A friend of mine invited me to a dinner and program being held at
I had only been into a prison twice before, and that was while serving as a missionary in the
The feeling intensified as my friend met me and we went into the bowels of the detention center, past small glass “rooms” where family members were visiting their children who’d been brought here, consequences for the choices they’d made in their short lives. A blond-haired boy looked up at me as we passed by; he must have only been about twelve years old. The same age as the kids I teach.
As the banquet was starting I looked around the decorated “gym.” My eyes met those with a boy I remembered…only he had been a lot younger the last time I’d seen him. He was now sixteen or seventeen years old, the last time I’d seen him was when he was a third grader. He walked up to me and smiled. I talked to this young man for a few minutes, and as I did I thought of the choices he’d made which brought him to this place in time. I wondered if there might have been something I could have said or done when I was his PE teacher which might have made a difference, something which might have changed the course of his life.
After a bit he moved away and I found myself alone with my thoughts. Across the room I saw another student who’d once gone to my school, and though this boy had never been in my class, he had walked the hallways with some of his peers which were.
Seeing these boys bothered me.
What also bothered me was what I heard on the news this morning about the third grade students who had plotted to stab their teacher. As I had driven to school this morning it was all I could think of.
It affected me a lot.
It was on my mind all day.
As I walked into my own classroom and looked out at the faces of the students before me I wondered about these kids. Would any of them ever end up making choices like those kids at
I don’t know.
As I left
It bothers me still.