If you know anything about me you know I love conversing with the youth. No matter if it’s in the hallways while students our transitioning between classes or at a football game if I see a group of them chatting I usually join the conversation (especially a group of black males). Additionally, I always speak to students individually and will quickly strike up a conversation about music, favorite foods, or favorite subject in school.

This week I’ve been having more individual discussions with young black males. The dialogue begins with my infamous fist bump followed by a “What’s good young brother?” The responses by five young men have been a strong eye-to-eye connection followed by a “What’s good with it or What’s up?” The look in their eyes prompted me to stop them and ask “What’s wrong?” Their response was a blank stare in their eyes. Their eyes were filled with pain, joy, and relief that someone was concerned about how they were feeling.

The dialogue began with a thank you for your willingness to talk to me, it’s okay to feel how you feel, and it’s okay to cry if you want to. This was followed by tears and a need for a hug. All of these young brothers were grieving over the death of their mother, grandmother, or aunt. This was something I could relate to. I immediately shared with them my story about my mom dying in my arms and I immediately shared a quote with them.

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but the same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals.”

~ Leo Tolstoy 

Next, I showed them a video I created with my mom that I watch for encouragement and inspiration. Following the view of the video, the boys were asked to bring in pictures of their mom so we can create a video for them to view in their time of need. I also informed them that I will be setting up counseling sessions as I needed counseling when my mother died. Finally, I was moved to tears when one of the young men told me all he wanted was for his mother to see him, graduate. I told him that I’ll be sure to make that happen as we will have a seat reserved for her with a huge picture of her in the chair. After, crying he hugged me and thanked me for allowing him to cry, inspiring him, and most Importantly crying with him. I do excited about creating the videos today.