I have spent an awful lot of my time in the past few years, writing, hoping, praying and wanting to believe that a vision for mentoring and supplemental education will make a difference in the lives of some young people who are theoretically “at risk.”

I have also dedicated an awful lot of time to what after this will be my 67th post, since starting this Blog in this format. While all of my efforts I think have made me a better person, I have spent the last two weeks not posting and asking myself if anybody really listens to what we are trying to say here and at The Pyramid Institute, where we want to mentor, change lives, and challenge people to think about important issues.

I must admit that there was a part of me that wanted to give up on my dream of mentoring, supplemental education, and provocation of thought through these vehicles, “The Family Meeting” and The Pyramid Institute, Incorporated.

In the midst of my disappointment and pessimism, I ran across an essay written by James Forman Jr. for The Covenant In Action. Forman is a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School. He is an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and education law. Forman was also a Clerk in the United States Supreme Court for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

In 1997, Forman, along with a colleague, started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington D.C. Please read about this wonderful charter school that is recognized as one of the most successful programs of its kind in the country.

“When you are fed up, you either shut down or act. The options are that straightforward. Doing nothing renders you inert and is detrimental to freedom and democracy. As a lawyer, an educator, and, most importantly an activist, I have rejected the path of inertness in favor of intentional action to help society collectively intervene in the lives of children.” From James Forman’s essay “Succeeding Against All Odds” written for The Covenant In Action. Copyright 206 by The Smiley Group, Inc.

Sometimes God speaks to you with and through the voices of others. Forman’s words have proven to be the inspiration that I needed to continue my efforts to try to make a difference in my own way through The Family Meeting and The Pyramid Institute.

I got fed up and I shut down over the last couple of weeks. Like Forman, I am also a lawyer, an educator, and an activist. Thanks to reading his essay, I believe that I am back and rejecting the path of inertia. I have decided instead that I “will take intentional action to help.”

My only hope is that someone is listening.

If you are, I would love to hear from you, need your encouragement, and welcome your support of The Family Meeting and The Pyramid Institute!

Read, learn, and share…..Have a Family Meeting!

C. Randolph Keller

This entry was posted in Conduct and Behavior, Education, Faith and Ministry, Mentoring, Motivation, Public Charter School. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. The Ed Buzz says:

    I lover your concept…. hang in there. Sometimes things just take time. I have over 125 letters of rejection when I first tried to get a job in leadership. 67??!! You have a ways to go. Failure just serves to sweeten success.

  2. Judy Grant says:

    Keep at it Randy, someday you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that your efforts have made a positive change in someone’s life.

  3. Nikki Brown says:

    Yes! we are listening…your thought provoking essays give readers a view into your heart for service and desire for change …it’s inspiring and much needed. Please dont grow weary…take a break…rest, recharge…but dont quit. We need you in this fight to win back our community and our youth.

  4. Reggie Anderson says:

    As an activist, there is no end to disappointment or struggle. Continue your work and those who can and will be helped are feed, the others have lived a life of not listening. Advocacy and leadership are very lonely positions regardless of who you are. Stay the course or you’ll just wind up short of your destination and charting a new course with the same road blocks and exits along the way. Finish the journey.!!!!

  5. Mike Lavigna says:

    I remember a story in the Old Testament about a man, named Elijah. He cried out to God that he surely was the only righteous man willing to follow and seek after God. However, God gently reminded him that there were seven thousand others, right in that same area.

    Recently a longtime friend of mine, who had put forward a fairly sizeable amount of income each week, to broadcast a pragmatic christian message thru a local radio station, asked the same question that you have or did. “Is anybody listening?” He asked for feedback in any variety of formats and recieved, none. While the six thirty am in the morning time spot was suspect, it did not explain the seemingly total lack of response. Discouraged after six months, he terminated his radio spot.

    Several weeks later, my friend received a short letter and hand drawn sketch from an eight year old girl, whose father had recorded the trasmission and allowed her to listen to it. In her letter she related to my friend how she was learning to recognize good and evil in the world and aksed him not to stop his radio broadcast. His decision has been reversed and he will begin again, next Fall, hopefully at a better time slot.

    What I most learned from this story was the principle of perserverance as well as the principle that often times it the least suspected people who ARE listening and watching. And perhaps most importantly, we never know who will actually listen, watch and apply the principles, which we are attempting to share and hopefully, are applying, in our own lives.

    Genuineness, consistency and availability are great and seemingly rare attributes in this Gratification above all, society, which we live in today.

    Your reflection of all three of the above attributes, is an encouragement to folks who may not even know your name. BTW, was it Elijah?

    Thanks for making a difference Randy. One person at a time. Just like someones’ grandmother I heard about once.

  6. Thank you very much Mike for taking the time to write this. I appreciate it more than you will ever know!

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