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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Not-So-Random New Year Thoughts ... Alabama-Clemson | Moving On | Robert Boyd)

Dear Hannah,

it's a new year.

there's a lot to discuss.

we won't count our words,
but we'll make our words count.



Support Our Work - Buy This Podcast (SEE BELOW)!



LEarning (Not-So-Random New Year Thoughts ... Alabama-Clemson | Moving On | Robert Boyd) (1-3-2018)
By Derrick Brown

it's a new year.

there's a lot to discuss.

we won't count our words,
but we'll make our words count.

TAKE 1: Alabama Handles Clemson

first - congratulations to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

they handled Clemson ...

... withstood and evaded Clemson's defensive pressure.

... found new ways to create their own defensive pressure.

... attacked Clemson's offensive line and quarterback weaknesses.

... turned a few good plays into great plays by being aware and in position.

as a program, they are where Clemson wants to be ...

... but Clemson is close, and will get there.

sometimes progress is painful.

I watch football through a different lens now.

I watch like a coach ... both a football coach AND a life coach.

I also watch like an analyst.

every team has strengths and weaknesses.

the key is identifying weaknesses that you have the strength to attack.

these strengths and weaknesses are revealed through "the numbers" - and with "the eyeballs".

"the numbers" told me that Clemson's defense played its best game of the year against Alabama - and that the offense played its worst.

"the eyeballs" said that Bama was stronger, faster, more determined ... and had the strength to attack Clemson's weaknesses.

trust me - no other team in this country has that strength.

Clemson's task now is to make sure Alabama needs even more strength next time.

there will be a next time, y'all.

feel me?

TAKE 2. Moving On

my wife and I have decided to seek a new church home for our family.

this will not make your evening news broadcast.

we won't hold a press conference.

we won't have a meeting, or "last goodbyes".

that's not our style.

instead, we hope to have some "first hellos" ... from the other side.

we hope that we have built relationships that will survive our transition.

we enjoyed our 7 years, and got to fellowship with some wonderful people.

we have grown and further defined our individual and team ministries.

what are those ministries?

we want to help people who help people - by using mentoring, meditation, and creative problem solving as tools of change.

we want to facilitate, lead, and support concrete, holistic reconciliation.

how sway?

through difficult - but civil - conversations about our hidden conflicts in marriage, manhood and ministry.

this is something we don't do well ... because we don't do it.

there is no one reason why we don't do it ... but none of the reasons are reasonable.

some of the reasons stem from comforts that we euphemize as "tradition", "order", and "culture".

some of them stem from discomforts regarding change.

here's the rub ... traditions begin and end with change.

change begins with me - and the renewing of my mind.

it continues through efforts to effect small-group discipleship - that is, equipping others to equip others.

we will now seek and build a place that will allow us to execute our ministry.

this is all easier said than done.

but it must be said ... then read ... comprehended ... then fed.

let's move on about "Moving On".

TAKE 3: Robert Boyd

as you can tell, this year we have already dealt with some challenges.

I learned yesterday that a former student (Robert Boyd) passed away on New Year's Day.

he was 27 years old.

it knocked me down at first - because of who Robert is.

then it picked me up - because of who Robert is.

let me take my time with this one.

first, some necessary perspective ...

I am a former consultant, founding faculty member, athletic director, administrator, and two-term board member of the former Tech High public charter school in Atlanta, GA.

Tech High operated from 2004-2012, and graduated 5 classes before it closed.

I have fingerprints all over Tech High.

Tech High has scars all over me.

some have healed, some will take as long as they take - but I remember and embrace them all.

I discuss them with few.

there is a deeper story to tell, but not today - capisce?

OK - let's get back on track.

my best and most affirming memories of Tech High were personal conversations and interactions with students ... and observations of their character, personality, temperament - and talent.

I met Robert the way I met most students - he was sent to my office.

not for discipline per se ... he was having a rough day with a teacher who asked me to help the situation.

it is worth noting that he was on his way to becoming close to this teacher - so it all worked out.

on this day, of course, I don't know the situation, so I start with "what's going on"?

Robert then told me what was going on.

he was forthright and expressive ... and informative.


old soul.





his response made it easy for me to talk to him.

it was always easy after that.

that first conversation was about anger.

he shared his, which helped me share mine ... and how we both had to deal with ours.

I did not know it at the time, but I would have that difficult "anger" conversation with a lot more students.

dealing with Robert taught me how to approach them.

he came to us from the nearby Atlanta Youth Academy, and a few other students followed.

they all seemed to have a special connection.

Robert was also a big dude.

not the tallest (though close).

not the heaviest (though close).

but the BIGGEST and the strongest.

and the most gentle.

it was more about his presence.

he smiled all the time ... like Hollywood bright ... but the students knew not to cross him.

he joined our fledgling basketball team as its big man.

rim protector.

the enforcer.

big shot Rob.


we had no gym - so all of our games were on the road.

culture shock ensued.

we played Pace, Westminster, Whitefield, Lovett.

saw everything that we did not have.

got a lot of side comments about our "enthusiasm" at games.

got a lot of shade from referees - and may have deserved some of it.

we did not win many games playing in a league with 18 private schools.

it took us 14 tries to win the first one.

but that first one was sweet.

we finally played a team with equal skill and talent.

we always told the players that when talent and skill are equal - doing the extra things ... the little things ... hustle and defense ... gives you the edge.

blocking out.

setting screens.

calling out screens.

diving for loose balls.

our basketball culture at that time clashed with this "old school" talk.

we don't screen no more ... we just cross them over until we get loose.

we don't box out ... we just jump over them.

diving on the floor? man, please ... floor burns.

I digress.

anyway, we were up by two points - under 30 seconds left.

they had the ball, held it, missed a shot, and the ball hit the floor.

I am about to curl up in the fetal position.

then I see Robert.

biggest dude in the gym diving after that ball.

he got it.

hugged it like a baby.

he protected our first win.

always protecting.

a rival athletic director (whose son would go on to play in the NBA) told me point-blank that our team was undersized and outmanned ... but scrappy, quick and tough ... that we had some players that other schools would try to "steal".

like old #32.

he warned me.

it happened.

I saw it happen - first game of his junior year.

Robert came and told me.

I told him to take his opportunity.

he did.

he came back to us after being away for a while.

that's what makes today a little rough.

I know he won't come back this time.

I get it, but I don't.

that's a good brother that we lost.

he left a mark, though - on several communities.

I will miss him.

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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