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Advice for Black Men on Purpose, Brotherhood and Family

two black men friends share a tablet

“It’s just hard out there for a Black man.” It’s a saying that’s trite because it’s so well understood and universally accepted as truth. 

Any quality of life statistic seems to support this notion. Black men have the shortest lifespans, highest incarceration rates, highest rates of death from firearms and lowest rates of employment.

“It is not easy being a man in today’s world, especially being a black man,” said Darrick D. McGhee, Sr., a minister, lobbyist and government relations executive based in Tallahassee, Florida.

“But we can’t buckle under the pressure because the next generation needs us. We’ve got to be that bridge that helps them get over.” 

Darrick D. McGhee, Sr.

Black Men’s Health recently hosted a virtual discussion with McGhee who talked about the three most important things Black men need to have in this world: family, purpose and brotherhood. 

Below, we listed the four most powerful pieces of advice McGhee had for Black men from that interview.

Advice #1: Get clear about your life’s purpose because it’s not about your career.

Writer and historian Thomas Carlyle once said that “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”

But too many men associate a purpose or goal with a vocation or salary. But purpose is so much more. 

“Regardless of what position I may hold, regardless of how much money I make on the job, none of that equates to purpose,” McGhee said. “And we put a lot of stock into those things and we become miserable because it’s never going to be enough.”

“That is my charge to Black men, that we think beyond ourselves and we think about our other brothers…” 

Darrick D. McGhee

The key is to discover God’s purpose for your life: why you are here versus what you do, says McGhee.

That means eschewing hollow, materialistic goals for a path more meaningful and impactful to the world around you. 

That’s how McGhee was able to clarify his purpose.

“My purpose is to become a beacon of hope for all those I have come into contact with, to be an extension of the Lord I believe and be a blessing to people.” 

How can you utilize your gifts in the most fulfilling way possible? What is something you offer that can better this world? 

If you are searching for a deeper purpose, you should consider the suggestions offered here.

Advice #2: As men, you will struggle and have weaknesses, but that’s okay.     

If you are struggling with self-esteem issues, “you’re in good company,” McGhee said. 

But even if you are, you can’t keep it bottled up. 

“Brother you have to be honest with yourself about what you’re struggling with, about those challenges,” he said. “We all at some point have a period of fear over something. Right? So you have to be honest about that.” 

How can you tap into prayer and spirituality to address those areas? 

“So when I admit to the Lord that I am weak in this area, I can see him strong in that area,” said McGhee about how he addressed his own issues. 

If you’re struggling with self-esteem, this Mayo Clinic resource may help. 

Advice #3: All men need brothers who will hold them accountable and lift them up when they need it. 

“You need a covenant brother or brothers that you can go to and be honest, be transparent, be vulnerable with,” said McGhee. He advises that men have male friendships where they build each other up. 

Why is this important? When men don’t have these relationships, they can end up taking their frustrations out on others, especially their families.

“At the same point, you need that outlet,” McGhee said. “Trust me you need it, and your family needs it.”

Advice #4: We must bond together to help our children and the younger brothers out there.

Even if you’ve had to overcome a lot and suffered your share of slings and arrows, you can’t solely dwell on your pain.  

“That is my charge to Black men, that we think beyond ourselves and we think about our other brothers. Because we all know that if that other brother folds and buckles, it’s a domino effect of impact for a lot of people, especially [their] children,” said McGhee.

McGhee says that men who can’t move past their pain will only inflict more damage on their children. In turn, those children could begin life holding pent up anger, frustration and resentment.

It’s for that reason, he says, that Black men must step up for their families and brothers.

“When we straighten our backs up, we hold our heads up high, and we walk upright as men, guess what happens?” 

“We can help so many more people because of how we walk upright.” 

You can watch the full interview with Darrick D. McGhee, Sr. here.

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