Standard #59


A gentleman must always govern himself with honesty and accountability. To be clear, no one wants to feel the stinging, possible embarrassment of failure; especially when one’s failure is publicly consumed, digested, and analyzed. Even so, a man provides himself a personal disservice when truth is ignored or spun to reflect a more comfortable interpretation. Sometimes, a gentleman should be comfortable with discomfort. Sometimes, discomfort is the only thing that can foster adaptation and growth. And so, it is important to understand that it is okay to acknowledge and accept one’s failures. Absent shame, a gentleman should not be defined by a moment or undesirable result; rather he is molded by the individual paths along his journey. And the journey can be arduous.

He is forged by trials that challenge and shape his very character. Please understand, experiencing a failure in life is not equivalent to being a failure as a person. An intelligent gentleman must harness the strength and wisdom to comprehend the distinction. However, a man must recognize any pertinent lessons that are ready to be learned. Success should never be observed as an absolute certainty. Because, if a gentleman keeps living life, failures are more than likely to occur. It is important those failures are recognized, placed in its proper context within a gentleman’s life, and then utilized to achieve any future desired goals. Success is the total sum of our failures, meaningful self-reflection, stubborn change, and willingness to embrace the continued, dogged pursuit of your aspirations.

Daddy Diary – Up, Up, & Away – How to Deal with a Bully & Make Your Child Feel Like a Superhero


My young daughter is very sensitive, and not uncommon for her age, she can be very naive about the world. I find myself reminding her that people can sometimes be mean-spirited and unpleasant. Until this year, her education has been at private institutions. Now, as she has transitioned to third grade and the public school system, the new environment is bit different. Being a young girl of color, and given the demographics of our community, there was a certain level of unease as parent when we selected her school. Sure, the school was rated very high academically, but still a degree of trepidation remained regarding her adjustment and possible treatment by other children. As we all know, children can be especially cruel. Thus far the school year has been fine, well, aside from the ongoing battle of bringing homework and books home. Nevertheless, we did hit our first bump a few weeks ago.

Ava in enrolled in chess club, and two little boys mustered up the words to question her intelligence and explicitly state that she sucked. She handled the situation well and ignored their insults (she fire back at one of the boys with a “shut up”). However, one of the boys had been escalating his bad behavior, once even taking her undergarments in swim class and teasing her in front of other kids. My daughter is not the most organized, everything flies out of her book bag from water bottles to inhalers, so he spotted her undies and decided to be a prankster. Not cool. Not cool at all. It was time for an adult intervention. Now, I would like to offer a full disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist of any kind. As a parent you draw upon the wisdom you have gathered throughout the years, and you attempt to raise your kid(s) the proper way. So, take the following advice with a grain of salt. Below are a few tips how we approach bullying and self-esteem in our household.

  • Granted, you cannot fully shield your child from an ill-natured world. Of course, you do your best to protect them from harm or things that do not align with your family’s core values. However, sooner or later, your child will experience a confrontation that may threaten their self-esteem, confidence, or overall well-being. And so early on, I have preached to both my children that they need to develop thick skin. What does that mean? Every action does not require a reaction. I make them aware that everyone is not going to be their friend. I make them aware that not everyone is kind. Everyone will not have their best interests at heart. And in the event that they are confronted by a bully, sometimes, it is best to just walk away if possible. I teach my kids to be aware of their surroundings at all times and never allow someone to aggressively invade their space. If a situation escalates to a physical confrontation, throwing hands should be a last resort if forced. If possible, seek out an adult. Sometimes utilizing one’s voice can be enough to back down an aggressor that feeds off fear. Bullies are generally outliers to accepted social standards; calling that out and standing up for oneself communicates that bully’s behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
  • However, words can still certainly sting. Fists can sting even more. As a parent it is your responsibility to build, reinforce, and protect their blossoming confidence before they even experience their first bout of torment. To stand tall against a bully, a child needs mental and emotional fortification. All of this is made possible through your active involvement in their lives. Trust, a parent can be present in the home, yet absent in their child’s life. These conversations happen during dinner, science fairs, baseball games, and chess tournaments. Being fully present in their lives is the foundation for the open communication and close relationship that is required.
  • It is always best for a parent to lead by example. It is crucial that a home has its own set of core values that the family follows. It is important that set of beliefs is instilled within your children. Especially in the case with my son, I always use myself as standard that he should model his behavior after. True, he has his own personality, but children are like sponges soaking up everything around them. Therefore, great care should be deployed to ensure their development is grounded in integrity, respect, and civility. You should be providing the template that they govern themselves after accordingly. It starts with you. Your child will be confident knowing they are backed by values championed by your household.
  • Educate, encourage, and empower your children. I reaffirm their intelligence. I reaffirm their pride in their physical characteristics. I reaffirm their self-worth by explaining they are loved and appreciated by family & friends. And I reaffirm their love for themselves. I praise good behavior and hard work. I teach them to give their absolutely best and never take shortcuts. And I teach them to lift up others in need absent ridicule or judgement.
  • Lastly, as a parent, you sometimes have to demonstrate a show of strength. What do I mean by show of strength? Your child needs to see that you have their back and be willing to defend them. I ALWAYS ask my daughter how her day was at school and if people were kind to her. Why? Because, if Dad ever becomes aware of any school shenanigans, action is going to be taken to remedy the situation. In the case outlined in the first paragraph, it required dual conversations (Mom & Dad) with the assistant principal (he was receptive and took immediate action) to address and resolve the matter. Generally, when I pick Ava up from chess club, I pull up curbside and she hops in the car. However, around this time, I made sure I escorted her from the school door to the vehicle. Subconsciously I wanted her to feel at ease and protected with Dad there. Following up on the situation, I routinely ask if any other problems had occurred. Thus far, that situation has been put to rest. I told Ava we would take care of the situation and we followed through with that promise. I believe that is extremely important as you build trust and credibility with your kid(s).

Again, I want to reiterate that I am not a licensed expert regarding today’s subject matter. If your child is experiencing bullying or low self-esteem, I recommend you seek professional assistance for your child. However, I hope you have been able to glean a bit of insight from my experiences. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of advice. I am sort of rambling off the top of my head. I would love the audience to chime in with some positive advice of your own. Please like, share with friends, and subscribe to this site if you enjoyed the read. Thank you in advance.

The Standard #45


A wise gentleman understands that his reward and blessings in life are not entirely his own to selfishly possess. Rather, his reward and blessings are meant to fuel his purpose, and his purpose – in some form or another – should be enhancing and adding value to the lives of other people. To be sure, a gentleman’s objective in life should not be driven by a concerted focus to facilitate personal gain, especially at the costly expense of other individuals. The wise and prosperous gentleman understands that material wealth is meaningless if it is not utilized to cultivate prosperity with other members in society.

A gentleman’s service may arrive in the form of monetary value, educational and knowledge sharing, or granting valuable time with his presence. Truly, however, whatever a gentleman gives of himself to bless the life of another person is wholly his own decision. Surely the accomplished gentleman understands that his own blessings are most likely have been assisted by a helping hand – seen or unforeseen. Today, identify and recognize your own blessings and how they can positively impact the life of someone who could really reap the benefits. Someone is in need right now.

Style & Substance – Wurkin Stiff Magnetic Collar Stays

Wurkin Stiffs

To be perfectly honest, in my humble opinion, the renaissance of men’s style was experiencing a slight decline perhaps 10-15 years ago. Mind you, not totally extinct, but the fickle interest from the mainstream had begun to dramatically wane. The COVID-19 pandemic granted no favors as white-collar workers migrated from the office to their homes. Business attire was certainly not at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Sure, menswear was still being discussed, but the conversation felt very much unserious. Popular men’s magazines would lead you to believe that wearing a dress like Russell Westbrook or tattered hobo wear like Kanye West was the evolution of men’s fashion. Absent were instructions related to proper business casual attire, how to coordinate color & pattern, or how to simply knot a necktie. Seriously, they would have you believe -no disrespect intended- that Pete Davidson was the next fashion icon.

Well, since no one has the courage to be brutally honest with you, it is all celebrity nonsense. Walk into your next job interview dressed like you just rolled out of bed; let me know how it works out for you. For those of us that live in the real world, celebrity fashion does not translate well to normal everyday lives. Do not be misled, a gentleman’s presentation still matters. In a normal world, it is still important to present oneself with a certain level of care and nuance. And as more and more of the population return to the office, appropriate work attire is becoming relevant again. Therefore, I wanted to revisit a company I discovered years ago – Wurkin Stiffs. Sometimes I can be a little obsessive compulsive, and floppy collars on my dress shirts were driving me insane.

Wurkin Stiffs was the solution to my dilemma. Collar stays are small inserts (either metal or plastic) that slide inside a hidden pocket underneath the shirt’s collar. What is the purpose of this accessory? Collar stays provide form and weight to the collar to keep it anchored and neatly in place. Wurkin Stiffs takes that function to another level – their collar stays are magnetic! The magnetic collar stay is inserted into the collar’s pocket as usual. An accompanying magnetic button is then placed underneath the shirt at the point of contact with the stay. Trust me, you will never know it is there. The magnets are very strong, so you need not worry of your collar flying out of place during the course of the day. A friend just reached out the other day because they were frustrated with their collar staying in place. Wurkin Stiffs immediately came to mind. If you are experiencing shirt collars that just won’t cooperate, I highly recommend you check Wurkin Stiffs out.

Black Thought – Authenticity


“Authenticity is my rebellion.” – Viola Davis

Trust and be assured, you possess an extraordinary power when you hold fast to your authentic self. Emboldened with unwavering confidence and a stubborn commitment to one’s core values; you will not acquiesce or conform to either popular trends or a status quo that stand in sharp contrast to your own principles. And while being exposed to a variety of opposing, external influences; you remain unbothered and unaffected because you are rooted unmistakably in your truth. Sometimes, you boldly swim against a powerful current of popular opinion. Now, such rebellion could be met with certain labels. And that is okay. It is what defines our uniqueness. The definition of self must be written by its author. And you are the author of your own book – ghost writers need not apply. To be your true self is what grants you strength, courage, and drive. Absent hesitation, regret, or embarrassment; your rebellion is your originality. Trust and be assured, your authenticity is unapologetically you and only you.

The Professional – 5 Utterly Fantastic Ways to Flub a Job Interview

Do you despise the mere thought of working? Do you enjoy unemployment, but outside forces beckon you to peruse Indeed? Do you want it to seem as if you are searching, but secretly you want to botch the next interview? Well friend you are in the right place. I kid, I kid. Today, I am here to assist you in your job hunt. And today, I want to make sure you are not committing any terrible offenses in your job interview. To be sure, interviewing for a job can be an extremely stressful experience. It is an audition of sorts for meaningful employment. The stakes are indeed high, and there lies a myriad of ways a candidate can effectively blow an interview. In this post, I won’t painstakingly state the blatantly obvious. The obvious? Well, for starters, showing up with Jack Daniel’s seeping out of your pores, slurring your speech, and stumbling about the premises.

A word to the wise: Calm your nerves with an adult beverage of choice AFTER your interview. Trust me, you will thank me later. No, today I offer advice regarding unforced errors you may be committing as seek your dream job. Well, perhaps, not exactly your dream job. Regardless, you don’t want foolish mistakes standing between you and a coveted paycheck. Now, this is just the opinion of a man that has interviewed hundreds of job seekers. Nevertheless, it is my sincere hope that you are able glean some wisdom from the advice below.

  • As a potential employee interviewing for a job, it is simply idiotic to express or voice prejudice toward individuals based on characteristics such as race, gender, age, or sexual orientation. Trust me – it occurs. Strong opinions regarding your previous employer outsourcing your job offshore to individuals with limited English – keep it to yourself. If working with the opposite sex elicits acrimonious feelings deep within your soul – keep that under wraps. Proudly waving the flag, representing your generation of workers – don’t deride others as you bathe in your own greatness. In a job interview, you must not assume the interviewer(s) belong to your tribe. And to be honest, if you belong to any of the aforementioned tribes, you might want to practice some self-examination and refine your core values.
  • As a supervisor that has interviewed hundreds of job candidates, I prefer my time not totally wasted. So, showing up to an interview totally unprepared is not acceptable. To be perfectly clear, I am not referring to any form of anxiety that may intrude and potentially derail your interview. A case of the nerves is understandable, and nervousness may present as being unprepared. However, a seasoned interviewer should be able to discern the difference. What does an unprepared candidate look like? An unprepared candidate cannot recite their work history clearly, they do not understand the basic requirements & responsibilities of the desired position, and they display a lack of genuine curiosity regarding the company or job itself – outside of salary and paid time off. Do the homework. Granted, you don’t need to recite the full history of the company itself. However, ensure that you adequately educate yourself regarding the company’s mission and vision, as well as the core responsibilities of the position itself.
  • No company wants to hire a malcontent. Sure, a candidate may be able to pull a fast one and mask their discontentment from the hiring manager(s). Nevertheless, there are individuals that are terrible poker players and show their hand straightaway in the interview. They launch headfirst into the interview on fire. Unabashed and unfiltered; they proceed to complain, name, shame, and blame. Oh yes. They name-drop previous or current management figures they despise. They blame and shame colleagues they hate. And they complain about company culture & policy whilst eschewing accountability and growth. Fantastic. Seriously, with those factors working in your favor, who wouldn’t want to hire you? The company you are aspiring to work for – that’s who.
  • So, we have established that a bad attitude toward previous or current employment will hinder a job opportunity. Now, let us talk about how a bad attitude directed at the hiring manager(s) is also a foolish, if not bold approach to a job interview. Yes indeed, a sure way to tank an interview is to stroll into a room with a cantankerous, condescending, or arrogant demeanor. Being the subject matter expert that you proclaim; you talk over the interviewer, force answers before a question is even finished, and even project an unpleasant attitude if the series of questions or details about the job annoy you. You might as well fold your arms, kick your feet up on the table, and beckon the hiring manager(s) to bow before your greatness. No worries superstar – you won’t receive the opportunity again.
  • If you are interviewing for a job, it is best to remember that honesty is the best policy. Misrepresenting one’s qualifications and work history will turn a first impression into a last impression. Now, you may be wondering how an interviewer would be able to know a candidate is being dishonest. Well, an experienced interviewer will be able to see through the facade of fanciful lip-service and grandiose declarations. An experienced interviewer should be able to discern a verbal hustle by deploying probing and follow-up questions to a candidate’s previous answers. It is no different than spotting any liar that will dance around an issue and never answer a question directly. You may believe you are being sly, but do not be surprised if that job offer eludes you. Sure, there are individuals that may be able to hustle their way to a level of success. However, you are only performing a disservice to your professional growth and development. And sooner than probably later, you will have to account for your deeds.
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