- Faith & Family
Today’s boys and young men are facing a variety of problems from peer pressure, concerns about making a living to learning how to juggle growing responsibilities and maturing relationships.
According to Father Hayden Crawford of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, these problems are nothing new.
“One-hundred twenty eight years ago, England was going through what we are going through now. [Social issues] always happen in cycles,” he said.
The Episcopal-Anglican church’s solution was the creation of the Brotherhood of St. Andrews, an international ministry specifically for boys and men.
The Church of the Incarnation, which also has a chapter of the ministry, and will host their annual Boys and Men Service on Sunday, Nov. 27th.
To Crawford, the ministry’s fellowship among men and boys – the service draws an average of 188 people – is why it is effective.
“In this community, most Black men have not discovered who they are yet,” he explained. “Once we discover who we are, we won’t have such low self-esteem.”
Father Horace Ward, the rector of Holy Family Transfiguration Episcopal Church in Miami Gardens, also believes that finding the right role models is essential for boys.
“Young people look to older persons to be able to pattern their lives on,” he said. “As a boy, I looked to my father and the older men around me to be able to learn what it means to grow into a wholesome man in life.”
Now as an adult, “I am able to convey what I have learned to my son and to other young men,” Ward said.
Meanwhile, Reverend W.E. Mitchell of Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church points out the importance of mentors having youth who are receptive of their lessons and messages.
“The mentoring process implies that those who are being mentored will respect those who are doing the mentoring,” Mitchell said.
He noted that even the terms younger men use to address their elders – “papi” and “uncle” for example – revealed a deep-seated level of disrespect that has dire consequences.
“Even in the streets, there used to be a time when young boys respected the older guys, but now they’ll kill them instead,” said the Brownsville minister.
However, despite the dangers, Mitchell encourages men to reach out to their younger boys.
“Older men are so busy trying to make sure that our own family is secure, but we need to be more of the owners of our community and by that i mean that being physically present night and day in the community,” he said.
The Church of the Incarnation’s boys men Service will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27th. This year’s featured speaker is Miami Times Senior Editor and minister, Kevin McNeir.
By Kaila Heard