Mentoring: A Glue that Binds African Traditions
When the subject of conversation turns to rich culture and traditions, Africa would definitely be a part of that discussion. And with the voyage of Africans to the Great Americas, these people have endured so much—poverty, discrimination, racism and numerous other attacks. The society, as it seemed, had waged war against this race but they were resilient. And now that they are among a different nation, it is imperative that these African Americans uphold their traditions.
Just looking at how African Americans survived the slavery and intolerance against them, you would grow to respect these people. But what made them pliant to all these trials? Was it keeping their traditions? If it was, how did these traditions reach the modern day African American kids? Handing down these customs to younger generations meant having someone teach the ways of the old. This is where mentoring comes in.
Mentoring is simply defined as a process where an experienced individual gives support and encouragement to a person who has less experience. The mentor then serves as the advisor though his example and guidance. Mentoring could be informal or formal.
With formal mentoring among African Americans, the mentor could be the guide of the student on his academic works. He could also guide the student to community affairs which aim to maintain their traditions through several factors such as religion, music, poetry, and others. It could also be as serious as coping with racial discrimination and how to be confident despite the environmental circumstances. With informal mentoring, it could simply mean teaching time management or networking with the same groups of people.
But what are the traditions that need to be handed down to the next generation? Looking at the younger generations of African Americans now, we can conclude that they have gone a long way and have improved immensely in all aspects. Confidence and self-worth is a great part of African American mentoring. What is there to be ashamed about their culture anyway? They are a great people and they value close family ties, respect for the elderly and they excel in arts and sports.
Due to this need for mentoring among the black race, 100 Black Men, Inc. was born in 1963. Its purpose is to improve African American lives in a community full of whites. Currently, there are famous members such as Denzel Washington, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, to name a few.
Mentoring was and still is an essential duty of this organization. One of their programs intended that children ages nine until post secondary learning would get holistic knowledge through some rites of passage which includes preparation of the males for their manhood. Also, the subjects cover aspects of heritage, family, etiquette, survival and other skills, and even faith. Resource management, athletics and tutoring are also essential parts of the learning process.
By taking part in such mentoring activities, the young African American would develop better understanding of his culture. Pride and self-esteem would also be established without disrespecting other colors or race.
The mentoring process, in general, teaches respect and appreciation for the African culture. By knowing the rich history and contemporary assets of these people, they are better able to keep and protect what rightfully belongs to them which no amount of slavery would be able to corrupt.