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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Life Skills Education?

Teaching someone life skills is difficult when they do not intend to be alive long enough to use their new found skills. Why learn something that you will not need? I thought that was a good question, and it was asked recently by a young man that was involved in a program to help him improve his life situation. What would be your next question for him if you were the one working with him? How do we create a desire in our youth to live past their twenty five year birthday? What can we present to them about life that makes them want to explore options past the on-going back-and-forth killing? How does a "character counts" class matter when last night they saw there childhood friend gunned down right in front of their homes?

Not too long ago, I traveled to a neighborhood plagued by violence. I saw young children playing carelessly in front of homes riddled with bullet holes. Blood stained sidewalks serve as the back drop for hop-scotch games and broken glass liter the street where cars once served as targets. The adults in the neighborhood, weary of strangers, did not dare to venture outside. Welcome to Los Angeles. The city of the Angels has become the city where the Angels weep. Death is served up daily in the street justice court room. There is no jury, no investigation, no answers, and everyone from the rival neighborhood is guilty regardless of the circumstances. A ticking time bomb of frustration, fear, and survival. A place where sides are identified by a five and dime colored piece of cloth and an attitude. hopelessness, despair, and numbness to tragedy is the normalcy of life in these neighborhoods. How do we create change in such a place?

I took a moment to think about the little ones playing in the street. If this is the only life they know, how will this violent cycle ever stop? How will they learn that life does not have to be this way? How will they know that there are people out there that really care and want the best for them? I wanted to hug each child and tell them that it will be OK, but that would be a lie. At the present time they are destined for a life of pain and suffering. A life full of sorrow. A life of mis-trust and hate only amplified by the current efforts to reduce such violence. We must learn a different way. We must find a way to change the hearts of men, and create a desire to live. So, I ask you again, what would your next question be to that young man who sees the truth much clearer than most of us?

1 Comment:

fatnlazy said...

What would be my next question to that kid?
"what happens on your 26th birthday?"
One day you will come across one kid who wants to make a differnce.
it took one person to get prayer out of our schools, one person to start the bloods, and one person who had a dream that man could fly.
Keep pressing in until you find that one person.

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