Masters of our Fate: Captains of our Souls

by: Nikki Smith

“It matters not how strait the gate…I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” –William Ernest Henley.

Are we puppets with our fate and destinies controlled by the mere movement of strings attached to our disheveled communities?

Our community is suffering from broken homes, broken schools, and broken promises. There are more Black men in prison today than there were slaves during the time of the Civil War. One out of seven homes in the Black community has a father present. Our communities are over violent, over drugged, and over sexed.

But every so often, a flower blooms from the cracks of the concrete. A man or woman dares to be different and question the “norm”. They see their broken neighborhood as a launch pad and yearn for something better. So they become masterful puppeteers. Now they control the movement of the strings and use their skills to maneuver through the blood soaked streets into something better. They are unphased and unmoved by the destruction and chaos that surrounds them. They are filled with hope.

Imagine that. Imagine if all African Americans in St. Louis went against the grain and demanded something better for themselves and their families. Imagine the day when we grow tired of burying our friends, brothers, and schoolmates and demand the violence in our communities stop. Imagine more college graduation parties than “welcome home from prison” parties. Sounds great right? Why can’t that day be TODAY? Nothing is done until someone does SOMETHING. We are the product of pain but also the hope of the future. We must transform our communities by being the change we wish to see.

How do we transform from being puppets to puppeteers? When do we turn from being controlled to the ones pulling the strings? The answer is simple, we make a choice. We consciously choose who we would like to be and we simply become it. No longer bound by our circumstances and situations, we are the directors of life’s stage play. Here we are, manipulating the characters of our lives as scenes change, giving way to a surprising, yet planned outcome of events. We have made a choice to be better: To be better examples, better students, and better leaders.

Encourage yourself and your peers to make a conscious decision to rise above the rest, to simply make a choice to be better. Only then will we become masterful puppeteers of our destiny. It is neither our circumstances nor situations that mold us, for we are the masters of our fate and the captains of our souls.

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