#102 Prison communications pt 7 (retro)

March 19, 2010 at 3:48 am Leave a comment

Prison 101: Communications pt 7

Ok, now let’s talk about sharing positive communications with a loved one in prison.

(this ought to be easy)

Before we continue, be sure to refresh yourself on what we are trying to discuss here, and if you are catching this discussion on the 7th entry, you really need to drop back and read the previous 6 parts.

Also, email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask about how to support my writings or to ask about my products, or even just to say hello.

Now, we are talking about how to communicate with a loved one in prison. As I said before, the novice thinking has been too simplistic, where we just think it’s just sending a letter or card, accepting a collect phone call or going to visit them on visitation. But as you hopefully are finding out, it is a lot more complex than that. There is a mentality, a belief and a train of thought that you have to focus on if you are going to get the most out of these forms of communication.

Obviously the hardest thing to do is share negative info with a loved one in prison, and sometimes it has to be done. Lots of times we have neutral info, which does not affect the person directly one way or the other. But there are also times that you have good news, information that WILL adversely impact that person in prison, in a positive way.

Some examples might include finding out that your loved one’s case is being reviewed because of new evidence, telling your loved one that you got a lawyer that may be able to help him, or telling him that the gain time or jail credit he was trying to get was awarded.

You notice that generally focuses on his incarceration, but good news includes many other things too. You might get a great job and thus in a better position to send him a few more dollars for canteen. This tells us that good news also includes realms of finance.

Good news can also include preparation for the future. If you found a good job for your loved one BEFORE he gets out, this can be very good news because he no longer has to worry about finding a job. It can take a LOT of stress out of him.

Good news can also be a reversal of bad news. An inmate’s mom getting very sick is indeed bad news, but her recovery is VERY good news. You telling your loved one that you can’t make the visit can be bad news, but to find the resources to be able to make that trip after all can be good news.

Good news can also involve family events. An inmate’s daughter making great grades is a good thing. Some of you might argue that this could be considered neutral, because it may not directly affect that inmate. I disagree, because it is his DAUGHTER, and thus IS important to him. The positive progress of immediate family members that the inmate cares about is indeed GOOD news.

And why is all this important? Because good news to an inmate gives him or her a reason to hope. It gives them the reassurance that the world isn’t falling apart outside those prison walls. It gives them hope that things can get better. The good news you share gives him a chance to believe that the future isn’t as dim as it might appear. For example, that inmate’s family member recovering from illness gives him or her hope that they may be able to see them again soon. You getting a better job gives him hope that you can take care of your financial issues better, and maybe have a little for him if he needs it.

You finding him help in his case means that maybe he does not have to do all the time in prison, maybe there is a way he can get out sooner. You telling him that his son just graduated from high school gives him hope that his family is doing fine. He can sleep much better believing that YOU will be ok, and his family.

These are just some of the many forms of good news, but one has to wonder, why don’t we hear more about this? I mean, when you go to those prison support sites, about 99% of what you hear is negative news. Why is there so few sharing GOOD news? Is it because it does not exist?

Not at all.

It’s because we are conditioned to NOT look for it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to IGNORE bad news or the negatives with a loved one in prison. You can’t ignore it because it is real. But the reason why good news is so rare is because most people are focused only on the bad news and the fear of the unknown.

See, sharing good news is easy, we all want to do that, but we can’t get there until we understand how to keep from sharing negative news. We have to figure out how to change our form of communications so that we are in a better position to share GOOD news.

There is a scripture that goes “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. What this means is that we eventually will speak what we truly believe, whether good or bad. See, we can fool ourselves and others around us to communicate in a hallow but positive way, and that is fine because it is better than talking negative all the time.

But if you have not resolved deep inside of you how you really feel, and how to counter any negative feelings, it will continue to grow until it eventually comes out your mouth. Example:

You can have a loved one in prison and each time you visit or chat with him on the phone, you can say positive things and try to keep him encouraged…I mean, that is what I keep saying for you to do, right?

But what if deep down you feel like this:

“Oh Lord I am so worried, I just don’t know what to do. I am so scared, I don’t understand how I am going to get through this. He does not know how much sleep I lose at night, and how many times I cry every time I think about him.”

You have two conflicting beliefs. Your mouth says positive, but your HEART says negative. And if you don’t fix that in your heart, it will eventually take over and be what you speak about. If you don’t find a way to fight those negative feelings in your heart, it will grow in abundance and start to become what you speak.

What if right now while typing this blog to you, I put in one of those frozen pizzas in my oven for about 10 minutes. If I am here typing and after about 12 minutes I realize I need to get that pizza out of there…but reasoned that what I am writing to you is more important than that cheap 99 cents pizza?

After about 15 minutes I can smell that it is past done…and I NEED to get it out of there, but I don’t want to lose my train of thought in sharing a blog with you. I got lots to say, and don’t want to lose that thought. But after 20 minutes there is smoke in that oven and if I don’t deal with it soon, it could be a fire. Even though what I share with you is important, it isn’t as important as that problem I have, that could have been dealt with long ago, but now is a bigger problem than before.

That sounds stupid, but isn’t that in a way how it works with our forms of communication? Lots of us are being positive with a loved one in prison, but deep inside we have some major problems, some of which completely are the opposite of what we say.

“But isn’t faith speaking about the things we want to happen and not accepting the things that are negative?”

Well yeah, but the Good Lord also gave us common sense too. I would be an idiot to think that I should ignore things that can easily get out of hand. If I put a pizza in the oven for 10 minutes, I am going to take that pizza out as soon as it is ready, and that means pausing from writing for a couple of minutes, that is fine. I would have dealt with that situation so I am in a better frame of mind to deal with writing.

Same with many of you. There is nothing wrong in speaking in faith, talking positive with a loved one in prison. But if you KNOW your heart bothers you, you have to work on dealing with that too. I mean, after all, faith without works is dead. To get to the place where you can find the GOOD news to share, you have to be able to fight the negative issues that come with a loved one being in prison.

And don’t misunderstand me, this does not mean you will have NO problems, it just means you have more strength to deal with it. Some people get all bent out of shape when they don’t hear from their loved one, or if they get sent to the hole, or get shipped to another prison. Folks, this is far more common than you know, I have been through all that myself.

But get this, if you cannot get through the negative situations, you can’t see the good news that could be just out of your eyesight. For example, if you are too busy worrying about your loved one because you feel he was done injustice, you may never find the strength to start looking for legal venues to help him. If you are too stressed out about your loved one in prison, you may never be in a positive mood to get a better job to help both of you out.

Lots of times good news as in offspring of being in a more positive mood. I didn’t say a HAPPY mood, because it is hard to be happy if your loved one is in prison. But being in a positive mood puts you in a better position to see and obtain good tidings. This is why it is so important to stay encouraged and to encourage your loved one. It keeps you focused on something better, rather than fearing the worst. And that is what most people do, they are fearing more bad news. Be careful what you wish for….you might get it.

So to be able to communicate the good news, you have to position yourself to be able to obtain it. If you are losing sleep and crying all the time, you’re gonna have a hard time finding good news to share with your loved one in prison. And sometimes, those pieces of good news can actually happen around you, and if you are too busy being stressed, you’ll miss it completely.

Or, some will share that good news, but also bookend it with negative news. It’s like they can’t live unless they let you know how miserable they are doing. Something like:

“Well son, I finally got that job across town, and it pays a lot better so I can take care of my bills. I hope to be able to send you some more money soon. I still feel so down at times, and I wish you were home. Last night I felt so stressed that I got a migraine headache, but I will be ok. I have to try to get more sleep before my first day, but it has been hard worrying about you in there. Sometimes I sleep for 4 hours and get up all worried. Anyway, I hope you are doing ok. I love you son”

What kinda communication is this mom giving?

It SEEMS like good news, but in actuality it isn’t. Sure, she got a good job, but her health is far more important. I mean, if her health declines, then she’s not likely going to keep that job, is she? If it were me, I would be mildly happy for her, but more stressed because I am the cause of her misery. In actuality, this isn’t good news at all.

You have to be mindful that if you are going to share good news, share GOOD NEWS. Don’t dilute it with negatives. And if you do feel negatives deep down, go deal with it. Fight it. Read some scriptures to change that feeling to one of hope. Call a minister and talk to them. Read some faith books, read some blogs on prison, do what you can to counter that, because you have to change that negative feeling of worry and stress in your heart to one of hope. If you can, you then will be much more empowered to believe what you say.

Lots of times sharing good news is conditional to you being in the right frame of mind. And to be in the right frame of mind, your heart must also be in the right frame. If those are aligned, then the mouth will speak what you believe. The whole idea of communications is based on what you believe, and what you hope. If you believe and hope in a better future then that is what you speak. If you believe in fear, then that is what you will speak.

So work on that, work on being positive and to also address your deep feelings. If you don’t “feel” positive, address that. But remember that faith isn’t about what you “feel”, it is what you believe. You can feel down, but that does not change the fact that if you believe something it will happen. You just have to get them both in line.

Ok, that covers our talk on communicating positive information. Like I said, this one is easier to talk about, but to get there you have to be in the right frame of mind (and heart).

Next time we’re gonna talk about communication by inmates. We’re going to talk about how guys in prison talk to one another, and why this is important. Until then, email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com or make a nice comment. Gotta jet….

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#101 Prison 101 Communications, pt4 (retro) #103 Preparing for him after prison (retro)

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