I often hear people mention that my generation and the younger children behind us are a dying breed. Taking a broad glance at society and more specifically in Mississippi, I have grown up to observe and understand a few things at 21 years old. Although young in terms of maturity and years of living, it is evident that my generation must do better.

However, one may ask, “Wilton, how can we do better if we have not seen better or witnessed better?” Some may even pose the question,”How or what do I have to do to make it or be at the next level in life?” Well, the answer to these questions can take different routes but one thing is for sure, we have to give back.

Giving back is not simply doing community service or providing charitable dollars and items to a local shelter in the community, it requires really getting out there and being involved in the lives of children, motivating them to do greater things and ultimately pushing them towards success. This installation of motivation and ambition should be evident in a child’s life at a very young age, well before middle school, high school and most certainly college. Nevertheless, this sense of mentorship does not end when he or she enters high school or college. In fact, mentoring or giving back never ends because there will always be someone who needs encouragement and empowerment to make it through the next obstacle in life.

Having grown up in west Jackson and going through the different stages of adolescence, many individuals reached out to me and had a hand in my maturation as a man. Going from a very small private school in elementary to attending public schools for middle and high school, I am thankful for the individuals who steered me along the path of achieving success and valuing my education to the highest level. As I could have easily been a product of my environment.

Thus, as a society, if we want are our friends, loved ones and younger siblings to be the best, we have to guide and mentor them on what it takes to be a productive and successful citizen in society. After all, in my generation, we are the next teachers, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists, accountants and athletes in society.  If we want to build a brighter tomorrow for the individuals behind us, we have to start now by mentoring and helping those who need a mentor and guide those who may be falling by the wayside in terms of them achieving their goals. As a society, when we do this, those behind us will become empowered to seek success.