Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Mothers in Prison and the Children Left Behind

May 10, 2009

by “Mecca Longwood”

Instructor’s note: This post was originally a presentation done by the author and his mother in class. They have chosen to publish it here under a pseduonym in order to protect the privacy of other family members mentioned. See the end of this post for an account of what happened in class after this honest and moving presentation.

One thing I learned growing up in my household is that women are more likely to be the primary provider for the child; so, when a mother goes to prison, that takes on a whole new meaning, different from fathers in prison. The visits alone could be a terrible experience. You get searched by adults you do not know inside a creepy building, and you have to talk to your mother through a glass on a phone.

I am the one to vouch that when your mom goes away it changes things that may be for the better, but at the time I didn’t see that. My brothers and I were separated in order to lighten the burden from my grandmother and my aunt, which made it harder to stay in touch with them. Things may have been different if mom was around, or maybe this is who I was destined to be from the start, but I have here the women who can give you the hands-on experience from being on the inside of the jail. My mother is here to tell how it can affect the mother as much as the child.

The day you were first arrested, did you think that would be the last time you would have with your children?
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How a Child Spells Love

December 6, 2008

By “Mac-N-Cheese”

Instructors Note: Don’t skip this very powerful piece by the “Mac-N-Cheese” writing group, who elected to structure this meditation on family as a dialogue, with each team member sharing his or her story and the whole group summing up with an important lesson rooted in real-life experiences.

“If I had my child to raise over again, I’d build self-esteem first and the house later. I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes. I would care to know less and know to care more. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging. I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often. I would be firm less often and affirm much more. I’d model less about the love of power and more about the power of love.”
Diane Loomans
How a Child Spells Love

LW: As a young black male, I found that having your parents around as you grow up is a big part of how you will become when you get older. I grew up with both of my parents around me, but my dad was always working. As I got older my dad started to talk with me and my brother more, to whereas now we have a better relationship. Most kids nowadays don’t ever get to obtain what I have. Their mom or dad could be in jail or dead. (more…)