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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Honor Role - The Power Of Mentors (Tribute to Darryl Robinson))

Dear Hannah,

Mentors are people who share their experiences.

Their wisdom is earned through lessons learned.

Then they pay it forward.



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"LEarning (Honor Role - The Power Of Mentors (Tribute to Darryl Robinson))"
By Derrick Brown

I met Darryl "Cheese" Robinson when I was 15 years old.

He was my hall counselor during the Clemson Career Workshop in 1985.

He may have been the head counselor - then again, maybe not.

But if he wasn't - it sure seemed like he was.

His room door was always open, and he was always in there speaking into someone.

Older students.

Younger students.

It did not matter - he was dropping knowledge for the masses.

He oozed charisma and confidence.

His voice was smooth and soothing.

He was a refined brother.

He told us, though, that he was from the country - Lumber City, Georgia (in Telfair County). Population 1284.

Nobody believed him, because he was so smooth.

But why would somebody pull your leg about being from the country?

I was from Elloree, South Carolina (in Calhoun County). Population 671.

He was as confident in himself as I was unconfident.

So I believed him ... I believed in him ... and I had found a secret role model.

He spoke on a litany of topics - most of which I knew nothing about.

But I was all ears.



Malcolm vs. Martin.

Malcolm AND Martin.




H. Rap.




The Spook Who Sat By The Door.

He dropped knowledge on all facets of our history that was far beyond our classrooms - and always did so with passion, eloquence and grace.

He also ALWAYS had orange juice in his refrigerator.

At 15, the only thing I loved more than storytelling was orange juice.

So I was always in his room, and was always in his orange juice.

He graciously allowed me to guzzle whenever thirst beckoned - all the way up to my freshman year at Clemson in 1987.

I went to his house party - 'cause ain't no party like a "Cheese" house party.

So I slid in - went straight for the orange juice.

Cheese slid over and greeted me - then pulled me aside.

He said "my brother, tonight the orange juice has a special purpose ... so enjoy yourself responsibly, and do not let the bruhs see that you are guzzling their chaser."

It was a long time before I understood what a "chaser" was, and why it was.

But I heeded Cheese's advice.

After my freshman year, Clemson became a blur.

I buckled down, did my thing, got out, and got on.

After that, life became a blur.

Lots of us lost touch.

Cheese and I got back in touch last year - 2017 - 32 years after I first met him.

Last year, I finally stepped out ... and debuted as a "standup storyteller".

What is a "standup storyteller"?

Well, this "standup storyteller" fuses rap, poetry, oration, teaching, and singing to write, direct, and produce pieces that inspire hope, healing, and change.

I dropped several songs last year on Facebook, and wrote & produced several more.

I got a modest reception from most, crickets and snickers from some ... but Cheese had to be my biggest fan.

Not just a cheerleader, mind you - 'cause this was Cheese.

He would tell me publicly what my stories told and showed him - and he would often be the first or second commenter.

You cannot buy that type of feedback and encouragement.

You could also do much worse than receive the blessing and endorsement of the cat you modelled a lot of your swag after.

So rest easy, Cheese.

You will be missed, but you will be remembered, man.

Your supreme level of encouragement, inspiration, grace, peace, love and wisdom live forever.


About Derrick Brown (Standup Storyteller)

I am Keisha's husband, and Hannah's father.

I am a “standup storyteller.”

I fuse rap, spoken word (poetry), oration (traditional public speaking), singing, and teaching into messages of hope, healing, and change that I write, direct, and produce to help people who help people.

Everything must change - and stay changED.

Tradition begins and ends with change.

Change begins with me and the renewing of my mind ... then continues through efforts to effect small-group discipleship (equipping others to equip others) with audiences that respect and embrace mentoring, mediation, and problem solving as tools of change.

I am the product of my mentoring relationships, peacemaking (and peacekeeping), and problem-solving ability.

My education began when I finished school.

After school, I enrolled in a lifelong curriculum that includes classes in ministry, entrepreneurship, stewardship, literacy, numeracy, language, self-identity, self-expression, and analysis / synthesis.

My projects execute a ministry that has evolved from wisdom earned through lessons learned.

I want to share this wisdom to build teams of "triple threat" fellows - mentors, mediators, and problem solvers.

We will collaborate in simple, powerful ways that allow us to help people who help people.

I now know that power is work done efficiently (with wise and skillful use of resources, interests, communication, and expertise).

Copyright © 2018 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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