Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boys Make Excuses Men Make Changes

In watching shows like COPS, JAIL (cops spin off), and Women Behind Bars, its comforting to know that the police have been doing what they were hired to do. Initially, some of the convicts could tug at the heart strings and viewers might even believe each perpetrator going through the process and tries to turn his/her situation around to be seen as a victim. How can they look so believable?

Coming fresh out of college and ready to change the world, I know I'd hear each story and find credibility with them all too. Its called being naive, gullible, immature, and easy prey. Working from the socio-economic perspective that I was placed, many clients were an act or two away from starring in one or more of the previously mentioned shows. Still, in trying to change the world, I came up against a brick wall too many times. I had a specific allotment of days with each client; therefore, I had to make the most it. After prayer and gathering all of the information, I went to work making sure each family or individual got the resources he/she needed and was equipped to meet the goals that had been discussed. I could without a doubt say that each case was well armed and at the ready to conquer whatever necessary to complete the goal. After so many months, it was required of my assignment to do a follow up to see how each case fared with the tools given. Because I was still so pleased with the vocation given to me in helping people, I couldn't see what my clients were doing. There were too many of them that found some thing to complain about (1 is 1 too many). Too many had reasons as to why they couldn't maintain where they were placed. Hardly any of them stayed the course to complete the goal they established for themselves. Still green, I would pull out the case file and go over all of the material to remind them what the prize was when finished and how important it was for their own mental health to do it. They would smile and seem to understand the words that were coming out of my mouth but their actions dictated otherwise.

Sixteen years later, I decided to make a career change because of a specific verse in the bible never made more sense to me until I could stop and consider my ways.

On one the shows previously mentioned, an inmate was about to be released. He had been a repeat offender and warned several times before landing the sentence that he just completed. As he told his story, I heard how he learned the court lingo, the correction officers jargon, and how the inmates use acronyms to communicate. In his time of lock up, he completed his GED and had a certificate from learning a trade. He said he was incarcerated at the age of 22 and he is getting out at 35. He looked hopeful and pleased with himself. His words showed that he has a bright outlook on life. In walking out of the exit he concluded with, "boys make excuses, men make changes. I won't be back. It took 13 years for me to be able to say that." He then turned from the camera to leave. As he walked away, the camera stayed on him while the narrative was from the correction officer asking him the questions in the interview, "yeah, I hope he does make it. Odds are, he won't." The released inmate turns the corner and then it fades to black. The show was over without anything to let the viewer know that he made it or any follow up. Did the optimistic ex-offender make it or did the pessimism of the corrections officer come to pass?

I made a career change after so many years of hearing adults make excuses for bad behavior. From a 38 year old woman who has been cheating the system of thousands of dollars since the age of 16 and teaching her 12 year old son to do the same to an educated woman with a good career and a broken arm contemplating on returning to her live in abusive boyfriend, it was getting to be a bit much. I wanted for them all to change and be better people. I wanted for them to get all they could from what life has to offer. I wanted more for them then they wanted for themselves and it was depressing at the discovery. They didn't teach this in any of the college course work I took.

First, the Word tells us to not to cast your pearls on swine (Matthew 7:6 AMP). Swine are animals and have no idea what to do with treasure. I didn't consider this verse very much in my work because most of my clients professed to be Christian and I used that confession in gathering resources for them. Yet, that verse began to make more sense to me when coupling it with the verse describing an immature Christian unable to eat the meat of God's word. It is the same with the optimistic inmate. He has the tools to make a better life for himself. One of the rules with a probation officer is for the ex-offender to move away from his old neighborhood and not to be seen with his old friends. It is the acquaintances that will have an ex-offender back in prison. Like an addict, he/she must stay completely away from what caused the behavior in the first place. Yet, when the inmate walked away and turned the corner, he did so shoulder to shoulder talking with another ex-offender leaving the facility.
Hebrews 5:11-13 AMP:
Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even [a]slothful in achieving spiritual insight].

12 For even though by this time you ought to be teaching others, you actually need someone to teach you over again the very first principles of God’s Word. You have come to need milk, not solid food.
13 For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]!
Appearances are deceiving. Just because he/she looks grown up and talks a good game doesn't mean that he/she is grown up. Where is the fruit? What have you done for the Lord lately? Though this entry makes a good post for Christian singles, it can also serve as to why some of us aren't where we should be. Grow up!

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