Teaching Young Men the Importance of Standing Out

I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to attend a wonderful event hosted by Mr. Tim Brown. The program served to bring together some of the most influential community leaders who are spearheading efforts to develop young African-American males. There’s much room for improvement in our communities and it was refreshing to see and hear from those who are passionately paving the way for other mentors, educators, and advocates.

As one of the first guests to arrive, I received a copy of Tim Brown’s book, Boys Won’t Be Boys, in which Brown discusses some of the many ways that young men can elevate themselves to higher levels of success personally, spiritually, socially, and professionally. I enjoyed reading the book as it spoke at a level that anyone could understand while still addressing some of the most critical issues challenging young men today.

Brown claims that young men should have an “uncommon foundation” to serve as a moral platform for decision-making and filtering out the distractions that society throws at young men to handicap them and keep them from their potential. He encourages young men to make value-based decisions by developing an “uncommon identity”. He teaches them to defend and honor the names they’ve been given and to protect their reputations. He also stresses that each boy should focus on legacy-building: What will his name mean years and years from now?

Brown then transitions into speaking about how boys interact with the world and how they are perceived. Boys with “uncommon swagg”carry themselves with esteem which reflects the solid system of morals and ethics by which they conduct themselves. He dresses well, treats people well, dreams big, and fights for justice. To do this, they must surround themselves with “uncommon friends”, peers that also value education, manners, success, justice, service, truth, longevity, excellence, impact, loyalty, commitment, and accountability. Boys with “uncommon character” conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, and steadfastness. Circumstances reveal the character that we posses. Some of these circumstances include “uncommon relationships”. Uncommon men treat and choose their lady companions well, ladies with vision, poise, maturity, focus, and drive. They use “uncommon sense”, which really means actually applying common sense. They read, seek wisdom, and are concerned with the impression that they make on others. Finally, they work for “uncommon reward’, such as respect, happiness, and satisfaction in a job well done.

This book is a great read for parents who want to start a more in-depth conversation with their sons as well as young men who have dedicated themselves to excellence. I made some great connections while at the event and have grown both through those interactions and as a result of the wisdom I gained from reading Boys Won’t Be Boys. Now, as always, the most important part of the equation is application!

The book may be purchased at the link below:


I highly suggest that anyone who cares about the young black men in your community read this book with them and then pass it on so that the small ripples of good deeds and positive energy may spread to the corners of the globe.


About Ernest Levert Jr.

Aspiring Servant-Leader studying engineering principles, financial stewardship, business management, and psychology fundamentals in order to cultivate passionate leadership, disseminate positive energy, uplift the community and ultimately create a brighter future for generations to come.
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