I'm Eighteen

A co-worker's step-son is troubling, to say the least. He's 18 years old, has a "maybe" baby (the family isn't convinced 100% that he's the father) and has been kicked out of his home and his grandmother's home. By all accounts he seems to be rolling head first down the path of a life spent in and out of jail, or worse. He dropped out of school and has been involved in some very questionable activity and was shot through the neck about two weeks ago. His story of that action is unclear. Now, the mom and step-dad find out that he's in the county jail, but they don't know why. It doesn't sound very positive for him, does it?

Yesterday, this hard-nosed step-dad was struggling over whether or not to put a few dollars in the young man's account. Now, I don't know how it is where you are, but here in Michigan you are not given much of anything for free in jail. You have an account and purchase your own soap, tooth brush and toothpaste, etc. If you don't have the money, you pretty much go without or are given a very low, low grade of toiletries that I hear is probably like lye. Either way, you don't get much and if you want anything at all, you have to have a way to pay for it. Additionally, each day you are locked up you are charged a fee, like a motel. When you leave, you have so many days to pay for your visit, or you are in probation violation for which you may be picked up again and locked up. In better times, many men could return to a job or had the means to pay for things, but not in this economy.

Anyway, M was in the office talking about whether or not to put a few bucks in P's account and I was happy to hear a softer, more compassionate side of him. Two other mother's in the office ranted very loudly, "don't do it! Let him go without! Maybe he'll learn a thing or two......." and on and on it went. Somewhere in my mind I kept hearing "stone him, stone him". I've heard comments made that he is "hopeless." These are the moments where I would like to say "Shut the heck up!"

At 18 years old, they call him a "MAN". Most of us know that at 18 a young person is hardly a man or a woman. They are just warming up. Some choose constant choices that are unhealthy, unlawful, or unbelievable. We don't know the history of anyone's life but our own and those closest to us. I'm not advocating that we coddle, ignore or excuse the behavior. But the older I get the more I want to say that NO ONE is hopeless or worthless. These men and women were created for a reason, just as we were. If their choices have been less than wise, they have to learn life's lessons the hard way. Some will stay in this path for the rest of their lives while others will have slow awakenings and become mature in an uncoventional way. But there is ALWAYS hope.

I just don't believe in giving up on another human being, especially at the ripe old age of 18.