Who’s Your One?

The poem “God Knows,” written by Minnie Louise Haskins, is more popularly known by the name “The Gate of the Year.”  Published originally in 1908, it gained public attention in 1939 when King George VI read it in his 1939 Christmas Broadcast to the British Empire.  At the time, Britain was in a war that they did not know if they would win.  This made King George’s use of it incredibly powerful.  The poem opens with these lines:

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ 
And he replied:

‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'”

Larry Crabb may have been referencing this poem or simply offering his own perspective on our nature of trusting when he said, and I am loosely paraphrasing here; “do you want the flashlight or are you willing to hold the hand of the one who can see in the dark?”  The reality for me is that often, I just want the flashlight.  Walking in the dark can make you feel uncertain.  At the least, it creates doubt as we question ourselves.  Am I going the right way?  Am I really able to do this?  What if I fail?

Doubt leads to fear.  Fear leads to us questioning why we started in the first place.  Our resolve weakens and the fear of failure, new circumstances, and the unknown often leads us to paralysis. It requires courage to step forward into what we think might be impossible.

Sometimes in setting goals, it is easy to forget that the first part of achieving a goal is simply showing up!  Triumphing over fear takes an initial step of boldness.  It is far easier to be courageous, when we know what is in front of us. But bravery is best seen when, despite our fear, we still step forward.

Here at the PAYH, we face these same questions of self-doubt as we invest our lives in these young men.  On the surface, it seems harder to reach this generation.  Daily we see the reality of what is really going on with youth.  The pull of the culture on them is overwhelming.  As a parent, it is daunting as well.  Over time, it is easy to become numb to the mountain of statistics in front of us that make things seem almost hopeless.

 Nearly 2 million juveniles are arrested each year
(13.9% of the total juvenile population). 

 70-80% of those will be rearrested within 3 years.

 1.6 million 16 – 19 year olds are not in school or working.

So with 36,000 juveniles arrested every week, what should be our response as individuals, as families, as communities?  What is your response?

The goal for the PAYH is to make that number zero!  Seems impossible almost even to say, but all enormous tasks start that way.  I like how Nelson Mandela described tasks of enormity when he said; “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

If we want to see change in our communities, our families, our children, then it has to start with one.  No parent wants there child to be a statistic.  But unless we act together, our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are increasingly at risk.  It is not always “someone else” who is facing the challenges of raising a child in this current culture.  We all are.  There is no way to make that number zero if we don’t first invest in the one life, one family, and one community that is before us.  Investing in others is not solely financial.  It is allocating your time and talent, all of which, requires action!

As staff here at the PAYH, we know that the first step in accomplishing this goal is to show up every day and give our best.  It won’t be perfect.  It is at times very messy.  But all change takes time and never goes smoothly.  If you are like us and believe that number should be zero, then we encourage you to take action with us as we start with your one. Together, we can impact one life, one family and one community at a time.  Remember, change starts with one!

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