Evey time I say that I'm through, they pull me back in.
I though that I was finished in dealing with the hood.
I thought that I had done and seen enough.
But every time I decide to leave - I meet someone in need, or someone making an effort, or some kids who are being lead in the more difficult direction.
Don't get me wrong,
I HATE the hood.
(Really, it's the hood mentality that I hate.)
I hate that most of the children are only being prepared for a life of bitterness and disappointment.
I hate that undereducated and under prepared adults can make a better living from getting a 51/50 check, welfare, Medicaid and housing assistance than they could by getting a job.
I hate that the institutions which were supposed to be put in place to end the underachievement are really more concerned with keeping their public and private funding.
I just hate the whole cycle of the hood.
After living the life and getting out - I though that I was qualified to help others out of a similar situation.
It worked for a group of people with whom I had grown up.
But in the end, the group became as oppressive and corrupt as those we were trying to replace.
After seeing the ill effects of power (well... really, just influence) without the proper preparation - I thought that I just needed a change of venue.
But this too has it's drawbacks.
The cycles of poverty and oppression are not universal.
In discovering that I first needed to learn a whole new culture (Not just ghetto - but "Country Ghetto".), I decided to learn a whole new culture.
I spent a year in real poverty in a city to with I was not accustomed.
Every cent that I earned was spent on someone other than myself.
Any money earned through trust funds, profit sharing or from work done was given to a needy family or individual.
I walked everywhere I needed to be, lived with no lights, gas, water or phone.
I only ate what was given to me by grateful recipients or else relied on the fruits and nuts from the trees in my back yard.
I relied on rainwater to flush toilets and bathe.
(Only a few people offered any type of assistance (which I declined until my mission of poverty was complete), and they are are the few people who can call on me at anytime.)
When people said not to judge some one unless you've walked in their shoes - I took the saying to heart.
When the Bible says that when compelled to walk a mile that we should go two - I took it literally.
Only after relearning the truths of poverty was I ready to deal with the problems of this town.
After having a Solomon-like sabbatical (In Ecclesiastes.), I was prepared.
But this thinking was also flawed.
I knew that most of the problems were psychological.
I knew that most people were choosing poverty as their way of life and passing this mentality on to their children.
I knew that most people were harming themselves more than any racism, class-ism or outside force ever could.
But I could not translate these facts to an unreceptive generation.
The victim mentality had been inculcated to deeply and for too long.
Again, I decided to shake the dust from my feet and walk away.
But how do we know who we effect or how?
Maybe the little seeds of wisdom, mercy and understanding haven't quite germinated yet.
Maybe there is some type of gestation period.
Maybe some kid will actually remember to properly conjugate a verb at the appropriate time in the future.
Maybe some kid will remember to practice manners, or compassion or good judgement when others in their peer group just walk away..
Maybe that which we thought was the least important thing will become the most important thing at the most important time.
Yeah I'm done with dealing with the hood.
But every time I walk away - they pull me back in.