26
Apr
16

doormat

DoormatHero.

My friend Paul Gingerich has called me a “doormat” as far as some of our kids are concerned. He’s said that some of our kids have taken advantage of my generosity. Well, yeah. One of our kids once wrote something to Lone Heron which she found sexually offensive and she has never forgotten it. Another of our kids has repeatedly published posts on Facebook that could hurt his cause if his posts ever came under scrutiny. For the “average” parricide, the road to Redemption involves trial-and-error, many false starts, and a process that is anything but simple and direct. Sometimes it is even hurtful. Redemption is a messy process.

If Paul Gingerich were a jerk (which he is not), if his son were not a good kid but a troubled soul (which he is not), I think Paul would eventually appreciate that the doormat was willing to become muddy—shitty even—in the cause of wresting a productive life for his boy.

I am not proud. I have nothing to prove by adopting an inflexible stance. If someone needs a dozen “second chances,” I am willing to embrace their imperfection. It seems to me that this is the real test of love.

Now I am not willing to adopt this flexibility for everyone. If I encounter a non-parricide adult who lies or steals, I’ll cut them off immediately. No second chances. They’ve had their opportunity to demonstrate and shape their character and blew it. “Mitigating circumstances”? Ha! Their history doesn’t matter to me. Even if this seems unfair, I am unwilling to tolerate someone who is set on hurting me or others.

But a kid who is raised in an abusive home; who is saddled with negligent, selfish, hurtful parents; who has never learned anything but feral survival—I will never give up.

.

۞

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5 Responses to “doormat”


  1. April 26, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    GO DANNY GO !!!! I am so proud of you and your dedication to help these young people.
    Many many Blessings to you and your Compassion. its the BEST !

  2. 2 matt
    April 26, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I don’t know your experiences with these kids, Dan, but I do know you to be a far kinder and more compassionate person than I. When I worked with foster kids, I found many to be intentionally rude in an effort to keep adults at a distance; some of these kids act the same way, and only someone with your patience and caring nature stands a chance of reaching them. Keep up the great work, Dan, I admire you greatly!

  3. 3 Willow54
    April 27, 2016 at 4:26 am

    If all these kids have known is abuse, neglect or hurt from adults that surround them, it is little wonder they have trust issues, and putting myself in their shoes for a moment, this “strange” (in the figurative sense) guy rocks up and tells them he is going to try and do his best to help them put their lives back together after all this crap they have experienced, I think I would give him a hard time at first, at least until he had proved he wasn’t at least as bad, or worse, than every other adult I had the misfortune to be around in the past.

    Of course, there are going to be some who are ultimately beyond help, but the vast majority will probably be capable of turning their lives around with your support, so all you can do is just keep at it, and fend off all the negativity that is inevitable in these circumstances. I must admit, I was surprised at the comments you shared from Paul Henry’s dad. You’ve already done so much to keep the Lundy/Gingerich case in the spotlight. In his position any publicity that might help his son’s situation is surely an “advantage” that is begging to be taken?

    • April 27, 2016 at 4:38 am

      One of the things I admire about Paul Henry’s dad is that he doesn’t try to make excuses for his son’s behavior. He is a believer (as am I) of kids accepting personal responsibility for what they have done. But the actions of a 12-year-old must be held to a different standard than the actions of an adult. The transgressions of a child are no excuse for the state to ruin that child’s whole life by the imposition of a too-severe sentence.

      • 5 Willow54
        April 27, 2016 at 8:53 am

        Yeah I get that. I’m a firm believer that everyone must be held accountable for their actions no matter what age they are, but I agree, children have to be treated with the presumption that rehabilitation and re-entry to common society are the key goals to be served thru their involvement with the criminal justice system. I do, however, fear that the system in the US is not necessarily geared towards that goal. It appears to be more punitive and skewed in favour of retribution. That is something the people are going to have to persuade the politicians to change


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