Coping with Stress and Building Leadership, One Man's Journey
Melvin Mahone counsels us with his special views about the harmful effects that stress in the workplace has on us. Mahone aims to enlighten us all--but especially the law enforcement community.
In Coping with Stress and Building Leadership: One Man's Journey, Mahone provides readers with valuable information about the overall side effects that stress takes on us. These consequences include post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, and mental illnesses.
His descriptive anecdotes that add enlightenment to all readers are coupled with helpful tips about working through stress. In the end, readers are informed, enlightened, and have a more helpful perspective about stress and how to combat it. In addition, Mahone has encouraging words of comfort.
The Mahone Family and the Early Years that Shaped My Adulthood
On October 7, 1951, I was born to Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Mahone Sr., in Chicago, Illinois. In 1954, we moved from public housing on the West Side of Chicago to 1537 South Hamlin Ave. I was the sixth of 10 children in my family. My mother had a sixth grade education, and my father had a second grade education. My mother was a beautician and had her own business. My father worked as a steel cutter on Chicago's South Side of Chicago.
As I look back at my childhood, it was a happy one. I was bullied all the time in school because I was skinny and underweight. I got good grades up until the time that I left high school in 1968. The roughness of the gangs became too much so I left school.
My father, Elbert Mahone Sr., was born to Alec and Ada Mahone on September 25, 1914, in Columbus, Georgia. My father was strict and had a nervous condition that precluded him from driving and holding down employment that was stressful. He worked at Siegel Steel Company for 20 years. My father was also a minister and he named his church The Straight Gate Spiritual Church. The church was located in our basement and our family went to church two times a week; we attended church religiously on Sundays.
My father was a disciplinarian, and he would use a switch and hit all 10 of us children, usually with our clothes off. Sometimes, our skin would bruise. He was a brutal man; he would read the Bible and recite scripture while he was beating us with an ironing cord. My mother tried to intercede on numerous occasions, but to no avail she could not stop the extreme cruelty done by my father to his children.
My father was not only cruel to his children, but he was also cruel to my mother. He hit her on numerous occasions; on one occasion, he hit her with a frying (skillet) pan, causing her eyes to swell and her face to turn red and blue colors.
Mainly though, my father was a good provider, working hard and supporting his family. He was morally a good man, but he had violent ways. My father was a good leader because he taught positive values to his children by being employed, being honest, religious, and by being firm but fair Eventually, my mother lost her feelings for him because of his cruelty both to his children and to her. My mother told us on numerous occasions to not treat our wives the way that our father treated her.
My mother, Betty, was born to Robert and Eva Hanks in Starkville, Mississippi, on February 3, 1920. She grew up in Starkville and also in Centralia, Illinois. I have a good mother who has good and decent ways about her. She has always been there when I needed her. If I need a loan, she is there. If I need money for gas, she is there. She is always there to give me intelligent advice and she has an excellent memory. My mother constantly wears a smile on her face and has never been cruel to me knowingly.
There difference between my mother and my father is like the difference between night and day. Even though my father was a good provider, my mother was a better provider than my father. I will never forget how on Easter Sundays each and every year, my mother would always buy name brands and brand-new clothes from a quality clothing store. My father would buy clothes and shoes from a secondhand garage sale. He would always be looking for a better deal in Mr. Davis's garage.
My mother and he would argue about these clothing purchases every holiday. At Christmas, we all had a good holiday. I always knew that I would have several gifts beneath the tree in our living room; gifts that my mother's money bought, not my father's. He was cheap. He never, ever--to the best of my recollection--gave me any money out of his pocket to spend on myself. He would always make an excuse not to give me any money. He would say, "You have food in the refrigerator at home, you don't need any money." My mother understood us when we wanted a treat such as Sir Chicken, who specialized in chicken wings, so she would give each child $5.00 spending money.
My mother earned more money than my father. My mother, in the 1950s until the 1980s, made $50,000.00 annually since she ran her own beauty shop. My father only made $10,000.00 a year during those years, which left my mother saddled with paying most of the bills. Even though, we had our own two-flat building, we never were out of doors or out of food. I can always remember on Mondays, my mother would prepare a big dinner for the entire family because that was her day off work.
My mother was, and still is, the backbone of the family. She was a leader, the breadwinner; she was a disciplinarian as well, but she was never was brutal like my father. She would calmly talk to you about what you had done wrong instead of giving you a beating. My mother, to this day, still talks about how abusive my father was to her and to his children. She has said on more than one occasion, "We all could have been hurt or killed, as a result of his violent temper." I love my mother. She holds a special place in my heart. She is 91 years old now, and on many occasions she has said she wants to live to be one hundred. I am a positive thinker, and I believe that she will live far beyond 100 years old. She is in good shape and looks like she is 60 years of age.The first child born within wedlock to Elbert Sr. and Betty Mahone was Elbert Mahone Jr. My brother was born on January 18,1939. Junior, as we called him, was young and ruthless. He didn't care about anybody. He always wanted something for nothing and could never hold down a job for any length of time. After he married, he was a wife beater. He was verbally abusive to my mother; and for a time, he was like that toward my father until he realized that he needed him to take away my mother and father's home from them. To this day, my sister-in-law has a house that she did not pay for at all. My brother was a user and would always say, "You are a fool for working, I'm never going to work." When he was in his early twenties, my father made him pay rent while he lived at our abode on the West Side of Chicago and provide a living for his children.
My father and Junior got into many arguments about his not working, so eventually Junior took found work driving cabs. He gambled and was not doing much of anything with his life. He and his wife had several children while he lived with my family on the first floor of our house. My brothers and I had to sleep in the kitchen on a rollaway bed to accommodate him and his family. He was less than a man.
Prior to the death of his son, Elbert made amends with his son about employment, and other problems that they argued about in the pass. Elbert Jr. preceded Elbert Sr. in death by suffering a massive heart attack.) He was only 56 years old. My mother always said that he died young because he disrespected his mother and took her house away from her. However, that was not the only reason he died young. He swindled money from senior citizens in the various churches that he attended. He would lie about my mother. He would do anything to make it look that he was right and everyone else was wrong.
Junior didn't work, so he never accumulated any social security. He never was a positive role model for anyone, and he used to say to me mockingly because I was always in school "You are going to be a Ph.D. and M.D." Well, one thing did happen for certain, I earned my Ph.D.; I received my degree in criminal justice and corrections. I might not have property or have accumulated monetary wealth, but I earned everything that I have and I earned it honestly.
The next sibling was James Mahone. He was the second child, born on January 19, 1941. James was a good man; he was a veteran from the United States Marine Corps. Due to various disciplinarian infractions, however, he received a less-than-honorable discharge from the Marine Corps.
Betty Mahone, born on August 29, 1942, was the third child born to the Mahone union. Betty is a kind, sweet, likeable sister. If ever you needed help with anything, she was always there to help you. She was a good parent to her children and was a good wife to her husband, although as of this writing they are in the process of getting a divorce after four decades of marriage. That is really sad since Betty really wanted her marriage to work. Her husband, it was later found out, had other children by another woman while he was still married to my sister. Betty never went outside of her marriage or cheat on her spouse. She truly believed in her marriage vows, and she tried so hard to make her marriage work no matter what. However, the marriage just was not meant to be for her.
Betty helped me immensely when I was sick due to stress. Even though I still have a post-traumatic stress and depression condition, she took the time to inform me of the symptoms and what to expect from the illness. She told me on numerous occasions that I would be chemically unbalanced and that someone would have to think for me intermittently during my lifetime. She told me that I would have to be on a special diet. She told me that not only would I have to be only a special diet, I would have to exercise. I could not drink alcohol or caffeine.
Everything that my sister told me was true. You see, I didn't say this earlier, Betty spent almost three-fourths of her life in college studying to be a nurse. She is a psychological nurse, a registered nurse, and a former administrator in human services. She holds numerous degrees and has worked hard for things she has attained. It is a shame that she had to marry someone that I believe did not appreciate her the way that a husband should after all of those years.
I stayed with my sister Betty on numerous occasions while I was recuperating from PTSD. Recently, she had brain surgery. She is almost 70 and looks 35 years younger. She is still attractive, vibrant, and appreciates and desires the finer things in life: music, food, and cultural well-being.
Delores, the fourth child, born on December 13, 1943, was a gentle giant. At times, she could be mean-spirited, but she did not mean any harm. I always played around with her as a child and would eat her food up when she would send me to a restaurant for her. Whatever the restaurant was at the time, it didn't make any difference to me. I would eat and share her food without her permission.
When we were young, I vividly remembered her hitting me with a shoe when she got mad or when I would not obey her for doing household tasks. On Saturdays, the day that everyone performed chores around our house, my father would tell Delores what needed to be done and she would delegate the tasks to the other siblings. If the tasks were not done to specification, she would throw a shoe at you. She would even take the shoe and hit you with it until you complied with her demands of scrubbing the floor correctly or doing some other household chore. That's why I call her the gentle giant. She only hit you when she felt she had to.
I also remember my sister Delores as being sickly most of her life. She had high blood pressure and could not eat pork or consume various foods that would make her e sick with different ailments. When she was an adult, I remember her getting married. The marriage didn't last longer than a week. The man she married was evil-spirited and mean, and that's why I knew that the marriage would not last. You see, my sister would have her mean-spirited days, as well. When my father was asked to come and get his daughter from a man as evil as her husband, he went with all deliberate spirit. My father loved his children in his own special way.
Delores had a son; he was above average and highly intelligent. He never cursed. He was respectable. He always obeyed his mother. Whenever asked to go on errands, he would go without fail. I called him "Mr. Glenn," as he was a man before it he had time to become grown. He took care of his mother because he never knew what it was like to have a father around the house. He moved with her to Oakland, California, where he excelled in school. He then moved with his mother to Atlanta, Georgia, and easily assimilated with the other children at his new school and in his new neighborhood.
My sister did a great job raising her son, even without the luxury of a "man" around the house. She has never asked anybody for a dime and has carried her own load. She was always employed to the best of my recollection. Delores now resides in Georgia and has accomplished a lot since being down South. She is a writer, a publisher, and a grandmother of two. She also took care of my father when he was down and out. He needed her in his weaning years before his death. He requested to be cremated and Delores obeyed his wishes. I love my sister and wish her the best in whatever she chooses to do in the very near future with her writing or publishing.
The next child born to my parents was Michael Mahone born on October 11, 1948. Michael was always giving and kindhearted. He taught me how to play sports, and I credit him as the reason I enlisted in the US Marine Corps. I wanted to follow a family tradition and also escape the local gangs that taunted me in high school. Michael was my rifle instructor in the Marine Corps. I have always respected him because he has always been someone whom I looked up to. Both of us worked in law enforcement because of our military experience. And we were close in that Michael was the fifth child born in our family and I was their sixth child.
Nadine Mahone was the seventh sibling; she was born on April 6, 1955. Nadine was nice and easygoing, clean and wholesome. She was an obedient child and never caused my parents any trouble. My mother never had to tell Nadine what to do more than once. On Saturdays, she would do her assigned cleaning task with ease. She went to school on time and came straight back home; she received good grades in school as well. At school, she was never bullied, neither did bully or fight anyone. She attended our father's church and appreciated his guidance.
She attended the Boys & Girls Clubs across the street on Hamlin and 15th. My mother and father were always proud of my sister Nadine because of the way she carried herself in public and at school.
When my sister Nadine was of age to have a boyfriend, she respected my mother and father and would never stay out late. She would always follow the rules and regulations that my parents laid down for all of the girls in the house that were dating boys.
If there were any questions or concerns regarding how to behave, Nadine went directly to our parents for guidance. When Nadine became of age to take a husband, she married Eugene Harding, who was the hardest-working man I have ever known. He was faithful, understanding, and a good role model for their three daughters.
Nadine never had to work while she was married to Eugene. She always had his dinner prepared when he came home from work. And Eugene would paint and spruce up the house when needed. He was also clean and wholesome, and he set a good example for others to follow, especially for his girls when it was time for them to marry.
Everyone was shocked, however, when Nadine's marriage failed. No one wanted to see her and Eugene get divorced, after 23 years of marriage. The pain was so much for Nadine that she never married again. Now she has to be a surrogate father to her grandchildren, and she has to work for a living since she no longer has a husband who will care for her.
Gregory was my parent's eighth child. Born on May 29, 1956, Gregory was a quiet, obedient, and intelligent boy. He was bullied sometimes in school, but he never bullied anyone. Gregory was always inquisitive as a child and would ask questions about the weirdest things. He would paint our bedroom odd colors, but for the most part he kept to himself most of his childhood. Gregory never had a desire to join the Boys & Girls Clubs. My brother never had any girlfriends nor did he have many boys that he went out with socially.
Gregory was an above-average youngster throughout school, from kindergarten through high school. He would not settle for less than an above-average grade. When he became a teenager and was matriculating through high school, he was the victim of educational racism at a predominately white school. My mother had to transfer him to a more integrated high school in downtown Chicago. Jones Commercial High School was equipped with all of the latest computers and business equipment. It was there that my brother was inspired to become an entrepreneur. When he got older, he started his own business. Gregory was highly motivated, and I believe his motivation was also a result of the strict and conservative upbringing that pushed him to succeed.
Gregory was also a religious person; he became a Jehovah's Witness. When he decided to get married, he married a Jehovah's Witness and they have three daughters. His wife, Deborah, is one of sweetest people on Earth and there is always joyfulness in their household.
The average person, including myself, does not know much about or is in touch with the Jehovah's Witness faith. What is so shocking to me is the way Jehovah's Witnesses take so much mental abuse from the public when they go out to spread their ministry within communities. People would slam doors in their faces. People would spit on them, curse them, and call them names all because of their own ignorance of the Jehovah's Witness faith. There is only one God. And we should all be respectful of how someone else practices their religion and how they worship their God.
On September 14, 1955, Patricia became the ninth child to join the Mahone family. Patricia was a sight to see. She was very attractive with light complexion and long hair. She was also accident prone. At an early age, she fell from the front porch and fractured her skull; as a youngster, she received third-degree grease burns from a skillet. I felt sorry for my sister. She had so much bad luck, however, God has been with her to get her through all the trials and tribulations that she went through as she was growing up.
Patricia was also a quiet and obedient child who didn't cause my parents any problems. She didn't get any "switchings" from my father or mother. She received high marks in school and went on to college. With her current husband, Bernard Kato, she formed PBK Secretarial Limited, and their business was a smashing success. She is currently a manager in the entertainment business (Blockbuster) and the loves it. She and her husband have three children.
For Patricia, it was love at first sight with Bernie. She loved to roller skate and they met more than 40 years ago at Albany Skating Rink on the West Side of Chicago. Pat and Bernie would skate at matinees and they would go to the midnight ramble; they would also go to movies together. They grew on one another, and she met Bernie's entire family as I did during this time. I was glad that Pat and Bernie married; it agrees with them both.
Their daughter, Tiffany, is in college to become a physical trainer. Their son Patrick is in college studying to enter the personal medical field. They are both intelligent children. Lenard is living with his wife in Indianapolis and they have a beautiful son. He is involved with trucks and car repair. And they have a new dog, a German shepherd that is a sight to see for anyone's eyes. Lenard's wife is a homemaker and they plan on relocating, however, they have not decided where. They were considering Seattle, Washington.
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