This is my nephew, Miles.

Take a good, hard look at him.

What do you see?

He’s athletic, sure.

And a handsome lil’ devil, too.

And he likes to talk.

A lot.

What you should also know is that Miles is a smart one.

Brilliant, really.

And when he grows up and figures out how to use his powers for good, he’s going to change the world, for sure.

I can feel it.

Anyone who spends a half second around him can.

And he’s only 10.

More sooner than later, though, Miles, who is as tall enough to look his mama in the eye, is going to start looking less like a little boy, more like a little man.

He’ll still be athletic.

He’ll still be talkative.

He’ll still be the smart one.

He’ll still grow up to change the world.

But will everyone else see what I see in this beautiful black boy then?

Just wondering.

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18 Comments

  1. I will always continue to see a beautiful strong black boy/man. My hope for all black men is that they start seeing the beauty and strength within themselves. Miles,you're the hope and the dream of the slaves, fly Miles fly! My two baby girls are counting on you.

    Good listen for this post…"You will know" by Black Men United. Being listening to it all morning. Denene, please share it with Miles for me.

  2. MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner

    @Sidjazz: I most certainly will! Thanks for the beautiful comment!

  3. he is one cute kid…and he looks so awesome. i think he'll do real well.

  4. that was beautiful…

  5. I have a beautiful brown baby boy named Miles, too. He is super smart, sweet and a bundle of ENERGY. I know that he, too, is going to grow up to change the world. It's sad that I have to worry about how others will see him and perceive him when he grows up to be a big, tall, strong man.

  6. Hopefully they will. He looks like such a loveable boy. My son Xadrian is 3 months old and he looks at the moment more white instead of taking after me. We live in the Appalachian mountains in KY and I always look at him a wonder if people will see him for what he could be or see what half of this county turns out to be. It's scary because people stereotype our kids before they even have a chance to prove what they could be and then they grow up thinking that's all the can be even if we tell them different.

  7. I know just what you mean, Denene. My wife has the same concerns that you have. I'm sure it's a motherly perspective,and simply being conscience of the world that awaits them.

    But I try to tell her, I spend almost zero time wondering whats going to happen to them. All of my energies are spent on preparing them to be world changers like you mentioned in the post. We have a multitude of phrases that the boys and I chant on a daily basis, but one that we reiterate weekly is "Don't just be a dude in the class, be "that" dude." My favorite? "Be great, be a leader, be a BARNES!"

    I figure the more I build these little guys up, the less I'll have time to worry about things that are really out of my hands. They'll be alright. Others may not see what we see, but isnt it really about what these little brothers see within themselves and tap into that greatness that God has placed in them eons ago?

    The world needs Miles and Ezra and Solomon and Silas and more strong,amazing, brilliant, future men.

  8. Teresha@Marlie and Me

    He is a striking young man for sure! Like Mr. Barnes said, all the village can do is build him up before he has to face a society that will try to crush his spirit. cloak him in a suit of the strongest armor (love, character, confidence, integrity, work ethic, spirituality, etc…) before sending him into battle. I look forward hearing about Miles' great conquests!

  9. GYF Executive Director

    Thanks, D. and everyone else for your kind words about my prince. This posts stirs up so many emotions for me. As Miles' mom, I am so extremely proud, protective and relentless with the rearing of our two sons. As you mentioned, I have no doubt that Miles will be a game changer- and the world will know his name. However, as I now look Miles eye to eye, I do have anxious moments. I know that my husband and I are doing the best we can to equip our brilliant boys for the world, but will the world be ready? I am so encouraged by the election of President Barack Obama. But, we still have so much work to do.

    And, I will certainly have Miles and Cole (younger brother) listen to "You will know" by Black Men United.

  10. T.Allen-Mercado

    Every day I wonder these same things about my own children, and I know there are other hard working, dedicated, loving parents wondering right along side me. What a blessing and a curse to raise a world-changer in this climate of change resistance and complacency. All the best to young Miles and his family!

  11. GYF Executive Director

    Hi , this is Miles. I'm so happy that so many people commented. I would like to thank my aunt, Denene Millner Chiles for posting this great thing about me.And i would like to thank everybody who commented.

    Sincerely,
    MILES

  12. I can't wait to say "that's my nephew!" when everyone else finds out what we already know. And He's soooo funny. Love those boys.

  13. You're welcome Miles, Denene and Miles & Cole's Mommy! Miles, you were my inspiration for yesterday. You see, I live in Canada and to get through the winter months you have to think happy thoughts every day:) I had a smile on my face thinking how great you're going to be! How the world that awaits my 2 little girls will be A-OKAY because there's little boys like Miles out there willing to work hard and change the world! Keep smiling sunshine, reach for the stars, one day I'm sure you will grasp them.

  14. On a more positive note, the "world" contains some people that look like Miles, that have struggled his struggles and achieved some measure of success and knowledge. The hope is that when the Miles' of the world get to the rough, dangerous, partisan waters, these people will be there to reach out that strong hand and guide him through the murky waters.
    Be not afraid, "nephew"!

  15. I feel so blessed that I found your blog. I am the white mother of a beautiful black 3 year old whom I adopted 2 years ago. I have fears like this for my sweet boy as he gets older. Every news story I hear about racially motivated crimes agingst black men pierce my heart. I wonder how anyone could ever see my darling as anything but wonderful but I know there will be those who only see the color of his skin. They will look past his dazzling smile and sweet personality and make assumptions about him without ever speaking to him or getting to know him. Thank for for providing ME with a place where I can connect with those who understand. I didn't understand. I lived in a rosy, life is wonderful, racism really doesn't exist anymore (at least where I live)everyone gets along world for my first 35 years of life. It wasn't till this wonderful boy entered my life that reality hit me like a brick wall. I see the stares, hear the snide comments, see the questioning looks on peoples faces when we are together. How do I protect him from this? How do I keep him safe? I know the answer is I can't but I sure am going to try.

  16. What a beautiful, thought-stirring post, about a beautiful young man! It is difficult as a mother, especially when you know the misconceptions the world places on all people, and specifically on black people, and even more so on black men!! I hold on to this: with a supportive family structure and a relentlessness about the way people treat our children, they will have what they need to soar. My husband I remind our brown babies to keep God at the helm, and remember that between God and their family, they'll never have to face life alone. I know Miles has that sort of support too, and I look forward to watching him (and Cole, and Mazi, and Mari, and Lila, and Sage, and the many other beautiful children in our midst) soar.

  17. THANK YOU!!!

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