By Jason Brice | For AC JosepH Media

I recently learned that the sin of one, particularly one man, can ruin a generation.

Honestly, it took some time for me to grasp it. I questioned myself over and over again as to how can one person, and I do mean how one person, can ruin a generation. At first I didn’t think that it was possible, but as the days went by, I began to slowly understand it. Just like Adam and Eve, when Eve convinced Adam that they should eat the apple even after God told them not to, is the first thing that came to mind.

God told both of them not to eat from this tree, but the pressure of life got to them and they decided to make a choice: The choice to eat the apple. During the moment that they were eating the apple, I am sure that eating that apple provided instant gratification. It was not until that instant gratification sensation was over when they realized that the choice that they made in that moment would have a monumental effect.

This is still true today. The choices we make today not only affect us in the moment, but also will affect us in the future.  Many of us still choose to eat the apple even though our soul tells us not to. So why do we eat the apple? Why do we love instant gratification, especially in African American communities?  I believe that it comes from slavery.

I mean, the master gave the slaves all the things that they didn’t want. And we were grateful! We were simply gratified!! Why do you think that we eat pig feet, chitlings, hog maws, etc, while the master was eating pork roast and pork loin.  Still not convinced…Why do you think children desire at times to be drug dealers and hustlers?

Growing up in low socioeconomically developed areas is very, matter of fact, extremely rough. Often times these children are growing up in single-parent homes where no father is present and if he is present, he is virtually defeated and beaten up from dealing with society.

With no father in the home, the child has no direction and no identity. The child also has no security or value as it is a challenge for that child to mature. The child then begins to see and identify with other children that are just like him in the community. Once the children all group up, they begin to admire the other children who were just like them at one time, but they decided to change their circumstances and get that fast money.

Like the apple, fast money is instant gratification. Once the choice is made to get that fast money, fast consequences will follow.

When our behavior is dictated by the circumstances that we face, we will always lose and become a victim to that particular circumstance. As children, our behavior is predicated on the choices that our parents make within their own individual lives. Since we all come into the world as blank shells, it is safe to say that we are a product of our environment. We are what we have seen. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but often times in my culture it is a debilitating reality. To many times, we have seen empty blank shells become something that God never intended them to be. God has a specific plan for everyone but unfortunately many get caught in a vicious cycle of exercising their free will instead of following the steps that are design for us to follow.

The steps that are design for us to follow are the steps that lead us to our dreams, sort of like the yellow brick road. The main reason why we become engulfed in instant gratification is because we don’t dream anymore. I can safely say that I still dream. To be honest, I feel that I may dream more than the average African American child growing up nowadays.

That’s a problem! Why don’t our children dream anymore?  They don’t dream anymore because they don’t believe they can be more than what there reality has shown them. They feel that way because their parents have taught them that due to their parents not believing in their dreams.

Don’t give up on your dreams because others have failed at theirs. Dream until you can’t dream no more.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jason Brice is an elected member of the Voorhees Board of Education, a guidance counselor at Penns Groves High School in Carneys Point, and the founder/executive director of 4WALLS Foundation which specializes in family and adolescent counseling services. His sports podcast Let’s Get It can be heard weekly streaming on YouTube.

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