Friday, May 27, 2011

Grampa Encourages Structure!

A shock to see a young friend in chains
Gramma Pixie and I were invited to give a show of support for a young man in jail we barely knew.  Our daughters are friends of his, his little brother and their single mom.  They have joined us for several Howe family holiday dinners when the three of them shared a house for a while with our daughters.  It was an arraignment--a brief appearance before a judge.  We were two of a double row of friends and family who turned out to impress the judge on the young man's behalf.

I couldn't help notice a gleam of gratitude in his eye when he shuffled in cuffed and shackled in his green county jail jumpsuit.  He was formally charged with felony burglary and theft.  In his good hearted way, he was taken advantage of by some pint sized thieves--and because he was he only one with a driver's license he represented them at the pawnbrokers to sell a few DVDs the younger one had taken from a house where he had had been evicted. Our young friend was trying to be kind--and it blew up in his face.  The bail was set at $100,000.

I kept thinking that our "support" was too little too late.  Somewhere back in history, before he was concieved, someone should have been there for him--giving him structure and a little tough love on a regular basis.  Like so many after-thought children, his own father never married the mother. His grandfather had long since divorced the grandmother and moved out of state.  Me?   I can count on one hand the times we rubbed shoulders.  The young man grew up virtually fatherless.  In fairness, his mother tried--but she was often unemployed--and vowed to keep religion away from her sons.  (He has a little brother who was recently caught shop lifting for food)  Well meaning relatives have offered to help some, but it becomes too much and the offer is generally withdrawn.

What could have been done early on?  What more can I do?

1. The mother could have gotten and stayed married.  A loving Dad and Mom and a steady home life with dinner on the table and open communication could have helped.

2. Membership in a good church with an excellent youth program could have helped.  I know families from many different faith groups--and it's no secret that we try to be active Mormons, but baptism, keeping covenants to do better, a good understanding of repentance could have made a difference.  LDS Young men grow into callings in the priesthood, accept responsiblity and work with youth leaders and a good bishop who monitor progress and give consistent encouragement.

3.  Cub Scouts, Hockey--these filled in the gap somewhat -- but a consistent, life long program is what's needed.  Family relationships, consistent presence and a flow of love and encouragement-- That's what Grampa's can help do.

We go to court for the trial early next month.  We'll be there for support, hoping for a good outcome.  Suprizingly this good-hearted young man told one of our daughters that he believed this happened at a good time in his life---that it was a wake up call to help teach him how to be more careful in choosing his friends--and finish his education.

He can't go back and do most of his young life over.  He can only start where he stands and move forward.  If this is a needed wake up call--and he can get probation with a warning---that would be good.  Stay tuned.  JRH

Link:  Time in Jail with Grampa

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