,0,3151563.story ~~ This is a recent L.A. Times Editorial  -- and a QUICK MUST READ!  I'm tellin' y'all ~~ check out this link NOW and come back to this blog post when you're done.  Don't worry... I'll wait.  It's kinda like waiting to get relieved at work.  Smile.

Now... do you think I might be (over or under) qualified?  Obama would LOVE ME, I know.  And I'd be ready to give him a big warm Man Hug, too, because I WANT TO HELP HIM.  OK, I don't  have a Ph.D in anything, but I DO know a thing or two about people, and, maybe even kids,  and how to get the best out of them.  It's called CLEAR COMMUNICATION and JOINT ACCOUNTABILITY.  I'm not afraid to be told -- or tell -- much of anything as long as it rings authentic and REAL.  Real is something I can do, and know the kids usually respond well to it.  They're going to have to be told SOMEDAY that TYC isn't "like" prison, it IS prison.  They are young, yes, so can be called "youth" -- but don't forget the term "convicts" is just about as applicable, eh?

So, I want to be The Man With The Plan for the Feds -- got a problem with that?  WHY THE HELL NOT?  If I feel unappreciated/unfairly treated/endangered here, wouldn't it be nice not to have to deal with anyone but ADULTS (one would hope) who were sincerely dedicated to doing the hard work necessary to help reform these kids in a positive way?  I'M READY.  SIGN ME UP.

If I was the Big Boss of the Federal Joe Delinquent Prevention Agency and had a Big Meeting (grapevine is that one is scheduled this coming week) with ALL the Top Brass (supervisors) and Worker Drones (us)... I'd make whatever I had to say "short and sweet", then turn over the floor for people to come up front  and have 3 minutes to say what was on their minds, starting with the JCO I's and going up through the ranks.  A couple youth, selected by random from a pool of willing participants, could also be allowed to speak up.  WOW!!  What a concept!!  Betcha  a lot would get worked out so everyone knew their role in the Big Picture, and how to apply the Tao of Corrections on the job for best results.  We won't give anyone any answers; we'll give everyone better questions, OK?  

Instead of having a youth fill out a Thinking Report after undesireable behavior -- let ME do one on HIM.  I'd ask questions like:

Do you ever see your peers also doing this type of behavior?
What has happened when they did a similar thing?
What do you want, NOW?
What are you doing to get what you want?
Is it working?
Did it work last time?
What else can you do to get what you want and resolve this dichotomy?

WHAT??!  You DON'T KNOW what a DICHOTOMY is??  Well, look it up or not, sonny, but it's what the Real Wolrld is made of, and in a word, that is called "CHOICES"... sometimes under conditions perceived as polar extremes or opposites -- and we oftentimes gotsta make 'em on the fly.  Live with it.

So!   IF you learn ANYTHING here at TYC, learn to make good choices out of whatever options present themselves in all circumstances  -- the first time, every time if you can.  If you train yourself to do this -- with our help -- you will have the best chance of success outside the gatehouse, back in the Real World.  If not, look before you leap, my children:  The fire is NOT what you want, in OR out of here.  Trust me; I are a college graduate.

To mirror what conditions the kids can expect on the outside, we have to have OUR OWN expectations... not just those for incarcerated youth, but for people in general.  Most of us adults could probaly agree on the basics.  When it comes to the kids, we expect little, and get little, because we DON'T want to hurt their feelings, or have them be bored, or riot, or injure someone, not to have sports... but DO wink-and-nod at food brought in by supervisors and caseworkers, giving unearned privileges like TV/movies, entertainment, ETC all the way up to who-knows-what  etc etc... and so it's no real surprise the mess we're in, ya know?

My idea of a Dream Job is when I would go to work for the State I love to live in and do my best to help co-workers develop a common vision of effectively implementing an important mission for aiding people who need social care services.  EVERYONE would be a "stakeholder", a "shareholder", and a PARTNER to the next person... because we would be motivated to love our neighbors as ourselves, knowing that TOUGH LOVE is hard, but REAL and NECESSARY in some neighborhoods.  And that's OK.  If you've never had to give/take tough love, you're not particularly LUCKY.  Still wet behind the ears. more likely.  Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do, accept, and move on.  Even when it hurts.

TYC Giddings is not Mr. Roger's neighborhood.  We would do well to help provide the kids with life-enriching intangibles such as PRIDE, SELF-ESTEEM, COURTESY, and RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS instead of snow cones and such.  They won't appreciate them after they leave here, but if they learn to refer to us a Mister and Miss instead of #@!!*, well, shucks... that's a start, and EVERYONE WINS -- no harm in THAT!