Two individuals were chosen for the “2020 International Men’s Day Interview” -- Michael and Percy. Both young men are 19 years old and are experiencing incarceration for the first time. They provide us with a glimpse into who they are and what they want to achieve. This is their story.
CARRY: I gave the both of you the Six Objectives of International Men’s Day a couple of days ago. So, if I ask you a question about these objectives, both of you shouldn’t have an issue with answering it. Correct?
MICHAEL: Nods affirmatively.
PERCY: Nods affirmatively.
CARRY: This is a real interview. Uncut and raw. And the reason I chose the both of you for this interview is because the both of you have a gift that many in here don’t have. Yet, the both of you have been running around here recklessly like this is a place for play. Can you share with me what is going on with you both?
PERCY: Well, there is not much to do in here.
CARRY: Poor excuse. You could always go to the library and get some books. Do you have your G.E.D.?
CARRY: See, this is what I’m talking about. You should be working on obtaining your G.E.D. You need to go to the library and take out some G.E.D. books and start studying. You’re working on a few things I noticed. You’re very gifted at drawing. What are your plans upon your release?”
PERCY: I would like to work for a comic book company drawing superheroes. Like the Black Panther character.
CARRY: That’s cool. But you will not get hired if you don’t have your G.E.D., college degree or some training in that field. This is what you don’t understand.
PERCY: I didn’t know that. But I’m gonna get my G.E.D. when I get out.
CARRY: I don’t think you get it. Why wait until you are released to get your G.E.D.? You have a few more years here, three to be correct, and during this time you can obtain your G.E.D. while perfecting your craft. You have your priorities out of order. And you’re playing game with your gift and your life. It’s time to get serious.
PERCY: My mother was saying the same thing a few days ago. I told her that I’m not gonna disappoint her.
CARRY: So, the process of obtaining your G.E.D. begins today You can’t keep running around here, acting like life is a game. You need to straighten up and walk and think with a purpose. I asked each of you to write a letter to your mother in regard to atoning for what you’ve done that brought you to this place. I did the same thing years ago, so you are not the only one. So, can you share a little about what you wrote?”
PERCY: The first thing I said is that I apologize for disrespecting her and I will do my best to be a better son. I told her that I will go to school to get my G.E.D. and then go on to a community college and I said that I love her dearly.
CARRY: That is a start. Very good! I want you to really get your G.E.D. Even though many places are closed due to COVID-19, there are online classes. So there are no excuses. So, what is one of the Six Objectives of International Men’s Day?
PERCY: To create a safer, better world where all people . . .
CARRY: . . . Can grow and reach their full potential. You’ll get it You did a good job. Well, let me talk to Michael. Thanks again.
PERCY: Thank you for always encouraging me and guiding me.
CARRY: You’re welcome.
Michael sits down.
CARRY: Michael, what’s going on with you?
MICHAEL: I was waiting for you.
CARRY: Thanks for being patient. I want to start with the Six Objectives of International Men’s Day. Do you know them by heart? Don’t say that you do and you don’t.
MICHAEL: I don’t know them word for word. But I can break them down in my own way.
CARRY: There is nothing wrong with that. I want you to familiarize yourself with those objectives and share them with your family – share that information.
MICHAEL: I got you.
CARRY: I understand that you have less than ninety days to go home. What are your plans?
MICHAEL: Remember I showed you the designs for jackets and shirts I was doing before I got locked up? I’m going to put some of my materials on the Internet and look for some sponsors.
CARRY: You have great ideas and I can see what you’re doing is going to be big. The most important thing is to take your time and work on yourself and know that there will be obstacles, but don’t’ give up. Just keep pushing forward.
MICHAEL: I will. I have some other ideas that I’m working on. So hopefully, everything will work out.
CARRY: You cannot afford to go home and do the same thing. You will definitely crush your mother’s heart. You have to respect your mother and her rules, especially when you’re living at home. Trust me, the one thing that we have failed at is not listening to our mothers. They know us better than we know ourselves.
MICHAEL: I admit that was my issue. I didn’t want to listen and now I know I hurt my family. My mother was crying when she came to visit me and I felt bad. I still feel bad.
CARRY: It made you a believer, right?
MICHAEL: It sure did.
CARRY: I don’t’ want you to throw away your talents. Give yourself the chance to do good. Do not, listen to me, allow the trappings of life to distract you from the meaning of life
MICHAEL: I am learning that now. I was wrong for believing that nobody cared about me.
CARRY: Caring Is not just through words., but through one’s actions I know your mother cares. Your family cares about you. But most likely you ignored them and believed you had it made. And you surely were wrong. I want you to now that I care and I want to see you make a difference. Do something great with your life.
MICHAEL: I will do the right thing. I don’t like being in here and I don’t like this pain and what I put my family through.
CARRY: That’s right. Take this as a learning lesson.
MICHAEL: I am! I never had this kind of talk before in here. And I appreciate you. Talking to you has helped me a lot.
CARRY: We all need this from time to time, especially today with so much going on. Keep your head held high and stay focused. Please, put those objectives of International Men’s Day into service. I will assist you if you need my assistance.
MICHAEL: Thank you again.
CARRY: Take care of yourself. And I didn’t forget. I want to read the Letter of Atonement that you wrote to your mother.
MICHAEL: I got you.