Boys to Men: Al-Tran

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    • 00:14

      SPEAKER 1: I consider myself lucky,because not a lot of people have the chanceto be with their father.Some people haven't even seen their father.

    • 00:21

      SPEAKER 2: I felt like a man figureisn't that important or whatever.I was like, my mom is my mother and my father,because I never ever met my father, nor seen him.So it really didn't matter.I wasn't boo-hooing about it, because my mom,she's always been there for me.But my godfather, after I sat down and talked to him,he talked to me.

    • 00:42

      SPEAKER 2 [continued]: It's like, it really is important.

    • 00:44

      SPEAKER 3: My father died when I was six.But all his family, they live all the way in Atlanta.And my other uncle in Pennsylvania--I don't want to say this, but he's like a junkie and stuff.So he doesn't really help me.So I don't really have any male figures,except for teachers in school.But the teachers don't help me.They hate me too.So I'm just like stuck here, live on my own.

    • 01:28

      SPEAKER 3 [continued]: [THEME MUSIC]

    • 02:20

      AL-TRAN: A man should teach a boy how to grow up to be a man.If I had a father, I think I wouldhave probably be ready to be a man right now.Since I just grew up with my mother, it's just different.

    • 02:41

      AL-TRAN [continued]: I think being a man is very hard, especially in this time.And I didn't know really how to express my anger.I didn't want to hurt anybody.But I wanted to hurt something.And hitting walls, I was hurting myself.So I had to stop that.Then, I just wrote my anger on paper.I know I told you I wouldn't need you today.

    • 03:02

      AL-TRAN [continued]: But please tell help me.My mom is slipping away.I should've known better than not to trust in you.Now I'm fading away, don't know what to do.I looked in the mirror with a deep stareand saw myself slowly disappear.If you're trying to teach me a lesson, please stop.Because you're taking everything that I've got.If you're trying to get me to understand or not understand

    • 03:24

      AL-TRAN [continued]: but please, don't continue with this plan.My strength is draining out so fast.Don't tell me this breath will be my last.My body and soul is getting weak.I can not only feel but hear my heart beat.Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.

    • 03:45

      AL-TRAN [continued]: Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.To you, Lord, I pray.Thank you.[APPLAUSE]

    • 03:53

      ROBIN: He likes poetry.I write poetry.So I know he got that part from me.

    • 03:58

      SPEAKER 4: You're really good.

    • 03:60

      AL-TRAN: Thank you.

    • 04:00

      SPEAKER 4: And I think you would enjoy this organization.

    • 04:03

      ROBIN: But I'm always waking him up.I'm always picking out his clothes.At the house, he can play his PlayStation,he could look at cable, he can talk on the phone.So he doesn't do the things that beingindependent and responsible entail.

    • 04:20

      AL-TRAN: My mom, she's telling meI've got start all these responsibilities.I understand that.But she keeps saying stop, acting like a kid.Like mom, what am I?I never really had that father figure to teach mehow to do the man things.I study other guys that I see who

    • 04:41

      AL-TRAN [continued]: try to help me become that man that I want to be.I'll prove to the world that I was the best in this wrestling

    • 05:03

      AL-TRAN [continued]: federation.Now, last night, Tony Shebrony, you put one hell of a fight.But you didn't have the testicular fortitudeto go one on one with the Devious.

    • 05:13

      ROBIN: In the living room, he willput on performances for the family.He comes out and does a comedian act with maybe eightdifferent characters.

    • 05:22

      AL-TRAN: He has proven himself many and many times.

    • 05:26

      ROBIN: I can't say he actually got it from me, because Idon't know where that came from.

    • 05:32

      AL-TRAN: See, before I had a lot of dreams,I just knew I was going to become a doctor.At one point in my life, I just knewI was to become a carpenter.But dreams change.Tonight, one-on-one, mano-e-mano, wewill fight for the ultimate gold.

    • 05:47

      ROBIN: I wouldn't have picked acting or drama for him,personally.I would definitely pick a college careerin the business setting.But he's not in it for the money.He's in it for what he likes to do.[LAUGHING]

    • 06:04

      AL-TRAN: Oh my god.Ah.When I looked, I wasn't having fun like this.Now I'm just catching up, just like a new baby.So it's still fun.Don't want to leave that yet.[LAUGHING]

    • 06:32

      AL-TRAN [continued]: Ah!

    • 06:47

      FATHER CURLEY: For all those peoplewho are wandering in life, not really having a direction--

    • 06:56

      ROBIN: Because of him going to Saint Benedict's,whatever direction he decides to take in life,he'll be productive.

    • 07:05

      AL-TRAN: When I first went there,I was like, I want to go.I can't stay here.Arts High.That's the school I wanted to go to.They have auditions, and I just overslept it.And I was like, aw man.I guess I'm not going there.I was really mad.

    • 07:22

      ROBIN: I knew Al-Tran wanted to go to Arts High.But he couldn't get the same education at Arts High.

    • 07:28

      FATHER CURLEY: God is working in our lives,even when we don't realize it.

    • 07:34

      AL-TRAN: When you come into this world,I always believe that you have two dreams.One is your dream, and the other one'sother people, what they want you to do.And right now, I'm living their dream.They want me to go to college.But my dream, I want something different.I want to have fun.You only live one time.And why would you waste it on doing something somebody elsewants you to do?

    • 07:54

      AL-TRAN [continued]: So I kept trying to do things thatwould make them kick me out.

    • 07:58

      PATRICIA FLYNN: The guidance counselor said, he'sfailing everything.Because sometimes, they take kids outof extracurricular activities.And I said, don't do that to this kid,because I think he's failing on purpose.

    • 08:14

      ROBIN: The headmaster, Father Ed, called us in, meand Al-Tran in.And he told Al-Tran that he wasn't going anywhere.

    • 08:21

      AL-TRAN: That he wasn't kicking me out,no matter what I was doing.

    • 08:24

      ROBIN: Father Ed told Al-Tran, the only way you'llget kicked out is from stealing.And if you aren't doing that, you're not going anywhere.

    • 08:32

      REVEREND WINSTEAD: We come to school to learn how to live.

    • 08:34

      AUDIENCE: We come to school to learn how to live.

    • 08:36

      REVEREND WINSTEAD: Learn what to do.

    • 08:37

      AUDIENCE: To learn what to do.

    • 08:38

      REVEREND WINSTEAD: And when to do it.

    • 08:40

      AUDIENCE: And when to do it.

    • 08:41

      REVEREND WINSTEAD: I'm called to excellence.

    • 08:42

      AUDIENCE: I'm called to excellence.

    • 08:43

      REVEREND WINSTEAD: I'm destined for greatness.

    • 08:45

      AUDIENCE: I'm destined for greatness.

    • 08:46

      PATRICIA FLYNN: The play is King Henry IV.This is very much a coming of age play.Didn't you ever say this to your parent, OK.I did some wrong things.I wish I could tell you I didn't do that.

    • 08:59

      AL-TRAN: No.

    • 08:60

      PATRICIA FLYNN: The fact is, I did--

    • 09:01

      AL-TRAN: If it wasn't drama, I probablywouldn't be coming to school.That school is about trying to grow you upinto being a nice man, business person,and trying to please them.But again, please myself.Not giving all my effort, but half of it,just so I can keep honest in the world.

    • 09:21

      MIKE SCANLAN: His school attendancehas been pretty weak this past year,to the point where it'd be hard to see him graduatingfrom high school at the rate he's going.

    • 09:32

      ROBIN: Tran needs a push towards taking schoola little more seriously.He's going to be staying on campus at Saint Benedict'sstarting in September.

    • 09:42

      AL-TRAN: I don't know what made me do that.But I get myself into the craziest situations.

    • 09:49

      ROBIN: Because at first, he was telling them,I really didn't want to be there.Lots of times, if you don't want to stay the whole four years,they don't want you to come back to the school.

    • 09:59

      DREW POLLICK: How many of you thinkyou know everybody in the room?They're your fellow floor mates, so your fellow house mates.We're all going to try to make this work together.But we need to start taking risks together right now.

    • 10:12

      AL-TRAN: I'm stuck with it now.Like, I have no choice.I just need someone to just guide me, just hold my hand,and just take me into that world.Right now, it's like I'm alone.I'm afraid of success.Although I want it really bad, it'slike I'm afraid to go get it.It's like you're at the end of a cliff,

    • 10:36

      AL-TRAN [continued]: and you see all that nice, blue water under you.You're just hot and dry.You just need that so bad.You just want it.You could almost feel it, even if you're not in the water.And you're just at the top.And you know how to get there.But yet, you're afraid to go jump.

    • 11:08

      ROBIN: Tran, come on, it's the big day.Let's go.Tran.Tran.Tran, what are you doing?

    • 11:29

      ROBIN [continued]: Last minute thought?Huh?What's wrong?Changing your mind?Hm?Huh?Changing your mind?Thinking about it?

    • 11:51

      ROBIN [continued]: Huh?Where are you walking to?How long is this walk?

    • 12:12

      ROBIN [continued]: We'll be home on the weekend.It's not like you're gone for two or threemonths without coming home.I feel he wanted to cry.I've seen him in that mood before.

    • 12:34

      ROBIN [continued]: Like he walked around a fence this morning--that's how he was doing the morning whenhe went to daycare.He would run around this little wall.Some mornings I was late, because he wouldn't get offmy leg.He don't want to stay if I'm not there, I guess.

    • 12:51

      AL-TRAN: When I was little, she treated melike any other African woman.If you did something wrong, of course you're getting beat.Then that was in the projects.She can't really be a nice person.You've got to make sure your kids don't go outin the streets.And if I did, I was going to get beat.So I changed my mind.

    • 13:15

      ROBIN: I thought at one time, Tran,you was getting kind of used to the idea.Nobody you know that's your friend is in the resident home?

    • 13:24

      AL-TRAN: Yeah, I know a couple of them in there.I always had to hide my feelings, especially to my mom.The love that she was giving me, Ifelt if I told her things that I wanted to,then it would all change.

    • 13:58

      ROBIN: Feel like you did wrong by accepting the invitation?

    • 14:02

      AL-TRAN: I feel like I'm going to jail.

    • 14:04

      ROBIN: You haven't even tried it out.

    • 14:06

      AL-TRAN: You act like it's so good.

    • 14:08

      ROBIN: What's so bad about the dorms?

    • 14:11

      AL-TRAN: I ain't happy.That's the problem point.Everybody else is happy.What about me?This is my life, right?

    • 14:18

      ROBIN: Yeah.Well sometimes, as kids, you need directions in life.That's the whole idea of having parents.You might feel bad, but this is a positive stepthat you can't see right now, because you are young.

    • 14:39

      ROBIN [continued]: He's down, you know.

    • 14:41

      FATHER LEAHY: Sure.Because now, he's going to have to be on time,now he's got to have somebody watching him.You know, the whole drill.That's why he's mad.You know that.

    • 14:52

      AL-TRAN: That's Father Ed.

    • 14:55

      FATHER LEAHY: How you doing?Huh?All right?You happy, or what?

    • 15:01

      AL-TRAN: The truth?

    • 15:02

      FATHER LEAHY: Yeah, the truth.Now you can't use any of those funky, old excuses.You're in a monastery.That's why there's fences around it.There's a long, long tradition that parentsbring their children to the monastery to learn.Some of whom are children of nobility, some of whommay be poor, some of whom, their family may have nothing.

    • 15:26

      AL-TRAN: From the get-go, I didn't really want to do it.But I didn't want to say no and stuff.And everybody else started having these different thingsto say of why I should do it.Just didn't feel like hearing it.

    • 15:36

      ROBIN: It hurts me when he feels like I'm trying to do somethingto scold him because he's done something wronginstead of doing something to help him.

    • 15:44

      AL-TRAN: If I don't feel like waking up and coming,I'm staying bed.And this is actually going to turn me meaner, justto show everybody else.

    • 15:57

      ROBIN: Because I have to work harder now.It's a lot more money.So I should be the one gloomy.But I know I made a good decision.And I'm going to stand by it, and I don't know.But I hope he will change his mind about the way he feels.

    • 16:17

      AL-TRAN: When I was walking around this morning,truthfully, I was thinking about jumping off a building.I feel like I'm crawling myself into a darker tunnel.Like I already crawled into the hole for safety.And then I'm going deeper within itinstead of going back out with a light.

    • 16:50

      ROBIN: Tran.Tran.Tran.Come on.Come on.Come on.[INAUDIBLE]

    • 17:06

      SPEAKER 5: Wake up time, young man.

    • 17:08

      ROBIN: That's another problem, sleep.He's sleeping all the time.I don't know what is it, if it's depression.They have to go to bed by 11 o'clock.

    • 17:18

      AL-TRAN: Sometimes we sleep before 11:00.

    • 17:20

      SPEAKER 5: Write it down on a piece of paper,how many hours does he sleep?And how many hours he's awake.

    • 17:26

      ROBIN: So what does he have?

    • 17:27

      SPEAKER 5: Right now, it's just diarrhea.

    • 17:29

      ROBIN: If you're depressed, can thatbring on a lot of sleeping?

    • 17:32

      SPEAKER 5: No.Why would he be depressed?

    • 17:34

      ROBIN: Because he doesn't want to stay in one resident.He's on campus.

    • 17:38

      SPEAKER 5: He really hasn't given it a chance--

    • 17:40

      ROBIN: That's what I said.

    • 17:41

      SPEAKER 5: --to work.In the beginning, it's always hard.No matter where you go, you have to get adjusted.

    • 17:47

      ROBIN: So we're going to give it another month, right?

    • 17:51

      AL-TRAN: No.

    • 17:51

      ROBIN: No?Tran, you have to work with me, all right?Give it a chance, all right?I don't think another month will kill you.

    • 18:05

      AL-TRAN: I don't have another choice.

    • 18:10

      ROBIN: If you had a choice, you wouldn't give it another month?

    • 18:13

      AL-TRAN: No.

    • 18:21

      ROBIN: Tran, everybody could reach out to help you.But if you don't help yourself, there's no use.And if you plan on going to a good college,I suggest you get it together now,before you mess up everything for yourself.Drama is not going to be anythingif you don't get education that could take you

    • 18:43

      ROBIN [continued]: further along with the drama.They're trying to get you where you want to go,and you aren't even trying to get yourself there.Why is that?

    • 18:51

      AL-TRAN: Maybe I don't want to go there anymore.

    • 18:54

      ROBIN: Where did you want to go?

    • 18:56

      AL-TRAN: I don't know.

    • 18:57

      ROBIN: You don't know?So how do you know that's not whereyou want to go anymore if you don't even know where--

    • 19:03

      AL-TRAN: That's where everybody else was pushing me to go.So I was going the way they wanted me to go.

    • 19:07

      ROBIN: Well, where do you want to go?

    • 19:10

      AL-TRAN: I don't even know anymore.

    • 19:12

      ROBIN: If you don't know, I sure don't know where you want to goor what you want to do.So what you're going to do about that?Talk to me Tran, I'm serious.

    • 19:27

      AL-TRAN: I understand what you're saying.

    • 19:29

      ROBIN: Sit down.Think about what you want to do sothat I can help you do this, OK?Is that being fair?

    • 19:36

      AL-TRAN: Yeah, that's fair.

    • 19:37

      ROBIN: I'm leaving it up to you.Write down what you want to do, where you want to go.And we'll work from there, even if it means coming outof the resident hall-- whatever.

    • 19:57

      AL-TRAN: Mr. Scanlan has been wantingto meet with me and my mother.They told me it was up to me.Did I want to stay or not?I told them I didn't want to.It wasn't helping me any.So they said, all right then.You can clear your stuff out of the room.

    • 20:24

      ROBIN: When he was packing, I was like, well,he's finally got his wish.

    • 20:31

      AL-TRAN: Soon as that moment came,I was actually packing my stuff, I felt low.Like OK what did I get myself into?I've seen my mom.You can see it on her face that she's tired of this.She says, we better get things together,or there isn't going to be anything left.It's turning into some kind of mean streak in her now.

    • 20:57

      ROBIN: He's not taking care of himself.Until you're taking care of yourself,you can't make your own decisions.

    • 21:03

      FATHER LEAHY: Spanish, in danger of failing course.Work missing or incomplete.

    • 21:07

      AL-TRAN: Yeah.That's when I was absent.

    • 21:09

      FATHER LEAHY: Mm.Geometry, weak effort.US history 1, in danger of failing course.Did not complete required reading.First of all, what's the problem?

    • 21:18

      AL-TRAN: Maybe because I don't want to do it.

    • 21:20

      FATHER LEAHY: Why is that?

    • 21:24

      AL-TRAN: Because it's not interesting to me.

    • 21:28

      FATHER LEAHY: So the only thing that youwant to put your effort into are things that interest you?

    • 21:32

      AL-TRAN: Mhm.

    • 21:34

      FATHER LEAHY: Look what your mother's doing.Breaking her back every day for what?Certain things in life, you have to do,because you have to do them.That's what you've got to do something about,or you're not going to finish high school.Because I'm not participating in watching a very capable, verytalented, very good kid just screw up everything

    • 21:56

      FATHER LEAHY [continued]: and just let his life run right through his fingers.I'm not doing that.Terrific theater programs, they'renot going to look at you with your academic record right now.Somebody told me, do you sleep a lot?

    • 22:10

      AL-TRAN: Mhm.

    • 22:11

      FATHER LEAHY: Did you ever talk to anybody about how you feel?Things that bother you?

    • 22:15

      AL-TRAN: No.

    • 22:16

      FATHER LEAHY: Why not?

    • 22:18

      AL-TRAN: Because I just don't feel comfortable doing it.

    • 22:21

      FATHER LEAHY: Do you like the way you feel now?

    • 22:23

      AL-TRAN: No.

    • 22:23

      FATHER LEAHY: What are you going to do about that?At what point do you say, you know what?I don't think my system's working too well.Or I may need to get what?

    • 22:35

      AL-TRAN: Some help.

    • 22:36

      FATHER LEAHY: We've got it.There's two things I think you canlook for to see if somebody's grown up and become an adult.And besides yell help, is you have to be able to say,my fault.I'm sorry.You've got to tell me what you're prepared to do.

    • 22:48

      AL-TRAN: I don't know what I want to do.I've got to think about it.I don't know.

    • 22:52

      FATHER LEAHY: Do you like the way you're feeling?

    • 22:54

      AL-TRAN: Uh-uh.

    • 22:56

      FATHER LEAHY: So you just got used to the pain?

    • 22:58

      AL-TRAN: Yeah.

    • 22:58

      FATHER LEAHY: Well, then do something about it.If we don't have this thing significantly improvedby the end of the second marking period, which is Christmas,you going to get a Christmas present you don't want,and I don't want to give.There are colors out there that youshould be seeing every day when you get up in the morning,walk to school.But I don't think you can see them.

    • 23:19

      FATHER LEAHY [continued]: And I think talking to somebody will help you do that.That's going to be painful, my guess is.I can't save you from that.Dr. Figarelli, Al-Tran Buie.

    • 23:34

      DR. FIGARELLI: Hey, how are you doing?

    • 23:35

      FATHER LEAHY: Al-Tran's mom, long-suffering mom.

    • 23:37

      DR. FIGARELLI: Hi, how are you?Why don't you come down during your free period, and thenwe'll set something up on a regular basis after that.All right?

    • 23:44

      AL-TRAN: All right.

    • 23:45

      FATHER LEAHY: This has nothing to do with me.This is confidential.Walk your mom to the door, and then get to class.Be good.Keep your courage up.We'll get this done.

    • 23:56

      DR. FIGARELLI: I'll see you tomorrow.

    • 23:57

      AL-TRAN: It's strange.Because when I usually have a problem,I"ll find a way to deal with it myself.

    • 24:02

      ROBIN: That's why Father Ed was sayingyou need to let somebody help you sometimes.

    • 24:07

      AL-TRAN: I know.

    • 24:08

      ROBIN: See, because dealing with ityourself brought you to this point.Right?

    • 24:13

      AL-TRAN: Mhm.And I got so hooked on this style,and now I'm trying to move over, and it's like, I can't.This voice in my head says, you don't have to do it.Just hold it off until tomorrow.Do it later on.With the work, just do it later.You have time.Just relax.

    • 24:29

      ROBIN: Sometimes two heads are better than one.I have to go back to work, so we'vegot to finish this conversation later.

    • 24:49

      AL-TRAN: For some reason, they thinkthat I'm just going to end up being a personthat they talk about, like I knew this kid thathad the greatest talent.But he let it slip all out.And now, he's on the street, or now he in jail.

    • 25:03

      ROBIN: Al-Tran always called himself the man of the house.He gave himself that title.But he wasn't able to be that man in a mature state.He doesn't have man qualifications.

    • 25:21

      AL-TRAN: I don't trust anybody, and Idon't like wanting to put my life in other people's handsso they can help guide me, not even my mom.It's just me, and I have to do it by myself.

    • 25:35

      ROBIN: So where's the depression coming from?Tell me.

    • 25:38

      AL-TRAN: It's like when I came to school for the first coupleof months, and I wasn't really liking it.You were forcing me into it.People weren't really hearing what I had to say about it,or how I felt.After I while, I just started to keep my feelings to myself.

    • 25:54

      ROBIN: I'm going to let you make your own decisions.You think that will help your situation?What do you think about that?

    • 26:00

      AL-TRAN: That's what I always wanted.

    • 26:01

      ROBIN: You think you can handle that?

    • 26:03

      AL-TRAN: It's my life.I should be able to handle that.I can't always let people make decisions for me.

    • 26:07

      ROBIN: You think it'll help you any with your depression state?

    • 26:11

      AL-TRAN: Yeah.

    • 26:16

      ROBIN: OK.See what happens from here.I'm going to back up and give you some space.Because I was angry at first, yourexit out of the resident hall.You think that was the best choice?

    • 26:30

      AL-TRAN: Why should I have to stay in somethingthat don't make me feel comfortable?

    • 26:35

      ROBIN: So now you feel a little betterabout being at St. Benedict?

    • 26:38

      AL-TRAN: Yeah.

    • 26:38

      ROBIN: You think one of your decisions will be leaving?

    • 26:40

      AL-TRAN: No, I didn't say I was going to leave.

    • 26:42

      ROBIN: All right.I like his decisions already.It's a good decision.You want to be your own man, right?

    • 26:51

      AL-TRAN: Yep.Everybody else's dreams has pushed me off,because I didn't really want to do that at the beginning.I feel like it's me now.Even if it's right, or wrong, or anything.I'm making these choices.That's what I feel I should do.

    • 27:08

      ROBIN: Well, OK.At a certain point, you have to let a man be a man.And I guess I haven't reached that pointwhere the letting go part is easy.

    • 27:36

      AL-TRAN: I had to go through these things.It's like I feel this is what God wanted my life to be like.Now, the road I should take, I'm goingto have to find it for myself.

Boys to Men: Al-Tran

View Segments Segment :


Al-Tran is a adolescent male growing up without a father figure in the ghetto. This documentary shows his mother's decisions to make a better life for Al-Tran, however, Al-Tran has other plans. Learn how this adolescent makes his own decisions while struggling with depression.

Boys to Men: Al-Tran

Al-Tran is a adolescent male growing up without a father figure in the ghetto. This documentary shows his mother's decisions to make a better life for Al-Tran, however, Al-Tran has other plans. Learn how this adolescent makes his own decisions while struggling with depression.

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