How we can save our lost boys
“I went in with only my own experiences, and came out with every other kid’s know-how in my head.”
These were some of the first words my 18-year-old friend spoke the day he was released from Nevada County’s newly built juvenile hall. Our first conversation was about how much he missed drugs, and how he had learned to make more illegal money as soon as he could.
This is a repeated problem within our justice system when dealing with adults. Criminals are continually released knowing more about how to commit crime than how to live a productive life in society. But, I dare to ask, why isn’t there more for our youth? Have we given up on them?
No positive reinforcement or counseling services were provided for this still hopeful young man while he was incarcerated. When I asked him if he would have appreciated or even liked to have talked to someone about life, religion or anything, he nodded but laughed, “Yeah, right!”
I strongly believe that what these boys lack is a strong male role model. Who is a teenage boy without a father supposed to emulate? Spider-man?
I challenge whoever is in charge of this system that does not correct boys – and fills them with more crime knowledge – to allow something stronger. Young males need strong male models, not tough cops!
We as a community can do something about this problem. This is the last time to influence them before they actually enter the adult world. If we could give them something more to emerge with than detestation for the justice system in our country, what would it be?
Donate books and movies that point towards a moral – a goal in life. I even challenge the real fathers in this community, who are raising boys themselves, to donate time to talk to one of these kids. Even an hour a week would make a difference in someone’s world.
And what about those Elks down the road? A little positive reinforcement could change one of these lost boys into a man.
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