Mentoring our Youth

I was fortunate to work at an at-risk neighborhood high school where you can see how great the need is for helping our children, especially minority males. There are other forces dominating their lives that were initially caused by many of the pitfalls in our society. The disparity between the rich and poor along with unequal and unfair racial practices have created dangerous cancers. Cancer destroys: Without the proper treatment it can spread and eventually kill the entire body.

Likewise if we do not address the needs of a particular segment of society that cancer will spread to other segments. Poverty is a cancer. Although it is usually contained within minority neighborhoods the affects could spread to the wealthy. Likewise illegal drugs were once thought to be a problem within poor communities. Now they have spilled over into the wealthy neighborhoods where we have a national opioid crisis.

Crime will inevitably spread to neighborhoods where the picking is more plentiful. Take home invasion robberies: Car chases go through every community wherever roadways travel. In essence we have several cancers that are spreading throughout society. If not checked they could destroy the nation.

What we do to the least of our people is what we do to ourselves. If we do not provide resources for the poor it creates an atmosphere conducive for all sorts of criminal activities. If we do not mentor the most vulnerable population they could turn into the criminals that plague us all. This is why mentoring our youth is so vitally necessary. Children are not born with the desire to participate in criminal activities. They are born with certain human needs and desires. When not met they find other ways to do so.

Look at the number of single parents among the poor raising children. Look at the numbers of young girls having babies with no resources. What do we think happens to these children? If there were no mentors to pick up the slack these minors will find ways to care for themselves. If not taught morals or codes of decency they resort to their basic human instincts, survival! With no moral guardrails they might use any means necessary to acquire what they don’t have.

Crime is good business. It populates the penal systems. Who are the predominant inmates in the system? Most of them are people of color. That is not a mere coincidence! There is a direct correlation between the poor, people of color and the penal system. The problems are well documented. We know the victims and the perpetrators. What we don’t have is a plan to reverse the cancers that has turned into a national human tragedy.

Intentionally holding people down by using discriminatory practices created much of our problems. Reversing the consequences of that tangled web of woe becomes surgically complicated, but you start by creating programs designed to tackle the root cause. Taking away funding for the poor; or for the public schools; or discriminating against certain people making it more difficult for them to support themselves: None of this helps the problem. On the contrary it makes the cancer grow even deeper.

This moral decline of our society will continue as such until we as a nation are willing to reverse the immoral practices that has brought our society to this very point in time.

Rather than building more prisons why not build more schools or invest in programs that will assist the most vulnerable… their children will either become more inmates or more successes. Children are products of the environments where they were raised… fix the environments and you fix the children. Keep things as they are and the decline will continue at an accelerating rate. Soon there would be no place for the rich to hide. The cancer would have spread so deeply that they entire body would be in jeopardy.

Mentoring is a start. For those who are willing and able, take a needy child in your care and teach them. The younger we mentor them the better chance we have of stirring their lives towards successful pathways. Most children just want to know that someone cares and are willing to spend time teaching how to navigate through the world they see in front of them. They are starving to learn but there are too few teachers available.

What are our elected officials doing about the situation? Rather than tending to the needs of the people they are trying to secure their lofty positions at the expense of the people. There is no urgency to help the poor or the needy because they already have their healthcare and their private schools and their fancy homes and all the conveniences of life. Let their children come down to the hood and live alongside the poor just one day and then see how urgent they will act. There is no fault in becoming wealthy and enjoying the American dream but until we are willing to address the needs of those who have the least … the problems of the poor will become the problems of the rich. Every crime needs a victim. The richer they are the more there is for the criminals to gain. “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these…”

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Matthew 25: 42-45