Challenged to Build Constructive Contributors

At the Collaborate to Educate Our Sons (CEOS) 3rd annual banquet, held on September 24, 2015, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret), Chaplain of the United States Senate, gave the keynote address. Dr. Black shared four principles to lay the foundation for “Building Constructive Contributors for a Brighter Tomorrow.” They are: choose grace over personal ability, the permanent over the perishable, preparation over procrastination, and purity over defilement.

Dr. Black, who grew up in West Baltimore, paid tribute to his mother who had her eight children memorize scripture verses. Consequently, he knows all the short Bible verses, but fell in love with the book of Proverbs. Chaplain Black said he did not realize at the time that his mother was building a constructive contributor and inoculating her children from the “pathology of their environment.” He told the story of the day he memorized Proverbs 1:10, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” That day two of his running buddies invited him to go with them to “get back” at someone, but he reflected on the text he had just learned and did not go. That day the boys killed someone and were arrested. One pled not guilty but was charged with accessory to murder and put in prison where he eventually died. Thanks to a mother who was in the business of building constructive contributors for a brighter tomorrow, her son didn’t yield to peer pressure and is now a positive contributor. Dr. Black asserts, “It is difficult to become the only African American Admiral in the history of the U.S. Navy Chaplaincy Corps with a murder record.” He further observed that though from the hood and being on welfare, he and all his siblings have become constructive contributors. He said individuals were doing what this great organization created by Dr. Melbourne is doing—building constructive contributors for a brighter tomorrow. He believes the inoculation he and his siblings received from God’s word made the difference.

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