A lot of criminals are masterminds full of ignorant choices and wasted brilliance. Imagine all that brain-power in one building; one institution of ambitious mindsets that gravitated to do wrong. After eight years in education, what I've learned is that the institution of education has not built enough capacity in understanding and reaching out to the identity of it's community. Granted, we simply "can't save them all", but what CAN we do to positively impact the "criminal minds" of today?
As an administrator, I am constantly encountering students that talk about one common theme: we [those in education] don't understand them. As I dig deeper into what they mean, it becomes crystal clear to me that many students don't feel as though their identity is recognized in education. This is a feeling that the identity of their family, their community, and their circumstances are not valued or understood by the people they spend almost two hundred days a year, five days a week, and seven to eight hours a day with. Think of it this way: What would it feel like going home to a stranger every day? How would it feel to go home and not believe that anyone in your household loved or cared about you? When I think about those potentially brilliant minds that fall through the cracks, it reminds me of why I do what I do and why I've formulated my ideology of what being a woman and a man means in society.
It's no secret in my family that we have individuals that have served time in prison for various reasons. A few of my family members, I won't name names, could be some of the most brilliant criminals I know. Everything from making and distributing drugs, to orchestrating thefts, to stealing identities- they've done it. It's a sad but true thing to admit. I've had many conversations with all of them, and the one aspect of their character that sticks out to me the most is that they have some of the most driven go-getter attitudes I've ever seen. It's disappointing they never learned enough to influence them to make the right choices; never found enough reasons to buy-in to the system of education to become something; never earned anything to show for in their scheming; never found enough purpose and inspiration to understand that if they put as much effort into living right- into finding something meaningful to focus on in life- they would never have been anyone else's captive.
You become your own recruiter of salvery when you manipulate the structure of your life by falling into a "sucker" mentality of living. Fools hussle for stagnant gain. The percentage of criminals that fail at schemes supersedes the few that die successful criminals. Why self-employ yourself to be a puppet to the "chase" of being "caught-up in that life" every day? Why look over your shoulder when you could be running harder towards authentic opportunities to control positions? Positions that give you real clout to impact your life and influence others? Talk money with a petty criminal and it sounds like pocket change and it looks like struggle; talk money with a successful person in any LEGAL profession and it sounds like power and it looks like control.
If you decide to make your living in "Crook-lands", there is one guarantee: you've already failed at freedom. This is something the crook on the "corner", in the "lab", and even those hiding behind the titles of CEO should know: dirty money doesn't give you freedom. It's dirty for a reason. Dirt leaves a trail; a sludge of events that can be connected with a rope or chain. Never bond yourself to this lifestyle.
Education has to be a real opportunity at escaping "Crook-land". It is the first opportunity that any of us have to succeed. How can we better our future without an educational system that seeks to build the capacity of the external and internal relationships of stakeholders? I'm not by any means pointing the finger at either side. I play for both teams, but my boss- the one that controls my decision making- is students. We cannot afford to continue to leave kids in "Crook- land".
Teach your child, your sister, your brother, your nephew, your niece, your student- how to find value in LIVING a purposeful life. Expose them to knowledge and experiences that take them out of the "gutter" mindset. Anyone can fall victim to "Crook-land" without a positive purpose to LIVE a better way.
Let's grow each other.