Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Little Ghetto Boy

I love Jesus and I truly appreciate my job as an urban missionary even though I deal with almost a hundred young men and women in various states of disarray. From drug addiction, hustling, court cases and jail stays to premarital sex, abortions and single motherhood, it's not a life that's easy to understand for many. And some days are just...gah. I get so exasperated and wonder if I've even made a dent in their lives with what seems like a pittance of love and prayer that I can offer.

Then I discovered Donny Hathaway's "Little Ghetto Boy" and its exhortation to kids trapped in the cycle of poverty. Although it was clearly written about African American kids in the ghetto circa 1970s, it is entirely relevant to my mostly African fugees in present day Canada. 

Whenever I hear the ending with its simple refrain: "Everything has got to get better" it feels like he's singing to straight to my weary hood mama's heart. I rarely listen to this song without breaking down. It's become my jam on "those" days. And Sunday mornings. Or just about any time I need to be encouraged.

If you've never heard Donny Hathaway, get thee to a record store (or iTunes for all you youngsters) and have a listen to stellar tracks like "A Song for you" (one of the best love songs ever written), "Someday We'll All Be Free", "Young Gifted and Black", "I Love The Lord; He Heard Me Cry (Parts I & II)" and "The Ghetto". I can say with assurance you will not be disappointed.

Little ghetto boy , playing in the ghetto street
Whatcha' gonna do when you grow up
and have to face responsibility
Will you spend your days and nights in the pool room
Will you sell caps of madness to the neighborhood
Little ghetto boy
You already know how proud life can be
'Cause you've seen so much pain and misery
Little ghetto boy
Your daddy was blown away
He robbed that grocery store
Don't you know that was a sad, sad old day
All your young life
You've seen such misery and pain
The world is a cruel place to live
and it ain't gonna change
You're so young
You've got so far to go on
and don't think you'll reach your goal
Young man, little ghetto boy, look at you
Little ghetto boy
When, when, when you become a man
You can make things change if you just take the stand
You gotta believe it yourself in all you do
You've gotta fight to make it better
Then you will see how others will start believing too
Then my son things will start to get better
Everything has got to get better

Everything has got to get better 

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