must admit (even if it is only to ourselves) we have many flaws. We have some hurt, some wrong, some insecurity that has affected us and our relationships.

And from our brokenness comes broken ways…enabling…co-dependency…we run too far…we stay too long…we are fearful…we have anger… we regret…the list goes on and on in all directions. But, by far, the hardest part about being broken is facing it because (in order to face it) you have to admit you make mistakes.

When it comes to raising young men, sometimes we are very quick to point out their failures and shortcomings. And if they defend their actions, we become irate. We yell. We scold. We tell them to own up! However, we are not as quick to admit the part we may have played in those failures and shortcomings.

Sometimes we make bad choices that directly or indirectly affect our children. We may be overprotective. We may not have protected them enough. We may be too lenient. We may be too hard. A divorce may have affected them or a decision to remarry. We may have moved when we should have stayed. We may have stayed when we should have moved. We may have gotten too wrapped up in our careers. We may have fallen short in our responsibilities. Whatever our shortcomings, our mistakes make us human. I know I have personally struggled with the mistakes I have made that adversely affected my children. For many years telling myself “I knew better than that.” When the reality is I didn’t! When you know better, you do better!

We have the right to be wrong.

We should give ourselves permission to make mistakes. We must not think so highly of ourselves that we can’t identify with others who make mistakes. While in our humble state, we must also give ourselves permission to make amends with a sincere heart to those we may have been affected and begin to move out of the realm of brokenness. Because when we realize our mistakes, we then are held accountable to turn things around…to make the change…to apologize.

I wonder if our Sons would be more apt to accept responsibility for their mistakes if they had a model. I wonder how healing it would be for them to know that we are truly sorry for any mistakes we made that contributed to their brokenness. Not making excuses or prettying up our bad choices; just calling a thing a thing! What a lesson and a gift that could be!

Some stumbling blocks can’t be moved past until they are addressed. In order to turn things around for our Sons, we may have to stop defending ourselves and give our Sons a point of reference. If you have found yourself at a stalemate with your Son, the turnaround may come from just two little words – “I’m sorry”.

By Mindy Fuller



“Becoming a father to a son? Man, I’m not sure how good I would be! I don’t have any brothers. I didn’t have my dad around to teach me how to play sports, go fishing, do handyman projects around the house. I was too much of a bookworm—it just won’t work.”


This is something that a young man once said to himself, because his father was absent in his life. He often would wonder how he could give someone an experience that he himself never had. He would often tell me that his preference would be to have daughters, since he had a plethora of females in his family for support. In addition, it would save him the embarrassment of not being as knowledgeable about typical things that men do. (Which meant if he had a son he would have to reach out to other men to show him how to do those things, and thus it could be embarrassing to him and have an effect on his son’s confidence in his ability to do normal “man things”). One thing that I often tell my students is that although you may grow up without certain things, if it’s meant for you to have or to be able to do certain things, God would provide them. Where a father isn’t, there could be an uncle, a friend’s dad, your minister and other church leaders, community mentors, etc. As a professional mentor within higher education, I feel that it is my duty to enlighten my students to see things differently, and in a more positive manner. The best way to do this is to be a solution-focused person, which is something that I often speak of.


All of us are without something. However, it is our duty to access the resources (which many times are at our finger tips) in order to fill that void. Some of the most powerful people to ever walk the earth were presented early on with limits. However, they looked for ways to motivate themselves and persevere. In other words, they stepped out on nothing and got the results they desired!

Now back to the young man.

That was several years ago when he first thought those thoughts. Today, he is a great father to his children, and also works in the community with young men. He is a mentor to both young ladies, as well as young men. He is well respected in his family and in his church. And many times stated that he takes his nephews, sometimes 3 to 4 at a time, out for lunch, to the mall, etc. In essence, in my opinion he has become a Dad both in his profession and in his personal life! By accessing his resources and watching the great role models around him, he proved his initial thoughts wrong. When asking him how he felt now, as opposed to how he did when first sharing his initial thoughts with me a few years ago, he stated that he was “doing the unthinkable”! –

Submitted by William Kincy Coordinator of the Pathways 3MP (Minority Male Mentoring Program)
Wake Technical Community College


“Momma don’t care what people say about you, that you must be a moron, ignorant or an idiot because you can’t talk. Momma don’t care. Momma know when you and the good Lord get ready, sister, you going to be a teacher. You’re going to teach all over this world.”

Maya Angelou was speaking the words her dear Grandmother spoke to her years ago during her childhood when she was mute. While everyone around her chose to tear her apart with their destructive words, her Grandmother chose to build Maya up with hers. People saw Maya in the flesh, a girl who carried a pencil and paper in order to respond. They sought to bring her even lower. But her Grandmother saw Maya in the Spirit and called her higher. She prophesied over her Granddaughter. God had given her charge over Maya placing Maya in her care and placing Maya’s calling on her heart so she would know God’s will over Maya’s life. She was there to teach Maya exactly who she was.

I guess that account spoke to me, as Co-Producer of the Choice Not Chance Documentary, and challenged me to think about my Sons…our Sons…all Sons! Whether it is your biological Son, your brother, your Nephew or your Mentee…when did you tell him who He was? I had to stop and ask myself, when was the last time I prophesied over my Sons? When was the first time? When did I call my Son to a higher place and counter what the world was telling him? Did I ever try to teach him who he really is?

In telling that story, Maya Angelou calls us all to a higher place. She “teaches” us that it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to prophesy over our Sons and Daughters. We must not just pray for them in private, but pray in their presence. Our Spirit must speak directly to their Spirit and call it up and out.

When little Maya heard what her Grandmother had to say about her future, she thought to herself ‘this poor ignorant woman…doesn’t she know I’ll never speak”? Which made perfect sense because Maya had not talked for years. But faith sees the unseen, believes the unbelievable, and hopes when there is only despair. The power of life and death is in the tongue! So it doesn’t matter that your Son may think you a ‘poor ignorant person’. He may not have the spiritual maturity to get that right now. But every time Maya Angelou won a prestigious award in her latter years, she remembered those words her Grandmother spoke when she was only a child.

Your words will return to him someday.

God created with only His words. And we can choose to create or destroy with ours. The mute who carried a pencil and paper to communicate, went on to become an activist, a singer, an actress, a world renowned poet and to “teach all over the world” just like her Grandmother prophesied! What is your Son’s destiny? Tell him!

by Mindy Fuller