Weekly Journal – Parenting
I’m sure I have already made this abundantly clear, but the worst part of prison is being separated from my family. I always knew I wanted to be a dad, and losing a big chunk of time to be an in-person parent and seeing that impact on my kids, is devastating. I blame myself for everything that goes wrong and every set back because I’m not there. And while I can some day make up for missed things like traveling or getting my favorite pizza, I can never get back this lost time with my children.
That all being said, I’m trying not to dwell on it. I’m trying to find ways to make a positive impact on my children from here, maintain that relationship, and plan for the future. I have taken the BOP’s parenting class and read a book on parenting in my independent study psychology class. As I mentioned I’m also writing a book with activities I have done so hopefully other incarcerated parents can get ideas to engage their kids. I plan on putting templates and detailed examples in that, and I thought for this entry I would briefly outline some of those ideas so that if anyone reads this they can share or use them.
1) Write Stories – I wrote a series of stories where the main characters were a unicorn and a dragon (named after my kids) who went on a series of adventures. I wrote a short chapter each day and either read it to them on the phone or emailed it to them. I tried to have the stories have some kind of moral or deal with an issue my kids might face like bullying or peer pressure. As an alternative, if you aren’t creative, you could just have a book or photocopies of a book mailed in and just read it with your kids on the phone. If you are really ambitious, you could try a choose your own adventure chapter. I also send home news articles about inspiring stories from around the world. We read them together and then find the country they are from on a world map.
2) Drawings – I can’t draw, but the county jail printed out pictures