What struck me was the willingness of the inmate participants to share with the facilitator their thoughts on relationships. The tenants of the class being taught covered the healthy steps to a healthy relationship. The participants opened up about their upbringing and their current relationships.
I was also struck by the compassion of the Deputy Warden, Social worker and staff who really had a desire to see these men succeed. They were very thankful for what thinkmarriage.org was providing…basic communication and conflict resolution skills.
It was an eye opening experience, one that I won’t forget. I’ll also remember the looks on the faces of the general population of the prison. Some of these men can be confined for up to a year in this specific facility. I wondered about each of their stories, what led them there, what they had seen and been exposed to as they went through their formative years. I thought about how their lives might have been different if they had seen healthy relationships and marriages modeled along the way, and if they had started taking classes about healthy relationships in their pre-teen years. I wondered if it would have meant less people incarcerated and more empty beds.
We know from social science research that most of society’s ills fall at the doorstep of the breakdown of the family. That’s why it’s so important that healthy relationship and marriage education be given the chance to become a part of every person’s knowledge base. It truly is a way to change the world.