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DARRION ALBERT CAUSED ME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR

I truly believe that all who were involved in the Darrion Albert beating should be given the maximum penalty that the law would allow for an adult who commits such a heinous crime as the one committed by those children on that dreadful day. While this kind of crime by children goes much deeper than the act itself to excuse bad behavior because of ones environment or parental up bringing or lack of it would be an inexcusable act in itself. Thousands of children grow up in bad environments and come from substandard parental involvement but despite these conditions have made right choices and have gone on to be outstanding students (like Darrion Albert); and some have gone on to become good citizens, great will known celebrities, politicians, business persons even good mother and fathers. Ones milieu does not excuse ones bad behavior nor should it make ones penalty lesser than anyone else who commits a crime of this magnitude. Not only will it send a weak message to any child who would commit a crime to this magnitude that the most you well receive is a slap on the wrist, a lesson in anger management or some facility with minimal time and least restriction. Why should the penalty for a child who kills a police officer be greater than a child who kills another child? Weather or not the maximum penalty for this crime is a very long time spent in prison or the death penalty it will be a great misfortune but unfortunately a just penalty, one that will send a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. We must not sacrifice our future greats for those who opt not to be great but rather they choose to destroy those who seek greatness.

Never the less with all this being said, I began to look at the man in the mirror and would hope that all of us as fathers, parents and adults would not just see the inappropriate and bad behaviors of children and just say “man their bad or these kids are out of control” even though these statements and statements like these are true. Are we just looking at the symptoms of that truth while the cause of the symptom go unnoticed by us as parents? If so we will never find the true remedy thus we will never put to right these type of behaviors because of misdiagnosis. While it was the act of kids gone wild that committed this ruthless act of violence the cause may be traced be to us… fathers...mother...parents. There is no need for an x-ray or MRI to find the cause, only a mirror. One day I was dressed to kill I went out knowing I was looking good and the thing that confirmed to me that I was looking good was that it seemed as though I was getting a lot more looks from females than usual; man it seemed as though they couldn’t keep their eyes off me. And because of the extra female attention my walk began to take on a stronger swagger. After being out in the public for a couple of hours soaking in this extra attention I needed to find a rest room to relieve myself (I had to pee) so I walked into a restaurant and used their bathroom. After relieving myself I noticed the bathroom had a mirror so loving the excessive attention I was receiving from the females I wanted to see just how good I looked. I then walked over to the mirror and low and behold I saw why I was receiving so much attention, and it wasn’t because of my looks. There hanging from my nostril was the most enormous boogie I have ever seen big as day light for the entire world to see. This is why since that day I make sure that the last thing I do before I leave the house is I look in the mirror. Sometimes we a fathers (paerents) think everything is looking good only to realize that it’s not.

I looked at the man in the mirror and saw that I wasn’t all that I thought I was. I looked at the man the mirror and asked myself am I just satisfied knowing that my family and my world is ok, and that my daughters are doing great in school and in life, and my household is stable so I'm cool. I looked in the mirror and saw a man that says it takes a community to raise a child but do I just mean my child but do nothing to influence those "bad" kids I see in my neighborhood every day. It is not necessary to start some big organization because most organizations get lost in their own glory and red tape. It can be something generic and small as sitting with that kid that you see everyday doing nothing but hanging on the corner and engage in casual conversation with them, about anything sports, news, jobs, life in general, even about their home life. This is how we build relationships through talking. How will our sons know what a real man is or what a real man looks like unless a real man is visible to them? Our children walk around with their pants down because that’s the kind of men who are visible to them. Our children want to be thugs because that’s the kind of men that’s visible to them. Our daughters want to dress like hootchies because those are the kind of woman they see more of. Our children are influenced by drug dealers, womanizers, gun slingers, and lawlessness because these people are what they see on a day to day basis. While we who have good jobs, careers, creativity, find families, wonderful children, we who believe that we have good morals and ethics; gloat and are smug with self-satisfaction over how good we think we are. But we go in our homes and shut our door to our cozy comforts, and are not visibility to the children in our community. Yet we look through our windows and judge children because they imitate what they see; but it's not us because they don’t see us. If those of us who feels that we have a better image and a more positive lifestyle for our children and the children in our community then let them see us. Yes I looked in the mirror and saw that I missed opportunities to chat with those little business men in the making who wanted to pump my gas for a dollar. I looked in the mirror a thought that I was ok because I work with kids in an after school program but what about those little boy or girl who do not participate in a after school program, do I leave my obligation and concern for a child at the school door or do I take it beyond those doors. I looked in the mirror and said don't try to do something big because big takes too long to make things happen. I looked in the mirror and knew that as a father I must not only get involved in the things that my children are a part of but also involved myself in things that children who are not mine are part of. Yes I looked in the mirror and saw a good man but one that was not seen as much in my community as those who he detest. In order for children to do better they must see what better is, better can't just stay behind closed doors and think things will get better. Better must flaunt itself in the communities if it expects our children to want better.

I looked in the mirror and saw my hands stained with the sin of omission. I looked in the mirror and saw my clothes wrinkled with selfishness, my shoes scuffed with I, me and my. I looked in the mirror and didn’t look as good as I thought I was; and I knew that I could do better and I could let those around me see what better looks like.

And as I looked in the mirror and thought of the song by Larnel Harris:“So many questions I must ask myself to day …What will I leave behind when life has past my way?Have I been a light in dark places or brought a smile to sad faces?Have I showed the world that I really care?Have I live my life the way HE wants me to each and everyday?When someone stumbled was I there?So many questions I must ask myself today…

Unfortunately we did not just lose Darrion but in a way we’ve lost the lives of all the children who had something to do with his death. I looked in the mirror and saw that every child needs and deserve a mentor, a father, a mother, a big brother, a big sister, a friend, a person to talk to and the only one I saw was me.

RIP Darrion Albert

Wishing you well in your pursuit to fatherhood,

Ray

WHO'S YOUR DADDY?

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