While growing up one of the strongest “regulators” of behavior was my peer group. It was the precursor of the whole “group think” philosophy of today. You didn’t want to do anything to stand out in the group. You kind of just went along with the whole ebb and flow of the group. Its not always a negative thing. If your peer group is about excellence and achievement it can be a great thing for you to keep moving in that current. The problem is that many of us grew up not with such peer groups. We grew up within groups that kept us, in the slang of New Haven, medi. Medi is short hand for mediocre. That’s the worst. You end up not shinning on any end of the spectrum. You settle for laziness, apathy and non achievement to be your life’s expectations.
I was fortunate to have influences outside of my peer group to push me through the realms of excellence. Of course once you start to do things that are different than you peer group the group puts you “under review.” I remember seemingly having the weight of the world on my shoulders deciding to do certain things because I wanted to be accepted yet I realized that I was defining myself in roles that were foreign to the group. I often confided in my parents my concerns. They knew that I had to make the final decisions myself. That is the journey of transforming from a boy to a man. One phrase though that my mother always dropped on me was “Boy, they talked about Jesus.”
It seemed a peculiar phrase at the time. Having religious parents was no thing. It was more-so the casualness that she stated the phrase. It was like a throwaway phrase. She uttered it with a simplicity of something that should’ve been commonly known like one’s alphabet or numbers. Because of that delivery by her I didn’t really take it in fully at the time. It was only years later that I really dug into it and applied it to my life.
Nowadays people speak about “haters” and such. Most of the time these haters are figments of people’s imagination. The truth is that many aren’t doing anything of note to bring the attention of the masses to them. That was the gem that I eventually got from my mother. Whether you do wickedness or righteousness people will talk about you. The key is to make such an impact that the people talk about you. The key is to be a man or woman of renown. The key is to embrace your greatness and never settle for being “medi.” When you are out there doing things to change yourself and the community for the greater good let your name be on the lips of the people. Let your name be great. The real tragedy is when no one knows your name. When no one is talking about your works what are you really doing? Let the people talk about you…just give them something great to talk about.
C’BS ALife Allah is the co-author of the ground breaking Science of Self: Man, God and the Mathematical Language of Nature and the co-editor of the seminal Hood Health Handbook: A Guide to Health and Wellness in the Urban Community. He also is a contributing writer to the Hood Health 101 column at the Source blog. He is a community solutionary who concentrates on Hood Health, Science of Self, the Black Presence and youth empowerment. You can find more about him at www.alifeallah.com official webpage.
You can also follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/alifeallah