The Bus Stop
There once was a young man who arose every morning intent on going somewhere that day. Yet he never began his morning at the designated hour. Sleep was always too good. Thus he always found a reason to lay in bed another hour or two. He needed his rest was the rational and therefore it didn’t bother him. Usually around 10:00 AM, or so, he would make his way to the bus stop which was a couple of blocks from his mom’s apartment. On his way, he always looked at the many cars that passed him and he coveted having one. “One day,” he would say to himself. Once at the bus stop he would sit and watch and wait. But, he wasn’t sure what it was he was watching or waiting for. He just knew that he wanted something different, something better.
As the different buses made their stops he always found a reason to talk himself out of boarding them. Some of his excuses where, “they don’t like my kind in that part of town,” “that part of town is boring,” “that’s too far away,” etc. Finally as rush hour began, sounding the end of the workday, he would stand up, stretch, tell himself that tomorrow would be different, tomorrow he will board one of those buses. Tomorrow he would go somewhere with his life. He conveniently ignored that he had been saying these very same words to himself for years. With those familiar thoughts, homeward he went, again.
Unfortunately, for many of the young men I have worked with, my fictional story is their reality. The vast majority of them have been raised in environments devoid of order or structure. Most of my young men come from broken homes with no father figure or a dysfunctional one at best. Thus they have lack that primary influence. That hand of guidance that offers protection, love and self-esteem.
Most of my young men covet what they don’t have especially when it is something with status appeal. They lack the understanding of their present predicament and of where they will need to be socio-economically in order to obtain their desired possessions. For them life and planning are not related.
They will desire change in their life but they lack the imagination, understanding, desire or dreams to be able to formulate any sort of cohesive plan. At best they only see the immediate future. They have no backup plan. Even if they do, few will even attempt to carry it out. Usually the first minor setback is their cue to quit in their efforts and blame someone else.
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of their personality, is that they have succumbed to a life of excuses. Their cultural impact has been, for the most part, negative. Complaints, gossip, and idle chatter makes up the majority of their conversations. From a very young age they learned to deflect accountability with excuses.
However, despite the gloominess of their situation there is hope. This is the job of the parent and the mentor. They must help them find their way. Even if it means that on some days we have to care more about their future than they do. The means of teaching must be direct and based on sound morals.