Well steeped words of advice for changing the world
I am the son of a man who was instrumental in starting the African American Studies program at UMass as a student. The history of civil rights in the United States was something I was well steeped in from birth.As a psychology professor, I play a great many roles, including advisor. One of our very bright students was in the office today. I was discussing her motivations to protest.
My student and I had a conversation about history, the value of strategy in a movement, and the tactics beyond protest. It then occurred to me, one of the things that is often missing in all the anger is the wisdom of previous generations in combination with the energy of youth.
I told her that I wanted our students at Hampton University to channel anger, to not react but be proactive. We talked about the value of thinking about what future we want to create.
This poem is my plea to our young to dig deeply into the world’s history of change.
O Young Lion
We know that there are times
You are compelled to gnash and claw
They may hear our roar more loudly
We know that when the sun falls
You feel the fear of the night
Please come and bask in our light
And go forth again with renewed strength
We know that you wish to bang your hammer
We know of many other tools
We have become the masters
Let us help you learn to turn the wheel
We know well your angered bewilderment
and that paralysis of the downtrodden
Run home as quickly as you can
We will fold you into our great arms
We know because we connect to the past
We ask because you are our hope
We do these things to complete the circle