Today I wrote a difficult letter.
A former student is incarcerated for the second or third time. A parent put his mailing address at the institution online. I knew I had to write to him.
What do I hope to accomplish by this, my husband asked me. It was a fair question.
It's really improbable that he will get my letter and go, "Oh, wait, this person who hasn't known me for nine years believes in me so I will for sure go turn my life around right this second! I will rescue companion animals and work in soup kitchens and apply myself to my studies so as to gain a merit based scholarship next year!"
Then obviously he would become an award winning documentarian and dedicate his Oscar to me because I was such an inspiration and my two paragraphs turned his life around single-handedly.
What I hope is that he remembers a time in his life that was less painful. I hope that he will know he isn't forgotten, that people care for him and wish for things to be easier, for him to have courage and find a better way.
"I don't know you now." I wrote. "I don't know what you have done or what has been done to you. It doesn't matter. I wish the best for you, for healing and courage and better days."
That's what I hope to accomplish. To let him know that there are adults on his side. That it isn't his thug friends versus his parents and the cops.
I hope that boy I knew isn't gone. That's what I hope.