So often no matter how much we don’t want to, we become our parents. We make the same decisions, talk the same way, believe the same way, etc. Why? Well, our parents are the strongest influences in our lives for many years.
Example: My mother had a midlife crisis when she was 35. She lost a tremendous amount of weight, started drinking, and left my father after 21 years of marriage. Being a teenager, I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on, and I said to myself several times that I did not want to be like my mother. Ten years later, my counselor says to me, “You’ve turned into your mother and married your father.” I had followed some of the same patterns as my mother. I was a “supermom” and perfect wife for about seven years. Then one day I wanted a change. I left my husband, started drinking (no, I had already lost weight after my second child). Looking back, I can analyze the situation and I realize that my midlife crisis just hit me a little earlier. I had indeed followed in my mother’s footsteps despite my efforts not to.
What helped me? Talking about it was a terrific help. My counselor made me realize and correct the mistakes that I did not have to make by simply pointing them out. I realized that my husband was not to blame for everything. Another thing that helped was asking in other influences. My aunt is a Christian woman who is very good to talk to about situations, and she helped me through the complications I was having.
As you can see, I’ve experienced first hand the help of a mentor. Although the situation may be different from that of a prisoner (remember most prisoners are just regular people who make bad decisions), I was influenced by a bad decision as well. Children are so often left to figure things out for themselves. By providing a mentor to a child of a prisoner, we could help them figure out their feelings and prevent them from making bad decisions.
A mentor can sit with a child and go through the emotions caused from being separated from their parent. This will help them understand their feelings, which is important in dealing with emotions. A mentor can also provide a positive influence on a child’s life. Often people do not realize that just by being a good example, they influence children. In children’s minds, they decide that they want to mimic someone, and that creates an influence. To be a positive role model, the child may decide to mimic the mentor, and become a functioning adult rather than a criminal.