I regularly speak at Juvenile Hall to young people like you. You may have already heard me speak but I seldom have the opportunity to get to know you personally. That’s why I am writing this letter.
I speak at The Hall because I believe that each one of you is better than Juvenile Hall. I know you have more potential. I see many young people destroying their lives. It’s exciting to be young and to be with your friends, but the excitement of youth is getting you into trouble. Young people seem to think that using drugs and alcohol is what you do when you’re young. But these things are causing you the most trouble. Drugs and Alcohol cause you to do things you would never choose to do on your own, and many of you have dome dumb things. Some of you have hurt innocent people, but mostly you have hurt yourself. I know that most of you never intended to do the bad things you did and that if you could live your life over you would not do them. When I talk to the new kids in Juvenile Hall they tell me that they never expected to get caught! Actually most of them never gave much thought to the consequences of their actions.
I hope to share some ideas and thoughts that may change how you feel about yourself and your life, hopefully help you make some choices that will make your life better.
First: Life is hard for everyone, no one gets life easy. It may not seem that way, but I am a grandmother and I have lived long enough to know that every person gets their share of good and bad. Of course, no one likes the bad things that happen to them but I believe the bad things happenfor a reason. The reason is to teach us lessons about life to help us reach our potential.
For instance, my childhood was terrible. My father was an alcoholic who died at the age of 57 as a result of drinking. My father’s alcoholism destroyed his life and our family My life was hard, but I have learned the lessons I was taught. What did I learn? I learned alcohol is a destroyer, so I should not drink it. I learned what a bad parent was so I could be a good parent. I learned that my experience with my dad was a training period for me to discover my mission in life. My mission is to help people like you? You have a mission too!
Second. At Juvenile Hall I ask the kids if they believe in a higher power, and most of them tell me that they do. You see, I believe in a higher power too. I believe that you are a Child of God and that God loves you! But, when I was young I remember thinking there was no God, because if there was He would never have allowed me to have the childhood I had. I now know that My Father in Heaven was always there to comfort me and guide me. All I needed to do was ask Him. I know that He cares about us and He wants us to be good. Also, knowing that I have a Father in Heaven has made up for not having the kind of earthly father I would chosen. Knowing your Father in Heaven will help you too!
Third: I believe, because you are a Child of God, you were born with gifts, intelligence, talents, abilities and potential. You have a life purpose and a life mission. You have the potential to be great. You don’t need to envy anyone else’s gifts because you have the ones you were supposed to have. You have the gifts and abilities you need to become who you were meant to be.
For instance, we can’t all be doctors because the world wouldn’t work if we were all the same. You have a special purpose and mission in your life, and your job is important. You must educate yourself and try things and work hard until you discover your purpose and mission. You may not know your purpose or have discovered all of your gifts and talents yet, but if you give yourself time you will discover that you have many wonderful possibilities. By the way, your purpose and mission is a good purpose, never a bad purpose. You may have discovered, by now, that wickedness doesn’t lead to happiness. Doing bad things stunts your growth and hurts you!
Fourth. I believe there is an evil force in life that knows your potential and wants to stop you from reaching it and wants to destroy you, and that it’s greatest tools are drugs and alcohol. It knows that if it can get you addicted to these things, it will have control over you and can then pull you right down to hell. We all know people who are living in hell, right here on earth with their addictions. You see, we have been lied to. It is not cool to use drugs and alcohol even though the alcohol industry spends $2.6 billion every year in advertising to try to get you to use alcohol. Do these people want us to drink so our lives will be better? No, they only do it for the money! People who want you to use drugs don’t care about you either. They only care about the money! We must be smarter than that!
I guarantee that if you choose not to use drugs or alcohol you will have a better life. I have a better life because I made that choice. I have been married to the same man for 45 years. I’ve raised three good children who are now grown and do not use drugs or alcohol. I have nine grandchildren. We are a close, loving and happy family. I have a better life than my dad because of my choice not to drink or use drugs.
Fifth. It is important for you to know that parents are not perfect; they make mistakes too. I understand that now, because I am a parent. I always wished I could have had different parents, but I now realize that my parents probably did the best they could under their own set of circumstances. They had never been parents before and they made mistakes just like we do, but in most cases they love us. They also had their own set of problems in life to deal with.
Even my dad had reasons for his alcoholism. His father was also an alcoholic who beat him terribly. It took me a long time to realize that it is our job to just love our parents, pray for them, try to be good and obey them in righteousness and do what we can to help them.
If our parents give themselves over to drugs and alcohol, remember what you see is not really them, it is the evil that has taken them over. Love them for who they really are and pray for them, but never get caught up in doing what they do, because alcohol and drugs will destroy you too. If our parents have problems, we should try to be good ourselves, and maybe one day our example will help them. We may be the one who will save our family from abuse, by our example. We can at least help our brothers and sister have better lives. I have seen my example make a great difference to many of my family members. Just remember that your parents have probably done the best they know how and you probably got the parents you were supposed to have.
Sixth. We must learn to forgive and forget. The reason we must do this is because anger, resentment and hostility hurts us more than it hurts anyone else. I spent many years being angry at my parents but I now realize that until I was able to forgive them I was stopping myself from growing and becoming all I could be.
We can blame our parents for the life we get but the reality is that we get the lives we choose for ourselves, not matter what kind of parents we have. We must be careful of our attitudes. Anger and resentment hurt you the most. Anger makes you do things you would never normally do. Be aware also that alcohol and drugs have a way of bringing anger out in us.
Rather than being angry we need to find ways to spend our time and thoughts on positive things. We need to learn to love ourselves and improve ourselves and become the best we can possibly be, When we have positive thoughts, it is easier to get rid of the anger. Also if we spend our time loving others, doing kind things and trying to make the world a better place, we won’t have time for anger.
Seventh. We each have the potential to make a great contribution to the world with our love. “God is love.”
The greatest gift you can have is to learn to love yourself and others. Love in your heart gives you great power. Your love can be the means to change your family. I had to learn love because it was never taught or shown to me, but I have since realized the power of love. I first learned to give myself the love I never received. I then gave that love to my sister and brother and finally learned to love my mother. I’m afraid I learned it too late to give it to my dad because I was only 21 when he died. But now in my heart, I love my dad. I believe because I was able to discover the power of love I was able to break the cycle of abuse in our family. I learned how to endure the abuse and not pass it on and because of my love for my family, we are all close and loving. When I was a child, no one ever told me they loved me. Today my nine grandchildren tell me the love me all the time.
Eighth. What can you learn while you are in Juvenile Hall?
1. You are in Juvenile Hall for a reason. First, of course, to pay for what wrong you have done. We must all pay for the wrong we do. The positive part of this is that mistakes are okay if you learn from them. Second, Juvenile proved the time you need to change your life.Some of your friends out on the street may never get that change cause many of them are carrying guns and they might never make it to Juvenile Hall. They may be dead first. You now have the time to look at your life and ask yourself where you are going with your life. When my son was a teenager he got into drugs and alcohol. One day, Someone talked to him like I am talking to you now. My son was able to stop doing the things which were destroying him. He now has a wonderful life.
2. You can learn discipline. When I talk to kids in Juvenile Hall and ask them “what’s good about being in Juvenile Hall?’ some say “So we can learn discipline!” Even they know! Many of you have good parents who love you and your rebellion is hurting them and they don’t deserve it. Your rebellion is also hurting you! Many of you have a problem with being obedient and your problem has gotten you into a lot of trouble. You must learn to obey the law! If you haven’t learned discipline yet, you will learn it! You will be forced to learn it from a judge or from the guards in prison. Why not learn it now while you still have a chance at your freedom? Many of the kids in the Hall have not learned this lesson and have come back to Juvenile Hall five and six times. Many of them never learn the lesson and go right to prison. They have not yet discovered that when they go home, nothing will change. You go back to the same family, to the same friends, to the same circumstances. The only thing that must change, so that you will never return to Juvenile Hall is YOU! Discipline means obeying your parents and obeying the law!
3. In Juvenile Hall you can make commitments to change your life. My greatest rewared for talking to you would be to have each one of you make a commitment to yourself and to God that you will never use drugs or alcohol again in your life. You see, using drugs and alcohol is cheating yourself from naturally using the mental power you were born with. When you use drugs and alcohol you never get the chance to develop your own skills of growth. People who use drugs depend on a substance to do the things they can naturally learn to do themselves. Things like: overcoming shyness, gaining confidence, making friends, having fun, feeling good and handling your problems. How do I know this? Because when I was young I too got caught up in the drinking scene. I need friends because of my messed up family so I drank to belong. But I am so grateful that I eventually learned, from my father’s death, to not drink. To make that choice, you have to change your friends, your habits and your attitudes but, in the end, you will be the winner. I am!
4. You have the time to get close to your Father in Heaven and ask him to help you discover your gifts, talents, potential. Your life purpose and life mission. You can make goals to help you reach that potential. I believe you can be anything you want to be if you want it badly enough Muggsy Bogues wanted to be a professional basketball player but he had many obstacles. He was raised in the ghetto. His father was in prison for armed robber and he was only give feet three inces. But he made commitments and goals and believed in himself and has now played profession basketball for years. He wrote a great book called “Playing with Giants.” Read it, if you can. Muggsy is a wonderful example and inspiration to prove you can be anything you want to be if you want if badly enough.
Above all, I want you to know that there are people in the world who do care about you and that I care about you. Not all people are bad. There are many good people in the world. You just have to look around to find them You may discover that the good people in your life are the ones who love you the most, your own families. Those of you who have families like I had have great challenges. You have to become the good person and help the other be good people and then create a good family of your own, like I did.
Remember, you are all better than Juvenile Hall; Life is hard for everyone, but look for the good, You have a Father in Heaven who loves you, who blessed you with gifts, intelligence, talents, potential, a life purpose and mission.
Be careful of the evil force in life trying to destroy you especially with it’s tools of drugs and alcohol. Watch your attitude, Love your parents, forgive and forget, Learn to love yourself and others. Make your time in Juvenile Hall an opportunity to change your life for the better. Obey your parents and the law. Do some good in the world!
God bless you, and I hope one day I will hear from you that you have become the extra special person you were born to be.
Love Eva Fry
Source by Eva Fry