No. 208

The next password is fred



One of the greatest tragedies in our society, at least for me, is when a man or woman is convicted of a crime and sent to prison. Unfortunately, it is necessary and even vital that thousands and thousands of our citizens are locked up for the common good. Ive always believed that if we took 5% of the right people off the streets, we would have a much safer society. Im sure you know there are many people who are in that should be out and thousands more that are out and should be in. The tragedy is what a prison inmate could have been, and the loss of their potential contribution to humanity, if they had not gone down the wrong road that led to a prison sentence.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I want to share something with you that could make a difference for a few people who even now may be headed down the wrong road. As you look back over your own life, have you ever thought about why you do many of the things you do? In your heart, if you believe you have made the right choices most of the time, then what Im going to say may not be that important for you.

On the other hand, if there are signs all around you that point to potential trouble with the law for yourself, your children, grandchildren or other loved ones, then you may want to seriously consider this true story a reader sent to me. A few years ago, a minister went into a Texas State Prison to hold a series a meetings with the inmates and he took along a friend to give his testimony about his life and why he had become a success. This friend, it turns out, was a famous major league baseball player and as he spoke to the inmates he told them of the great influence his daddy had been in his life.

He said when he was young, his daddy constantly worked with him and often told him son, someday youll be famous. Youll be a major league baseball player. And his fathers prophecy came true; he not only became a great player, but one of the greatest of all time. As he was concluding his talk he said, you know, as I look back, I realize now more and more the reason for my success is that I wanted to please my daddy and to justify all the confidence he had in me. In a very real sense I did it for him.

Then he went on to talk about the fact that if our earthly father cares for us, our Heavenly Father cares for us so much more. In fact, He cared for us so much that he sent His Son to die for us. As he finished, a very large man (one of the inmates) stood up and said, May I say something? and they handed him the microphone. He said, When I was growing up in the ghetto in Chicago, my daddy told me, Johnny, youre no good. Johnny, youre going to drop out of school. Johnny, you are going to get in trouble. Johnny, youre going to kill someone, and you know, my daddy was right. I killed two people. I pleased my daddy, too!! He was now serving time in prison for the crimes he had committed.

To me this is a very touching story and it contains some valuable information that can help many people. More often than not, our lives are self-fulfilling prophesies. What we see, what we believe, what we feel, that is acted out in that big picture show in our minds, all too often becomes a reality.

How many times do you suppose that people have gotten into trouble because the person(s) they idolized led them down the wrong road? Its been said that every life is an example. This is why we need more good role models in our society today. Parents need to be good role models, as well as ministers, teachers, business and civic leaders, elected officials and all of us who want the best for our children. What we do will have more impact than what we say. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)

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