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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Happy Birthday (Thoughts On Growing Up - And Speaking Up))

Dear Hannah,

Take stock of your life on every birthday.

Assess your progress towards love, maturity, courage, freedom, and your life's mission and vision.

Embrace the people who love and appreciate you, and take the time to tell you that you are important to them.

Then reciprocate and exceed that love and reflection with intention and sincerity.



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"LEarning (Happy Birthday (Thoughts On Growing Up - And Speaking Up))"
By Derrick Brown

I celebrated my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

Birthdays are important milestones.

They allow us to reflect on and appreciate life, health, happiness, and stewardship.

And my wife's homemade pizza.

I appreciate getting birthday wishes through cards, texts, and Facebook.

These wishes help me realize that my life is meaningful to other people.

Every year, a few wishes impart simple, strong words of encouragement that keep my fire stoked.

This year, one of them came from my friend and mentor, Darryl.

He said "... keep doing what you do, being who you are".

Maybe many folks say that - but not many folks say it to me.

I receive that, brother - and thanks for acknowledging my work and my being.

Let me try to explain why his words were so important to me.

See, I have known for quite some time that even strange folks think I am peculiar.

It is well.

They can't see me.

But I know who I am.

But I know what I am doing.

I do not mistake my activity for achievement.

I am a "standup storyteller" - with much more to do and say in my remaining years.

I want to be a five-tool "standup storyteller" - teacher, orator, poet, rapper, and singer - and use these elements to create beauty.

Creation of beauty is art.

My art is inspired by the best that I have seen from each of these worlds.

I am particularly inspired by the artist community that thrived at Tech High School (2004-2012).

I am also sobered, informed, and cautioned by the worst that I have seen from each of these worlds.

I am hopeful that a "loving & living" approach can make the worst and best just a little better - through honor, humility, and sharing the truth about our perspectives.

I write, compose, arrange, and perform all lyrics and beats for the songs that express my views.

I also record and produce the videos (with on-screen lyrics).

I have mastered none of these skills, but am good enough at each to "own my masters" (pun intended) - and to control my destiny.

My songs are all letters to our daughter, Hannah.

I am sharing all my (hard) lessons with her (hopefully from a place of healing) - so that when the student is ready, the teacher will reach - then teach.

I have created and finished 15 songs & videos since November 2016.

They have not all been released, but will be in due time and season.

I am in a nice (and urgent) groove right now, so I will continue to write and record every inspired word until the well runs dry.

As I write, I continue to dream of ways to deliver my art in ways that can deliver my people.

I know that I have a small, "niche" audience, and that is OK.

I will speak to those who listen.

I will say what I need to say.

I first spoke to things I see that need to change - and how we can change them.

My new groove is to speak on *how* we speak when we speak up.

That's a tall task.

We have to use what we have to get what we want.

All we have is what we are given - and what we produce from it.

Guess what?

We are given opportunities disguised as work, problems, misinformation, disrespect, inequality, and exploitation.

But these are still opportunities for they who endureth.

At a minimum, these are opportunities to grow and mature in how we handle bad circumstances, difficult situations and unexpected outcomes.

Many times in my life, I have experienced inequities and iniquities that occur in plain sight ...

... that go unchecked.

Because none are as blind as those who will not see.

But there are those who see, and will not say.

Others see, but do not stay.

Others see, and just say "OK" ...

... can't do nothin' bout that anyway ...

... but pray and pray that it goes away ...

... or say, "I do it all for God, anyway".

So what's the balance ...

how do you say ...

I don't like this flow ...

... this manipulative m.o. ...

... it's not ok, yo ...

... and say this in love ...

... but love that is firm ...

... fair, balanced, and just ...

... that demands different treatment ...

... to restore broken trust?

I do not have a definitive answer to this dilemma.

I have an approach, but understand the inherent risks of its uncontrollable outcomes.

See, now I know ...

... to be real careful tho ...

... about speaking truth to power ...

...  for speaking in mixed company ...

... creates mixed messages ...

... and weapons of mass distraction ...

... that can and will be used against you (in the oversimplified court of public opinion).

There will come a time where walking away from "mess" is the most prudent choice ...

... but gather yourself ...

... be of good courage ...

... and find a way to speak your piece ...

... but keep your peace ...

... then make some peace ...

... then say "peace" ...

... que sera, sera ...

... whatever will be, will be ...

... the future's not ours to see.


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 © 2020 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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