As a child, I thought Black boys grew up and went to college and became brothers in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. I grew up watching my father, my Uncle that’s actually my father’s brother and other Uncles that became my father’s brothers through this fraternity reminisce about old times, discuss present times and teach us about becoming men. I was so proud of my father and uncles; so proud I used to wear a “My Dad is an Omega Man” t-shirt as often as I could.
I went to college but did not pledge Omega Psi Phi. I didn’t pledge at all actually. I missed out on having those relationships I saw my father and uncle nurture. But I did learn one thing from their experience with their fraternity that I find more value in my life now more than ever.
The motto of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is “Friendship is essential to the soul”. The older I get, the smaller the number of “friends” I have. It took a while to recognize the true difference between a friend and an associate and life experiences teaches you these things in the strangest way. Anyone can drink a beer with you. Anyone can smile and rejoice with you during good times. Anyone can sit down and eat dinner with you. But what happens to those people in crucial moments in your life when you need them most?
Here’s a test: List those that would be present at your wedding. Now from that list, who’d come to your funeral? Now from that list, who would you trust to raise your children in your absence? Those remaining are your true friends. Those are the people who know you best and will make sure your children grow up with the necessary tools you would’ve given them had you not have passed. Your associates aren’t bad people. They just aren’t friends. An association with people is as important to your well-being as having a Pepsi in the desert. Sure that ice cold Pepsi will be refreshing to have temporarily but how beneficial will it be in the long-run in that desert?
Friendships are essential to the soul…