I struggle to understand why common decency and respect are at times such a difficult task. In public and social situations, the concept of decency, thoughtfulness, etiquette, consideration, and manners sometimes just seems to be gone from the rubric of our society.

It bothers me that others will have no respect for your personal space, comfort, or their impact on YOUR environment. I recently was so glad to see my children after they had been gone on vacation for a week. My wife was not returning until the next day. Two men with their loud profanity and rudeness very briefly stole my joy of having my children back at home safely.

I want our young men to understand how gentlemen should conduct themselves and the impact that poor behavior can have on others.  I just could not shake the need to author a spoken word piece about this experience and encourage a family meeting.


My two teenagers had been out-of-town on spring break for a whole week.
After the airport, a stop by our house, we decided to go out to eat.
The decision was to go to one of our favorite spots for pizza and wings.
I quickly found myself saddened, embarrassed, and mad of all things.

As we sat catching up on their trip, their fun, and all of our family out there,
At the table directly behind us, the hostess gave two men a very close chair.
The talk between the two men was immediately profane and quite loud.
“Nigga” this, “Motha” that, these incendiary words shot through the crowd.

As a father with uncomfortable children, a Black man, and a patron in the place,
I was angry, embarrassed, and offended, these feelings had nothing to do with race.
A word, criticism, or a suggestion would surely have brought me trouble right back.
For me, it was an issue of decorum, proper manners, respect… the right way to act.

The men spoke loudly of “making this paper” and how this was their plan.
Getting paid, as long as it is done legally, is a good goal for any man.
We struggled though our dinner, forced to listen and endure these two.
I just cannot understand the disconnect with decency and respect, can you?

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

This entry was posted in African American Leadership, Conduct and Behavior, Education, Family, Mentoring. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. momshieb says:

    I share your discomfort in these situations, and I applaud you for writing about this issue. I always struggle with how ow whether to speak up when this happens. As a middle aged, bifocal wearing woman, I feel relatively secure speaking to children or young adolescents, but not grown men. I think that all we can do is model good behavior ourselves and reinforce it in our children.
    I’m sorry that this happened to you and to your children!

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