An eye-opening look at one mother’s determination to provide positive male role models for her son, and the power of great mentoring to change lives.
When MaryAnne Howland’s son was turning thirteen she organized a “Black Mitzvah” rite of passage celebration for him. Max is one of the one-in-three children in America being raised without a father in the home. Among African-Americans, that number is reported to be as high as 72 percent. To help fill the father-shaped hole in Max’s life as he transitioned from boyhood to manhood, MaryAnne invited four men from different corners of her life –an engineer, a philanthropist, a publisher, and a financial planner–to become Max’s mentors.
Max has faced many challenges. As a boy without a consistent father figure in his life, as an African-American male in a time when race relations in this country continue to be fraught, and also because Max was born premature and as a result has cerebral palsy, he has had to be a true warrior. On the brink of manhood, his mother wanted to give him the benefit of men who could answer some of the questions she felt that she, as a woman, might not be able to answer.
Through his adolescence, Max’s mentors have shared valuable insights with him about what it means to be a good man in the face of life’s challenges. These lessons, recounted in this book, will serve as a powerful roadmap for anyone wishing to support boys as they approach manhood.