by E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.” – Carol Moseley-Braun

Forward Thinkers today I challenge every single mother and devoted parent to read this article with your sons. Your sons deserve the opportunity to be empowered with the keys of success. No matter what condition your relationship is in today with your son, this article is designed to give him hope and to give you the ability to understand the battle he is fighting to survive.

Forward Thinkers a couple of weeks ago while watching the hit series SCANDAL on ABC a closing scene left an impressive mark on me. Columbus Short’s character Harrison Wright was described as being young black and gifted then he was shot and killed. Unfortunately, this scene is played out on real streets across America daily and like the television show everyone just moves on to the next show.

Forward Thinkers too many young black and gifted young men are dying before they have a chance to leave a mark on this earth that cannot be erased. As we all know, Trayvon Martin name and face and we even know the fact he wore a hoodie and liked to eat Skittles but, what about the thousands of young blacks murdered since then that go nameless.

Forward Thinkers today I spoke to over 200 young black men at Rice University and posed the question if anyone had lost a close friend or relative in their age range to murder and I was amazed that over 85% of the hands went up. There were no marches, no NBA players crying foul, and no big rallies to bring awareness to this massive number of young black boys being murdered. Just silence and church as usual.

Forward Thinkers my goal today is to educate our sons on the enemies game plan to take them out and to encourage you as a Forward Thinking parent to open up the lines of communication with your son.

Daniel 1 (NIV)

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babyloniaand put in the treasure house of his god.3Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel,10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned yourfood and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”11Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

Four Lessons From Daniel

I.        Separation

Forward Thinkers the enemy understands the power of numbers and the spirit of unity. The first trick of the enemy is to separate every young gifted black male from the strength of his family. The Lord created the family structure to provide directions and protection but the enemy does all he can to separate the family removing young black males from their foundation of purpose.

Forward Thinkers it is no coincidence that 3 out of every 4 black males in America wake up in a house every morning without the presence of their natural father. The father is assigned to be the black males first head coach. The father is supposed to provide coaching on life skills and directions on how to succeed and win in life. The enemy aggressively attacks the black father- black son relationship to separate the young black male from his source of power.

Forward Thinkers its time the black community became even more aggressive in reconnected the black father to his sons. Many teams have lost games due to bad coaching and its time we as a people redefined the position of the black father and give this generation of young talented black males a fair chance to win.

II.        Surround You With Negative Images

Forward Thinkers have you noticed everywhere you look in America there are negative images of young black males. The enemy desires to steal their true identify so, he places negative images all around hoping the black male will buy into this false negative image of himself.

Forward Thinkers it’s our job to share the rich history of the African American male with this generation of young black males to ensure the enemy can’t rob them of their true identify.

Forward Thinkers their music is filled with violence, sex, drugs, and profanity and those negative images are being downloaded into their spirits daily. We must counter this attack with positive communication daily to our sons. Many young black males have no positive reinforcements in their lives; this must come to an end if we truly desire to save our sons.

Forward Thinkers for every negative image being pushed by the enemy we must counter with multiply positive images of young, gifted, and talented black men.

Our sons will not grow up wanting to be “gangsta” but instead we will teach them to desire to be great.

III.        Steal Your Mind

Forward Thinkers there is a “real war” being fought to steal the minds of this generation of black males. They are being under educated in the things that matter and over exposed to the things that don’t matter.

The enemy is playing tricks with their minds causing them to devalue the worth of a black male in America. Mind games are being played on our sons and there are not enough Forward Thinkers in position to equip them with the tools to “win” this unfair game.

IV.        Stick You In System

Forward Thinkers the final attack from the enemy is to stick all the young and gifted black males in the “system”. All the other attacks are designed to finally weaken the spirit of the black male until he eventually finds himself in the prison system.

Forward Thinkers the new slave market is alive and well and it’s being stocked by young black males. There is now a real school to prison pipeline where our sons are being molded into modern day slaves.

Forward Thinkers in conclusion, remember there has been a war on drugs and a war on illiteracy, but today I’m declaring a war to save our sons. In the bible, Daniel and his three friends had a support system strong enough for them to win and test out higher than any of the other boys around them. We must build a support system today strong enough to save our sons.

Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at

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