It’s a New Year, we’re rounding the corner of a long hard Winter and I’m certain Spring will arrive. As exciting as our futures look, as big as our dreams might be … there are those among us who do not share in such optimism.
How do I know this? For the past 5 years my wife and I and 2600 others from the Salt Lake Valley have been volunteering time at the Utah State Prison. We visit with Prisoners on Sunday’s, on the 1st Monday and 3rd Thursday of each month. We get to know them and most importantly they get to know us as a “couple.” My assignment “transition specialist” … I work with those men who are about to be released on parole. My biggest successes come when the Prisoner can once again or perhaps for the 1st time believe in themselves. My “tool” is to believe in them, telling them week in and week, over and over that they are capable of being loved, that I do in fact love them. Once that trust is established our progress makes great strides. Goal setting is my next “tool” – I help them “dream again” … dream of things they’d like to accomplish. A recurring dream that surfaced is a desire on their part to “be happy” to “laugh” and “to be loved.”
Like every teacher knows … (the teacher) gets the most out of the lessons delivered; my experience at the “Point of the Mountain” [the name locals use to describe the Utah State Prison] is no different. Now don’t fear that I’ve lost perspective – these men have committed serious crimes [I work in the Sexual Offenders Unit] – I do not condone what they’ve done … but as human beings I can love them. Once they believe I’m genuine they begin to “let me in” and trust begins. Like all of you the following cliché is real, “I don’t care how much you know … until I know how much you care.”
Ironically, I find “Prisoners” in all walks of life in my prospecting for new clients … far too many people who are not incarceration live a life of self imposed prison.
If you’ve got about 5 minutes I’d like to invite you to a YouTube video to see what “love in action” looks like. I challenge you today to find a way to “make a difference” in someones life! I promise you if you do … Spring will come!