I met Jarrett at our local AT&T store.

I was impressed by his maturity and product knowledge. I also deeply appreciated the extra effort he took in working with my daughter Haley Anne over her latest cellular telephone. He was very patient and technically relevant.

Jarrett also noticed that a good many people visiting the store knew me. He had the presence of mind to Google me while we were still in the store, and asked if he could meet with me for instruction and career advice.

We did meet a few weeks later. That exchange offered me some insight into the mind and life of a young Muslim family man in our community. I gave him a list of three things that I wanted him to do in the form of research. This was, certainly, a test. I’m always curious to see who God has gifted with both the situational awareness and discernment to take advantage of this type of opportunity.

Jarrett, and somewhat to my disappointment, came back with a long email that invoked more pity on my part than admiration and hope. But, that can certainly change with encouragement. and, I will be sure to follow up with him.

Meanwhile, I’ll share a few paragraphs from his original communique, and then my response to him, in it’s completeness – with vital expectations to be had around lessons to be learned…

Here we go:

“I’d been debating on getting back to you. Wondering what are the true benefits of doing so. All in all I respect and appreciate you for giving me the free time to talk. You quickly assessed me and gave me instructions on going forward.”

[…]

“I was left feeling like I was getting in too deep with the  commodities, or I had no clue what was going on and should leave it alone. On the other hand feeling like I was just as deserving of reaping the benefits of bringing two sides together to do business.”

[…]

“I think about your question a lot. “My Passion”.”

[…]

“I appreciate your rational, but I find it hard for you to really understand my point of view. I find it hard for any two people from our two different worlds to see the others point of view. Yet there is still room for respect and mutual agreements, and appreciation. Allah has created soooooooooo many different characters, its amazing amd beautiful to learn them if you can. Take it easy  Brian. let me know you got this God willing.”

[…]

“Good morning Jarrett.

I’ve given this email from you some thought for awhile now.

You are a young man with a younger family. That is a tough position and point in life from whence to venture into commodities. That business requires very specialized training, and is best approached when you are surrounded by professional people committed to mentoring and teaching you. It’s definitely not something novices or faint-of-heart can or should wade into unprepared.

So, this will always take me to the “passion” element.  Given your stage in life I’ll recommend that you interview leaders of any sort in your community. Ask them where they see the emerging trends over the next five years. Sort out a way to integrate those growing needs with talents you have and skills you could develop. Then allow your heart (passion) to tell you which of those trends can best intersect. That nexus is where you will find your affirmation and a career foundation.

Meanwhile, and I add this with compassion and and open-heartedness, your final paragraph only demonstrates your youth and inexperience. I’ve been mentored by men of several different faiths, numerous nationalities, and all walks of life. What I found is that the most successful of them shared many of the same qualities and traits. They had high standards for integrity. They were responsible and accountable. They worked hard. Most importantly, they NEVER, not once, felt sorry for themselves. And, they always had a plan. Always. And, they stuck to it.

So… Do your research. Develop a plan. Find good men to quantify that plan. Don’t get defensive if they push-back. Be open-minded, and open-hearted. In the end, prey that your example can be a lens through which your own children see a world that is open and full of naught but opportunity and promise.”

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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