Welcome to Class 83 of “The Ramp” to the Highway of Success course for young men. I am Daniel Whyte III, chairman of the National Association to Save Young Black Men in partnership with the Martin Luther King Senior Institute for Young Men & Young Women. The Institute aims to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Sr., commonly referred to as “Daddy King”, whom God used to raise the great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. Our purpose is to guide young men and young women, and help them get on the path to becoming kings and queens for the glory of God.
I am your instructor for this course and the author of the ESSENCE national bestselling book “Letters to Young Black Men”. We are using that book as the text and its study guide to guide you through the course. The study guide was developed with the help of Jamie McCallum (M.Div, Truett Theological Seminary), Charles Garrett (M.Div, Southwestern Theological Seminary), and now my youngest son Danyel Ezekiel Whyte who is in his third year of college. This course is for all young men, but especially for young black men and young men of color who oftentimes have a “difficult journey” in this great country called America. I call this class “the Ramp” to the Highway of Success because my goal is to get you on “the Ramp”. As a man, you ought to be able to make it from there. Out of respect for you as a young man, my job is to get you on the ramp and point you in the right direction, not to tell you all the details once you get onto the highway of success. With God, you can do great things.
— Let’s Pray —
This lesson is titled “On Your Relationship With Your Father.”
Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”
Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”
Someone once said, “Most fathers try to bring up their sons to be as good a man as they meant to be.”
Jim Valvano said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Someone once said, “The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.”
Woodrow Wilson said, “My best training came from my father.”
You will probably be tempted in your adolescent years to rebel against your father and to disrespect him. May I encourage you not to yield to that temptation because all it will bring you is trouble. Whatever the situation with your dad, whether he does right or not, still honour him as your father, and you will be blessed for doing so. Here are some ways in which you can honour your father:
1. Develop a relationship with him. It does not have to be the perfect situation. Seek your father out if you have to, and sit down and talk with him. Go out to eat together, alone. Ask him questions about his history and the path that life has taken him. You will be amazed at how much you can learn from your father, how much he can help you, and how similar you both are.
2. Listen to him. God gives fathers a certain insight into their children. Your father knows you very well, largely because he knows himself. The things that he tells you to avoid, listen to him, and avoid those things. The things that he tells you to do, listen to him, and do those things. Of course, everything your father tells you may not be good. Use discretion, and as they say, “eat the chicken and leave the bones.”
3. Respect your father. No matter what has happened in the past or what is happening now, show respect to your father. I think a very good way to do this is by the way you address him. Please do not do as some young people do today and call your father by his first name. That, to me, is highly disrespectful. There is a saying in the black community—you would get “your teeth knocked out” for calling a parent by his or her first name. It will not kill you to say ‘Yes, Sir’ and ‘No, Sir’ when he speaks to you or asks you a question.
4. Love your dad. For some this is easier said than done. I say that because many young black men have been hurt because of painful past experiences regarding their dad. Here is how you can love your dad no matter what has taken place in the past—choose. Yes, you have a powerful tool and that tool is choice. First, you must choose to forgive. Second, you must choose to love your dad unconditionally. God will help you to do it, if you let Him.
Your relationship with your dad may not be perfect, and it probably never will be perfect because we are imperfect people, but it can be much better. YBM, if you would only do your part, God will bless you for that. Don’t worry about whether or not he is doing his part; you just do yours. God will take care of the rest.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His Coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.