Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Paying The Mentor

Spread Those Wings

Spread Those Wings

A recent discussion board on Linked In posed a question about mentoring.  Specifically the question asked is, “can mentoring be profitable for the mentor?”

The distinction between being a mentor and selling mentorship is an interesting question.  It is a valid distinction.  A few years ago I was required to take mentor training when I volunteered to mentor children of incarcerated parents. The sessions were conducted over the span of two Saturdays.  The sessions were fantastic and provided me with insights, resources and skills that are critical to being an effective mentor. The woman who conducted the sessions was compensated and paid by the participants and sponsoring organizations.  For her mentorship is a commodity.

It reminds me of a quote Bill Parcells made when asked by a reporter why he was getting so worked up over the loss of a football game.  Parcells answered that yes football for many is only a game but for him it was a profession.  Parcells makes a great point.  If the professional loses his passion he loses his profession. The distinction of a vocation and avocation is a question of receiving monetary or psychic remuneration.  Its up to everyone to decide what kind of treasure one stores up for oneself.

As many who have mentored know, mentors receive various kinds of compensation which may include the spiritual or emotional manna that serving and coaching others confers on the mentor.  That also applies in a corporate setting where a more senior executive is assigned to mentor and coach a younger or new company employee.   Though it may appear that the senior executive may be required to mentor as part of his job he still will be blessed with the benefit of psychic compensation that helping a mentee richly pays to the mentor.   The institutional interest is served because the mentor conveys the values and mores of the corporate culture to the new employee.   This is a critical function that all institutions need to do.   Without a shared and understood corporate ethos the sustainability of the institution is at risk.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a discussion on WNYC.   The guest was talking about how business models are radically changing.   Specifically he was speaking about Google and how it is transforming whole industries.   The “Google” revolution is seriously altering the business models of numerous industries that include advertising, newspapers and software subscription marketing to name but a few.   One of his points was that corporations need to discard the knowledge of the older workers because it was becoming increasingly irrelevant to the new emerging business practice paradigms.   Its a valid point that goes to the heart about the nature a revolution.   Total transformation changes mores and cultures.   The old has been overthrown by the new.   The implications are a difficult and scary truth to digest.    Particularly for a person like myself who has been in the world of business since 1979.

It is however written somewhere that there is nothing new under the sun.   And people who have been blessed with the experience of witnessing many sunrises have much to offer our world.   The global economic crisis has revealed a startling pervasiveness of institutional failure and the paucity of leadership.   This applies to business, politics, schools, places of worship and many communities we are part of. New leaders need to be raised up.    Mentoring people to assume positions of leadership is a critical priority of our nations recovery.

Cory Booker the Mayor of Newark NJ has stated that he believes that mentoring is one of the city’s most critical need if it is to break the cycle of deprivation, violence and cultural decay.   He is spot on.   Mentoring is an absolutely critical skill and vocation that we need to develop, encourage and commend.

President Obama in his inaugural address alluded to the passage from Corinthians “when I was a child” to implore his countrymen and women to grow into a more mature nation to meet the pressing challenges of our country and the world.   It is a clarion call for all mentors to come to the aid of their country.   We posted on this subject on Risk Rap which can be read here: When I Was A Child.

You Tube Music Video: Balam Garcia, Infant Eyes

Risk; lost generation, lost knowledge, socialization, community, civic values

March 8, 2009 Posted by | children, culture, education, teaching | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gangsta Plax

Plaxico Burress is such a bad ass dude that he shot himself in the leg to prove it. Thats hard man, real hard. But I got to tell you, that if dynamite were brains ole Plax wouldn’t have enough to blow himself to Hell and his apparent lack of the gray matter may just have ended his days as a Giant and possibly destroyed his career in the NFL.

Lets back up a minute and try to decipher this story which is as instructive as it is tragic.

Plaxico Burress a very gifted and well paid professional athlete for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants went to the Latin Quarter, a NY night club on the Friday after Thanksgiving. He was inside the club at 2:00 AM with teammates Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw when an illegal hand gun Plax was carrying discharged wounding him in the thigh. Apparently Plax enlisted the help of his teammates, club personnel and the medical staff of the hospital where his wound was treated to cover up the incident to avoid criminal prosecution for carrying an unlicensed illegal hand gun.

Plax a married man in a club at 2:00 AM on the day before a big game with division rival Washington shows poor judgment. Plax said he was carrying a gun because he “wears lots of jewelry and carries lots of money” demonstrates idiocy. Apparently, if someone tries to bum rush Plax he’s fully prepared throw down for his trinkets by engaging in an all out gun battle to defend his street cred and protect his precious bling.

Pretty dumb. Here is a guy who just signed a contract extension at the beginning of the year that will earn him $35 million over the next six years. Evidently Plax was willing to risk his life, professional career and this substantial pay to protect his gold necklace, wristwatch and his fat billfold.

But it doesn’t stop there. Plax is also set on sacrificing the careers of the confederates who helped him cover up his folly. Does Plax care about the well being of his team and his teammates? Does Plax care about the doctor’s career who failed to report his gunshot wound to the police?

More importantly does Plax care or is he even aware of the role illegal hand guns play in the daily carnage of black on black violence that visit the inner cities of our nation almost every day? Will Antonio Pierce do the right thing and tell the truth about what happened? Will AP dare to break the street code of silence that abhors a snitch? I hope he does, not so much for himself but for all the inner city kids that desperately need an example of an upright man that does the right thing. AP needs to stand up, take responsibility for his actions and break the code of silence so that the truth may live. His correct example and proper response may save the life of the next unsuspecting innocent bystander that gets murdered by an errant bullet from a cheap handgun, shot by an idiotic knucklehead for an idiotic and terribly insignificant and misguided reason.

On Sunday I attended a Peace and Unity March in Newark NJ. It was sponsored by the city’s churches and community organizations. One of the themes of the march was to put an end to black on black crime by getting guns off the street. Guns on the streets of Newark take a terrible toll and horribly end the lives of way too many promising youths. Plax should know this and he should coach kids that packin heat don’t make you a man. Being responsible for ones actions and showing gratitude for your abundant gifts by sharing them with others is the real mark of a mature, sober and aware adult.

Plax your time is about up. You can be a really big man by taking responsibility for what you did and make yourself an example for the kids in Newark who desperately want the horror guns bring into their lives to stop. Stand up Plax. Take one for the kids. It may be the greatest catch you’ll ever make for yourself, a community and your battered integrity.

I’ll be praying for you Plax.

You Tube Video:William DeVaughn Be Thankful for What You Got

Risk: guns, urban violence, black on black crime

December 5, 2008 Posted by | community, crime, RnB, sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment