I hear a lot of people go through “mid-life crisis” at 40. Since I turned 40 in April this year, I’ve been on the look-out for any signs of it. Although I haven’t seen any yet, I made the decision that I want to be prepared in the event I do. I know if I am prepared and my faith is strong I can meet any challenge head on and work through it successfully for a positive outcome.
So . . . I sat down and started to prepare for the possibility of a mid-life crisis. It wasn’t long before I came up with a list of 40 things that I feel led to do now that I’m 40. Now that I had my plan, I needed a way to hold myself accountable and look for support.
What better way to hold myself accountable than to make my list public by posting it here? I realize that holding myself accountable is only part of the equation, however. I know that I cannot accomplish these items on my own, so I also ask for your prayers and support as I work through my list.
Additionally, my hope is that by sharing it with you, you may be inspired to dream big as I’ve allowed myself to do. I would love to hear from you if something here inspires you to think bigger and bolder than you would otherwise.
1. Prepare my daughters to become awesome wives and mothers.
2. Love and support my wife in her life’s journey to become all that God has predestined her to be.
3. Be available to my relatives with all of my heart and soul.
4. Model a new narrative for Black males growing up in Atlanta’s inner city.
|Ralph Berry, educator/coach Sylvan Hills Middle School; Tezra Holmes (Vernard’s mother), L.E.A.D. Ambassador Vernard Kennedy, New Schools at Carver; C.J. Stewart|
5. Teach the Gospel and God’s word to millions throughout the world via blog postings, personal public testimony, a book and my daily actions.
6. Incorporate the game of baseball into the lives of Black males growing up in Atlanta’s inner city and use it as a tool to provide for their spiritual and personal development.
7. Through baseball, bring racially and economically diverse communities together to solve racism and poverty in Atlanta and the world.
8. Identify, and collaborate with, 40 intentional people throughout the world to solve racism, poverty and education reform.
9. Mentor my L.E.A.D. successor to hit the ground running as L.E.A.D. CEO in 2025.
10. Be a change agent who inspires and serves Atlanta Public Schools to empower its students so that, annually, at least 100 new Atlanta Public Schools alumnae attend and graduate college, work in a career of their choosing, and each donate $1,000.00 per year to Atlanta Public Schools.
12. Create a forum and facilitate conversation with all NCAA Division 1 coaches on the topic of racism and inclusion.
13. Write and publish my first book to inspire others to view their failures as opportunities to grow in service to God and humanity.
14. Establish and accompany our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors on the first annual trip to Japan that includes a service project, a baseball game between the Ambassadors and Japanese high school students, and a tour of Japanese primary schools, as well as colleges and universities.
15. Mentor Pastors of Elizabeth Baptist Church.
16. Mentor a host of Black males that will represent billions of dollars of the U.S. economy on an annual basis.
17. Mentor 10 Black males so that they will all serve Major League Baseball as C-level executives.
18. Be a world renowned model of hope and happiness for Atlanta’s Black families.
|My youth league football coach Bernard Terrell, C.J. Stewart and my father Willie Stewart
Photo credit: Audra Starr
19. Be a change agent who inspires and serves Atlanta Public Schools and inner city Atlanta communities to make the necessary changes that will result in an increase of the percentage of Black males graduating high school from 40% to 70%, annually.
20. Be a change agent who inspires and serves the Atlanta Public School Department of Athletics to do what is necessary to ensure that, on average, 100 student-athletes annually will receive National Letters of Intent for NCAA Division 1 schools.
21. Be a change agent who inspires and serves the community to create 1,000 new significant jobs in Atlanta.
22. Be debt free.
23. Operate a human resource development facility, L.E.A.D. Center For Youth, that will be home to 100 Ambassadors and will have the primary focus of preparing the Ambassadors for leadership positions in the community, education and commerce.
24. Watch my oldest daughter Mackenzi bring millions into a relationship with Christ through the notoriety she receives on tour as a professional tennis player.
|Mackenzi Stewart age 14
Photo credit: Thomas Morse
25. Indirectly mentor 100,000 baseball coaches annually around the world through a baseball coach’s association and baseball coach development certification program offered by my company, Diamond Directors.
26. Indirectly mentor 500,000 baseball players annually around the world through a baseball players’ association and baseball player development certification program offered by my company, Diamond Directors.
27. Inspire the creation of a strict alliance of organizations whose collective mission it is to empower Black students to graduate from high school and college, and become employed in a career of their choosing by setting and promoting those expectations.
28. Mentor Atlanta’s Mayors.
29. Be a change agent who inspires and serves college baseball coaches and administration to make necessary program changes that will result in a 50% increase of Black males competing at the NCAA Division 1 level.
30. Mentor Black baseball coaches so that they represent at least 30% of coaches at the NCAA Division 1 Baseball.
31. Support my daughters, Mackenzi and Mackenna, in their desire to use their experiences through tennis to encourage 500 Black girls from Atlanta Public Schools to take up tennis and, through that, influence and empower them to graduate from high school, apply and enroll, and graduate from college.
32. Continue my service as Deacon and use my testimony to help Elizabeth Baptist Church grow its active membership to 50,000.
33. Be witness to at least 1,000,000 people that I mentor, directly or indirectly, that have developed a clear and concise personal mission statement as well as realizing their calling in life, gift and talent.
34. Know of at least 20 L.E.A.D. Ambassadors who have become LEAD Atlanta and/or Leadership Atlanta alums.
35. Know of at least 20 L.E.A.D. Ambassadors who are members of American Enterprise Institute.
36. Coach baseball skills to 10,000 athletes in impoverished countries as a means of allowing them to receive a baseball scholarship to a U.S. university.
37. Watch my youngest daughter, Mackenna, bring millions into a relationship with Christ through the notoriety she receives on tour as a professional tennis player.
|My wife Kelli Stewart, C.J. Stewart, and Mackenna Stewart age 8
Photo credit: Thomas Morse
38. Mentor U.S. Senators representing Georgia.
39. Be a change agent who inspires and serves Atlanta’s residential and business communities to effect change that results in significantly closing the economic gap between the wealthy and poor in Atlanta.
40. Know at least one L.E.A.D. Ambassador as an industry leader in the following sectors: Media, including broadcast and internet, Elementary and Secondary School Education, both public and private; and Financial.