A Fragile Peace in this Circle of Men

Brian Childers 
MDI Contributor

I am on a men’s team consisting of three white men and three black men. OK. So?

I have been associated with the men’s work (through Sterling Men’s Division and Mentor Discover Inspire) since 1991.

That’s 28 years, and this is the FIRST time I have ever been on a ½ & ½ team. The Dog Soldiers are homed in Atlanta, Georgia – a racially progressive city, perhaps “THE racially progressive city,” per a young black man interviewed on the local evening news today.

I am a Dog Soldier. And every time a new black man joined us I have had a specific conversation with him:

  • The men’s division is for men – all men
  • The Dog Soldiers are mostly all white – in a city that is way more black
  • We don’t seem to articulate our message in a way that is attractive to black men
  • Will you partner with me to change those things and invite black men to join you/us?

On my team are:

  • An architect of social health equity initiatives
  • An architect of hospitals, mostly
  • A fluent German speaker
  • A Golden Gloves multi-year boxing champion
  • A former U.S. Army Ranger
  • An architect of IT systems and structures – serving medical scientists globally
  • A member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame
  • A professional opera singer
  • A drummer
  • A FOREX trader

Can you tell who is white or black? I bet not. 

Does it matter?

Last month when George Floyd was murdered, we all saw it repeatedly on TV, and we were all affected – deeply. That week at our Zoom team meeting I started it off out of control – emotionally – because I had just before seen the replay of Floyd’s demise followed by Nora O’Donnell being moved by the vignettes of a small number of casualties who had died from COVID-19. 

It broke me down – overload – too much – STOP IT!!! 

How inhuman to calmly kneel and choke the life out of a human – knowing there is video being taken!  How inhuman of the Asian officer who shooed the onlookers away while doing nothing to actually stop it. Over 100,000 people have died from COVID-19 and some people don’t seem to care.

  • Don’t tell me I have to do ANYTHING – fucker! 
  • Care about somebody else? Why? Do they care about me? 
  • What about my business or my freedom or…?
  • Should we wear a mask? Or, not? Does it really make any significant difference?  Don’t I get to choose for MYSELF? 
  • Where does my freedom get infringed? 
  • It’s herd immunity man. Didn’t you see the YouTube videoSSSSSS$$$$$, man?

Yep, I‘m rambling. Kind of stream of consciousness. 

So much division, but not like a men’s division. 

I have always taken a firm stand AGAINST discussing politics or religion on our men’s teams. What we have has almost always risen above politics or religion and been about the man sitting next to you. His true identity.

Would you trust HIM in a foxhole? Not his politics. Not his religion. HIM? 

It seems such a fragile peace, this thing we have.

The “movement” that is underway now pretty much demands to be discussed – among us. It may actually be big enough to also rise above the political or religious considerations. 

I hope so.

4 thoughts on “A Fragile Peace in this Circle of Men”

  1. Wonderful little hike around the topography of your thinking and actions. Woven into the fabric of your piece are all too familiar threads of violence and conflict–vestiges of primordial days when we were hunter-gatherers, where invasion and conquering were very common and when men had a high degree of probability to literally die by the sword. Having the ultimate question of relationship be “Would you trust him in a foxhole?” is painful to see. I have circled up with men, with zero military experience and zero martial arts expertise, which men very frequently discussed “going into battle” with other men and where a sort of “military-like” authoritarian concept was followed. It became wearisome, pretending to be with men who I could trust in a foxhole, when the truth is there was only 3-men out of the nearly 1500 whom I knew who had real experience in real battle. Time for many of us to look into what the basis is of infecting others with a truly peaceful context and living in a way where we are not constantly looking for the NEXT battle to fight instead of the next stranger to greet and befriend. This is complex in its simplicity. Dang…so much of life comes with a conundrum. Think well; do well: BE WELL

    1. Squirrel!!

      You’re welcome to substitute trust him with your child or your mother or your life. Substitute your own metaphor.

      I think you got so distracted by your dislike of my (and “our”) jargon that you missed the main points.

      BE WELL, ALSO

  2. Kenneth L. Fuller

    Great article Childers,
    I believe that your article speaks volumes about what the message could be about the men in this division. I have always felt kindness and friendship from the men ( no matter the skin tone). I have been away from the closeness that I shared with many of the men(through my fault alone) I have missed the campfires, meetings, mentorships, leadership programs parties, servitude to the communities, laughter and relationships that come with being MEN truly dedicated to being just MEN.I have seen through many of the post that i receive on some of the social media networks that I share with many of the men, a different sort of man than what I felt they were. I hold no animosity towards anyone. I think it is actually awesome that I am learning more about those that I would still share a “FOXHOLE” with. I believe that they are also learning more about “ME” and would still be willing to share a “FOXHOLE” with me. I hope that all who feel affected strongly by these present times will learn and become stronger in their future endeavors as they come in contact with others who think differently from themselves. Remember, “Respect is not only earned, unfortunately it’s reciprocation is not guaranteed”. I suggest to all who read this comment remember a poem that I once shared called the ” The man in the mirror”, (you can also look it up on the internet) and reflect on what the man looking back at you from the glass is saying to you as it is only his judgement on whom you will rely. In the words of some truly great MEN (Ghandi, Martin Luther King) “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”). HOH!

  3. Hello Men. Brian Childers asked me in 1991 if I was the man I always wanted to be, what a strange question and one that continues to hit me in the head even now, a fact I am most proud of.

    All the rest till now unfolded in the way it did. We are best friends and that just came about. Whenever I think of Sterling or MDI, my first thought is of the man this man I admire greatly.

    This is who he is, a man among men and powerfully so.

    I am honored to call him “Friend”.

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