Remembering Brotherhood

By Olubode Shawn Brown


I grew up as a man in NYC. One of my key lessons in manhood has been the value of brotherhood. Certainly everyone is our brother, but we are each growing in awareness about what that means, and are in different places about it.

For some of us, brotherhood is limited to those from the same religion, blood family or organization. Here brotherhood is defined by a shared physical experience — a community. Community is the ground where we all go to feel ultimately safe. It’s where we go to flee the chaos of things, to nourish and protect ourselves, and to serve. But for me brotherhood is also about family. Families arise from community.

Family is the place where deep compassion is cultivated between human beings, it is where we realize our oneness, our interconnectedness and the importance of familial legacies.

Brothers share an energetic resonance that identifies their familial bond.

Its essence is a shared vision of the kind of world we want to create. It is defined by our ability to go together, or allow each other to go on adventures in which risk ourselves in pursuit of our vision. It is defined by or ability to say farewell as graciously as we say welcome home. Brotherhood is the ability to see each other is our “shadiness” and light, yet smile with the recognition of ourselves. Brotherhood is the ability to connect across differences. It is defined sometimes necessarily so, by a choice to hold boundaries and prescribe etiquette. Brotherhood is about collective ownership and power — our ability to hold and facilitate together spaces for our families to gather.

Between brothers there is no competition. We are indeed “each others keeper.”

Today, remember Brotherhood. Where is your brother? What adventure is he on? Can you reach out to him to remind him that you are here? What are you creating together? Have you been authentic with each other? What world will you both leave behind for the children?


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