Oct 18, 2008

The Real World - Part Two

Edited to add: I really didn't MEAN to frustrate y'all and leave you hanging with the last post. It was pretty long as it was, and I was struggling with the subject matter. There is probably going to be a Part Three. Just warnin' ya. The story is long... * Begging your forgiveness. *

"Ma'am, I'm a convicted felon. Would you hire me?"

And I said, "Perhaps. Let's talk about that. First and foremost, I'd want to know you have the training, experience, expertise, skill set and/or knowledge needed for the job I'm offering. I'd want to see your employment history and whether or not you've been a "job hopper." Then there would be other things to consider like your credit history if you're going to be handling money for my company."

From the peanut gallery: "What does somebody's credit history have to do with it?"

"Well, let's say the position requires making the daily bank deposit, and I discover from your credit history that you are deeply in debt and are about to lose your home, your car, and other assets. Wouldn't you be a higher risk for stealing from me than another applicant who is current on their bills and is perhaps debt free?"

Heads nodded. One boy said, "I never would have thought of that."

"And back to your original question... 'would I hire a convicted felon.' I'd want to see that there is some time and distance from your crime and evidence that you've turned your life around or are at least trying. We all make mistakes, but we all have an opportunity to learn from those mistakes and make better choices in the future. If there is evidence of good and wise choices being made by you, I'm more inclined to consider you for a position. However, if your felony involved theft, I'd have to think twice before hiring you to handle money. If your felony was a sex crime, I couldn't hire you to work in a day care center where children are present. If your crime was drug related, I'd have to really consider the wisdom in hiring you as a pharmacy tech. Look, recovering alcoholics shouldn't hang out in bars. Recovering thiefs shouldn't be tempted with handling someone else's cash. Recovering drug addicts/dealers shouldn't be around drugs. Common sense, people. Common sense."

Interesting aside: juvenile criminal records are sealed, and I wouldn't be able to discover if one existed. That isn't the point of the discussion. These kids are in the middle of a detour from criminal behavior and need hope. They need to think about making better choices and learn that as a life skill.

The young man who had asked the question said, "So you'd be willing to hire me - a convicted felon - if my crime wasn't related to the type of work and if I could prove I had my life together? That's what you're saying?"

"Yes, that's what I'm saying."

Stunned silence hung over the room. These boys have been told their entire lives they'll never amount to anything, they're destined to be in and out of prison for the rest of their lives, and the world will be against them. They'd just heard they have a chance. Having gotten their attention, I knew the time was right to dive into the deep subjects. Yes, there are deeper subjects, some of which I won't write about here.

Ryan, a 14-year-old blue-eyed blonde, raised his hand. "Miss, I have an anger problem. I don't think I'll be able to keep a job. I'll probably get fired for blowing up at someone." As a group we talked about anger and its perils. We discussed God's awareness of our anger since He created us. We talked about Jesus' anger at the money changers in His Father's house. We talked about how difficult it is to avoid anger when someone is unfair or acts against us. We talked about how we behave when we're angry. And we talked about Ephesians 4, and specifically verse 26.

"Do not sin in your anger. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry."

Ryan raised his hand again. "My dad is real angry. He's got a bad temper. He... well, he... he does things that aren't good."

"And that makes YOU angry, doesn't it?" I asked. He nodded.

And then he said, "Miss, is it wrong to 'not like' someone you're supposed to love?"

I knew at that moment there was a deep, deep struggle going on inside this young man.

Part Three coming soon. I'm going to get a Kleenex now as I think about Ryan...


Sheryl said...

"Is it wrong to not like someone you're supposed to love?" Oh breaks my heart. It's also something I have heard in my own home these past several months. I will say it again, these kids are SO blessed to have you.


Anonymous said...

No question...GOD is leading YOU & STUDLY in HIS work with these kids. I am proud of you both and I can FEEL GOD smiling down on you both.

Keep at it, sweetie, as long as HE leads you in THAT work for HIM.

I love you,

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Jenn, I hope you didn't lose sleep over our comments. I know for me, I wasn't frustrated with you. I jokingly made my comments to show/say thta you had my attention and I look forward to the rest.

Kind of like when the pastor showed a clip of "Get Smart" in church today to make a point. I hadn't heard of the movie but saw that Steve Carell was in it and it looked funny from the piece. Well, I set out to go rent it for a Sunday afternoon funny. Well, wouldn't ya know, it's a newer movie and won't be out until December. Dog gone it.

I just bought kleenex today for work, think I should open them for part three?

DidiLyn said...

To be honest, your Dad's comments always make me tear up. YOU ARE BLESSED.
I can't wait to hear more about Ryan.