Brian Pruitt is a CMU alumni. He is a former all-American athlete, author and entrepreneur. Pruitt is also the founder of The Power of Dad. A program dedicated to turning fatherless inner city boys into men. His team is devoted to teaching boys 21 essential skills from tying a tie to hygiene and dating. Over a 9 month period the boys learn to forgive their fathers and are then able to graduate from the program as men. Pruitt grew up fatherless. Not until he was 22 years old did he learn that a clip on tie was unacceptable.
I can apply his story to my life. 7th grade was the last time I saw my mother. She didn’t walk out on me, I walked out on her. That year I decided my mother didn’t deserve to have me in her life because of the poor choices she was making. My mom, time and time again, choose one of my two stepfathers over her own children. Many times I told her “You forgot babies came with umbilical cords.” Even before then my mother wasn’t much of an influence in my life. After she divorced my father she put my sister and I on the back burner. I grew up without a motherly influence. Luckily I’ve always had our amazing family friend Gail, but she’s still not my biological mom. Without my mother there for me my dad had to try to fill in for her. He has always tried to be Mr. Mom but cannot teach me certain things. I learned how to put on makeup from a friend. Everything I learned about developing was from research and uncomfortably asking around. During my first period, though my dad continues to deny it, he told me that a period is a beautiful thing. In many cultures they send the women away from the village to have her period but we respect it here. Let’s just say my early years were equivalent to a bad episode of Full House staring Jim Long as Danny Tanner, my sister Madeline as Stephanie and myself as D.J. I wouldn’t trade the relationship I have with my dad for anything but it was a struggle sometimes.
Pruitt lost the parent he is supposed to look up to. His mission is to give struggling boys the influence of a man in their early years. His program is unbelievably respectable and I hope that it can grow. It even sparked a little interest in my heart for another passion.
Dr. Joyce Baugh is a professor at Central Michigan University in the Political Science department.
Joyce Baugh was pro-Detroit. She loves the city. She spoke to our class before we left for our service project weekend. She really educated me on the city. I never thought about what really harms Detroit: racism. She interacted with our class by asking questions on the history of Detroit. She was beneficial to the class. She gave us back story on where we were going. She also helped to clear the air about the negative side of Detroit. She taught us a lot about the once thriving motor city. I wouldn’t mind taking one of her classes in the future. She was extremely interesting and easy to listen to. Since her speech and our trip, I have rekindled my love for service work and the city.
Drew Dudley presented on Everyday Leadership. His speech was about why we revere leadership as such a high and mighty quality to have. He talked about how leadership isn’t something we’re going to eventually get it. He also addressed that we don’t appreciate each other enough. We don’t tell those who are important to us how much they truly mean to us enough. We’re all born with it, it just depends on how and/or if we ever end up expressing it. He shared a story about when he was working at a university. He gave a lollipop to a new freshman boy and told him “Give this to the most beautiful girl in the room.” He ended up handing the lollipop to a girl who was extremely close to dropping out. That event kept her at the university.
The reason he created this speech was because he was touched by the fact that this woman found out he was leaving the university soon and she wanted him to know how much he had touched her life. He’s actually unable to recall that event. I think it’s relevant to student leadership. He didn’t do something unbelievably impressive. All he did was use an icebreaker to make the boy branch out a little bit more. I agree that we need to let the people that have made changes in our lives how much they’ve touched us.
I already try to do this. I’m not a touchy or expressive person. I don’t tell people I love them or hug them very often. Sometimes saying things like that are like pulling teeth for me. Since I don’t tell people how important they are to me very often I like to send cards to my friends every once and a while. Everyone loves mail and it’s usually a great little surprise.
Click here for a link to the video.