ORLANDO, Fla. – A Greek proverb states, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
It could be thousands of years old, sure, but this week on “Black Men Sundays,” our guest proves why that phrase is still relevant.
On Season 2, Episode 14 of the show, host Corie Murray interviews Kwamane Harris. He’s a mentor, youth-outreach specialist and author of “Pushing the Generations Forward,” a book that Harris tells us draws from revelations he began to have at just eight years old that it was his duty to improve his own life and that of those around him.
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“Growing up seeing, you know, what the effects of drugs would do to do to a person, I was like, ‘I can’t do that.’ At eight years old, it hurts too much, and so I decided in that moment that I was going to figure out ways to push generations forward,” Harris said. “I knew whatever I would do, I would make sure that I would go all out for it so that I can be successful, so that I can find a way to build generational wealth, so that I can find a way so that my children will never have to worry about what I had to worry about growing up.”
Though Harris at first tried to achieve that success through football, he eventually found better footing in education.
“Through education, I became a first-generation college student, through education I became a first-generation professional and through education I was able to move into, you know, places and different areas where I am allowed to build that generational wealth,” Harris said. “...It all started at eight years old because I wanted something different from my life and so part of what the book talks about is, you know, no matter who you are, where you are and what you’ve gone through, you got to find a way to make it better for the next generation. Your choices, even at a young age, will affect the next generation.”
Harris has spent the years since adopting this mentality collecting his accolades, such as getting his book published, working closely with at-risk youth and being recognized in 2018 by Utah Business Magazine as one of Utah’s Top 20 in their 20s.
It’s all about shifting from a life of just surviving to a life of thriving, he said.
“We want to be able to pass down generational wealth, we want to be able to put a wealth system in place for our family line that our children’s children will benefit and reap from, from the choices and decisions that we’ve made in life,” Harris said. “Because the brain impacts trauma, we understand that puts a lot of us in survival mode, and a lot of times in our communities we’ve experienced that trauma, right? And then because of the trauma, we’re in survival mode, but we have to start shifting our thinking that, ‘Hey, I don’t have to be in survival mode...I’m making the right decisions by deciding to go and further my career, by deciding to go and start that business;’ that’s the mentality you got to have.”
Black Men Sundays talks about building generational wealth. Check out every episode in the media player below.