By Victor Davis

Approximately, nineteen years ago, while I was a teenager attempting to navigate alone through the obstacles of life, I did not have the parental influence needed to aid me through the various developmental stages I encountered. Like many African American Families in the United States I was raised in a dysfunctional home I experienced: domestic violence, drug abuse, gang violence, food stamps and poverty, and for these reasons I fought a lot growing up in my neighborhood. My mother and I resided in the projects of Cabrini Green in Chicago, Illinois where she was the sole provider and renter of a one bed room apartment. My father was avidly involved in the “street life,” so we were unable to found a father son relationship with each other and the effects of it on my life resulted in me having a lack of character, and that left me incapable of relating to society.

After graduating from David Crockett high school in Austin, Texas in 1998 I still did not have the inward qualities need to achieve success socially nor academically. Because I was unwilling to accept advice from my elders, I had to learn how to endure through my trials through time and experience. Then one Sunday morning an associate Pastor of the Church I was attending shared a story with the congregation about his daughter that was in high school and was part of the cheerleading squad. She had made it to the football game early, but the remainder of the squad didn’t make it on time, due to a miscommunication of the schedule. However, she decided to cheer the entire game by herself as an outcome of that miscommunication. At the conclusion of the game people asked her why did she chose to cheer. She responded to their question by simply stating “I’m a cheerleader so I cheer.” The moral of his story was about character; the inward qualities that determines a person response regardless of the circumstances. Although his story was regarding his daughter, it was told to encourage me, to persevere in life with charisma. I am currently thirty-eight years old, it has been almost twenty years since that story was told to me, and one of the reasons I am currently incarcerated is due to me not applying the wisdom of that story to my life. I do not have any glorified practices to state and tickle your ears about how I use to sell dope, engage in a promiscuous lifestyle, or my participation in gang activity, but one of the decisions I have settled that I would like to offer my advice on is this. Maturity is the ability to display a conscious and consistent pattern of rational choices; by being equipped to communicate words through ideas, verbally or expositional in an articulate manner with humility and diligence.

Immaturity means being subject to insincerity and inclined to change abruptly without reason; irrational. Also being an individual unable to be counseled and trained for the practical purposes of life that involves the formation of your personality. If you only have a few set of clothes, wash them and keep them creased, if you only have one pair of shoes take care of them, if you want to be respected by your peers practice good personal hygiene, if there is something you need in life manage your money and show integrity by earning it, and if you have a person in your life that adores you enough to help you along your way then stay true to yourself and listen to them. Shalom.