I should stop here and let you know a couple of things:
- My work now is mostly with ex-convicts on parole or probation. I find this must include their family, if it is possible to reconnect the Re-entering Citizen with any part of their family. One of the men at one of our residences (we will call him X) had a forty year sentence, of which he serviced 23. During his 23 years in prison, he received two visits from a family member and no mail. Two visits in 23 years; one visit per 11.5 years. Some of our folks lost their families when they lost their freedom. Reconnecting with society does not just happen when you have no one on the outside who will help you.
- I have no criminal record of my own. From time to time I am told, “Prisoners will only listen to other prisoners.” I have not found this to be true. I have come to believe, very keenly, that persons who have lived felony free are needed more than ever to minister with those who have gone to prison.
So saying, let me add another couple of suggestions:
- Fairly often, someone who has not background in work with felons will begin to lecture us on what we need to do for “those people,” or “people like those people.” One preacher wanted me to buy his two little books he has on Amazon (compilations of his sermons) because “those people” needed to read his writings. Another dear lady wanted to know what we were doing to help “those people” learn to read in English. Please note, “those people” we work with daily may have a high school education, but most have one degree and part of another one. Our guys and girls do have special needs, as one would expect in a society where one mistake can cost you a life sentence, but they are not gang-related, uneducated or, well, any of the other things you might think.
- All of our folks need a champion. From the moment they go in to the system, through the time we have them on parole and into their new life, our guys/girls benefit immeasurably when they have someone to be their advocate.
I am writing these little posts to Moms because, very often, the Moms are the last ones to give up on their sons. This is not always the case and I cannot predict when the Mom will get involved and stay in the fight. However, some of our guys who are the least likely applicants for our program, have Mom to intercede for them. Our experience includes some really great Dads, to be sure. However, the real super-success stories almost always involve a Mom.
So, I am urging Moms to warn their sons. I would want to warn them about the culture shift we are having now, wherein some issues that have not been correctly addressed in past years are now getting a new attention.
Moms, your sons:
- Do not need to be dating underage girls. In fact, I beg you protect your sons. Prevent them from being alone with underage girls. Your son does not have to do anything. Someone only has to say he did something, or looked the wrong way.
- Should have your help re-thinking the whole idea of solo dating. Do not think your sons are protected because there is only a slight age difference between your son and his girl friend.
- Need protection from pornography. The RSOs in our ministry invariably mention the influence of porn in their life shattering acts. Porn is not a victimless act. The young man looking at the porn is the victim. Porn teaches your sons to go a bit farther, to wear down her defenses and to hear “yes” when she says “no.”
- Have to have you, Mom, in their lives. You know more about girls than your teenage (or adult) sons. Be ready to say “No!” when a “No” is needed.
- Should practice abstinence outside of marriage. Yes, I know young people left alone with one another will have sexual relations. I am just warning the Moms of sons their son is in danger.
One of our fellows, we will call him Z, had a completely clean record; not even a traffic citation. He stepped out of bounds one time with one girl, who was not truthfully forthcoming with him. He received a twelve year sentence and gets to register as a Sex Offender now. This is not what you want from your son.
I know we live in a society where Hugh Hefner and Stormy Daniels get to set the sexual standards. I absolutely insist that you, Mom, (hopefully with Dad, but alone if necessary) should have more to do with the sexual practices of your son that a porn peddler and a prostitute.
Please accept the modern reality of the criminal justice system. The girl who wants to have sex with your teenage son this weekend may be the girl who forgets what she wanted when your son breaks up with her after Christmas. A word here, a word there; a life is ruined.
Moms, warn your sons.