Khalid’s Corner: Don’t Mature Before Your Time

By Khalid Elahi

I went some years without smiling.

Being so serious on every turn, the streets gobbled up my youth quickly, convincing a teenager to believe he was a grown man before his time.

I lived in a community that fell victim to an aggressive concentrated mental assault on people of color in the 1980’s – especially African Americans – through poverty, drugs and guns. My tender eyes watched crack cocaine turn my neighborhood idols, neighbors, uncle, cousin and many friends into shells of themselves (zombies).

The culture norms that I came from were, love for your brother what you love for yourself. You said, ”thank you” and “no thank you”. The village raised all the babies and no one was left behind.

But once you start seeing dead bodies while on your way to school and you never receive counseling or you treat that type of event as though its normal, you become hardened deep inside.

Selling coke became as normal as breathing and the shenanigans from that lifestyle is enough to make you want to holler. It was hand-to-hand selling rocks to users and the once healthy neighborhood turned itself into a festering sore that never healed. My daily cerebral diet consisted of the infection that oozed out from every crack on the block.

Material value over human life is a perquisite and having a genuine heart in those conditions was considered a weakness in some arenas.

I dwelled around stone cold individuals, not understanding that what you surround yourself around you will become. I began to lose all my friends to the barrel of a gun. No place was safe and it wasn’t easy to trust people, only the few, your nucleus, and even that was dangerous.

This is why I’m real basic when I deal with youth. I tell them to be a kid as long you can. Because when you’re grown, there will be expectations in your behavior.

As a child, when you start acting grown, your listening skills diminish and you think you know it all. Life comes with instructions and how well you listen determines how long you live.

Young people, it’s not intelligent to try and mature before your time.

Just appreciate your youth, get as much done as you can. You don’t want to wake up one day an old head with a vocabulary that only consist of would’ve, should’ve, and could’ve.

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