A brother’s bond: a time of mentorship comes to an end

Renin and and his older brother photographed at “Fundamentals Day Care.” Submitted by Renin Broadnax

“Hello, is this Mrs. Broadnax?”

“Yes, can I ask why you are calling? Is there problem with one of my children?”

“Oh no, do not worry. Your children are safe and okay, but there seems to be a little problem with Renin.”

“You said my children were fine, what is the problem?”

“No, they are safe but we can’t seem to get Renin to smile or talk to us for his school photo. He doesn’t seem to like us very much. We were hoping to have you talk to him over the phone, maybe.”

“Go and grab his older brother, Alijah.”

“Are you sure, Mrs. Broadnax?”

“Yes, I am and have them take the picture together. He will be fine if he’s there.”

We all have that someone we look to for guidance and who we use as our reference for the way we live our lives.

That person, for me, is my older brother, Alijah.

Since the day I was born, he was my first friend and someone I felt like I could go to for anything. He was always the trailblazer for me and my younger brother, since he was the oldest and the first to experience most things. He has been my shield from all the uncertainties of the world; traveling the world and bringing back all the knowledge I need.

Mentors are not people who do no wrong, they are not perfect people by any means. They are people who let you know that, not only are they flawed, but the world is a flawed place and that is okay. Then after demonstrating that knowledge to you, in your eyes, they can never do any wrong.

Out of my three brothers, I have always been the troublemaker, the one who often finds himself in situations where I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Also, because I am so hard headed I try to solve it all my own and end up digging myself a deeper hole. Even when I make it worse my brother never tells me, “I told you so,” or makes me feel lesser for trying to handle it on my own.

Ever since I can remember, we have been in school together, from daycare to college. I have always been able to come into school being known as “Alijah’s little brother.” I cannot put into words how comforting it was that people already had a positive assumption about me based of my brother.

Like I always knew it would. That time of comfort is now, coming to an end.

This year, my brother is a senior and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I will no longer have that safety blanket. For the rest of my college experience I’m on my own, but I’m proud he is moving on to his next step of life.

Renin and His older brother. Photo taken by Michelle Guerin

I keep asking myself, am I ready?

Something I have come to figure out about life is that you are never really ready for it. As each milestone comes along, you become extremely uncomfortable and then before you even realize it, like a miracle, you are fully adjusted.

There comes a time in everyone’s lives where they are forced to stand on their own two feet; however, everyone in some way, shape or form has a mentor. This is the time to implement what that person has taught you.

We have to do our best and trust ourselves, we won’t let them down.

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