Saturday, 8 October 2011

Breaking the Cycle

I just spent a week working with a group of people who want to build a better future for themselves. All had difficult life stories. Many had spent time in prison. And, unusually for these courses, the majority were women.

I witnessed a lot of honesty and courage this week, a lot of wisdom and support, and an intense desire to bring up their own children to choose a different path.

Their stories reinforced my belief that the way the teenage years are handled are critical: it is so easy to create alienation when the support of adults is most needed but least likely to be ask for, our disapproval pushing teenagers into the very company we don't want them to keep.

The pain these women and their children have been through breaks my heart. But there is hope too: facing and moving on from their past may allow the women to break the cycle and not to pass their troubles on to the next generation.