Fear. In Webster's Dictionary, it's described as "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."
Fear. It's an emotion that can cause one to cower when faced with a situation or an obstacle that may appear to be insurmountable.
I was talking recently with some friends in the community when a woman told me she wanted to do more. She recognizes that there's a slow deterioration occurring in our community and society as a whole. And standing on the sideline isn't an option for her.
But she's afraid.
This generation of children is our most volatile ever. The majority of them appear to be anti-social, hyper-sexual, and defiant.
Weed-smoking and exotic drug usage is becoming normalized, tattoos and piercings are no longer stigmatic, and the N-Word has now been melded into the American mainstream vernacular. Even white kids are calling themselves the N-Word.
Yeah. Welcome to 2017.
By choosing to immerse herself within that population, she's afraid these young people could cause her harm. She's afraid that the communities in which these young people are located are much too aggressive for her to connect with.
I don't want to be coy or flippant about what potentially could occur when dealing with today's youth because the truth is, there's danger involved.
Here's an example.
I'm pumping gas at a local gas station about 10 years ago when a middle-aged gentleman rolls up in a beautiful 1965 red convertible Mustang. It's gorgeous. And so is the beautiful young lady on the passenger's side.
This little girl had playfully unbuckled her safety belt and hopped on top of the seat as they drove into the station. Cutest thing ever.
As her grandfather walked inside to pay for his gas and grab his little pumpkin a soda, another car pulled alongside them.
This car, playing hardcore hip-hop laced with every profane word you could ever imagine, was filled with four assumedly teenage boys. They exited the vehicle in a cloud of marijuana smoke, in unison.
As one of the boys walked in to pay for gas, the other three leaned against the car waiting, smoking, and lip-synching the lyrics to the song that now had consumed the entire establishment. For them, it was house party time.
That is, until grandpa walked back out.
Immediately recognizing the volume and inappropriate content of the music playing, the older gentleman walked over to the three remaining guys and calmly asked them could they lower the volume. He then pointed to his beautiful granddaughter as a plea that they might show respect toward someone so young and impressionable.
That didn't happen.
Chants of "Get out of here, old man" would then escalate to a rising of voices. Aggressive nose-to-nose confrontations would then lead to the inevitable — these three boys jumping and beating on this man in front of his granddaughter.
Mayhem. Swinging. Scuffling. Pandemonium.
And in the middle of it all, a young girl with ribbons in her hair and almond-shaped eyes is screaming and crying for her grandpa. Tragic.
A number of us customers jumped in and broke up the fighting and watched the boys jump back into their car and streak off into the night. Laughing hysterically out the window.
The man, licking his wounds, appeared to be OK and was just glad it was over. He ran over to his granddaughter and embraced her. "I'm fine, sweetie. I'm fine."
And all simply because he'd asked these adolescents to lower the volume of their car audio.
So yes, I get the fear.
Today's adolescent is even more aggressive. They are not built on the tenet of hope as we used to be back in the day.
This generation of adolescents is built on the concept of a wish. They wish you would.
A large segment of the adult population across all racial lines is rightfully intimidated by today's youth.
Will they disrespect me?
Will they try to fight me?
Could I get hurt physically and/or emotionally?
Yes, yes, and maybe.
No one can issue guarantees on what happens when one attempts to help in changing the lives of those in our more underserved communities. But nothing will change until we are more afraid of the end result than we are of the fight itself.
The word "fear" can spell out two acronyms:
False Evidence Appearing Real.
Face Everything And Rise.
Danny Morrison is a radio host at the New 103.9 The Beat, mentor and motivational speaker. His columns appear here every Tuesday; the views expressed are his own. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.