Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Aaniin!! Here we are on the topic of Rezidivism talking about role modeling. It’s a topic that gets mentioned but under delivered. It is greatly impactful to the point that it is the greatest contributor to how we interacted as kids and now adults. Role modeling shaped our whole lives. It still forges them today as I make improvements on myself. I turn to a trusted advisor, friend or knowledgeable person. I think of the guys that I recall from growing up. When I described them I usually get told that person went to prison, that person used drugs/drunk/violent and the list goes on. in reality, my role models did have criminal records, did use drugs and so on. Their viewpoints shaped my perception of the world not all of it was good. I’ve been to prison just like my role models, used drugs, violent, womanizing, foul language and absent of my identity, just like my role models. They weren’t all bad. I really Do care for them. They are relatives, friends and quite often just another member of the community. We really don’t know the extent of our influence but look back on your life and examine who influenced you. Family? Friend? Acquaintance? TV? My role models were other rez boys trying to survive Rez life. The main tool for intervention was jail and prison. Still heavily used today as the default for intervening in ones troubled life. And with the sense of survival applied to serving time in prison, it comes with a new look on coming of age milestones. Anishinaabe would put boys out to fast when puberty was in effect. The disruption of this practice during the late 1800’s through today has now made room for other achievements to be placed on identity. The boys then would see that the men and boys older then them would have fasted, role modeling the growth thus making it a very sought after goal to fast. Today, we go to prison. My first time in prison I felt a sense of achievement, some pride when I finally heard those bars slam shut. There I was in a cell where I can touch both side walls, and I felt prideful sense of accomplishment, of growth, upgraded to the next level. At the time it wasn’t all I had. I had a daughter, family, friends and so on. But nothing mattered because I believed that I was unworthy of it all anyway. My largest worth was hearing those bars slam shut signifying my passage into manhood just like how my role models said it’ll be.
As I seek out my path, I now know that it is meant to be different. My sons are not meant to experience that. I see that what I do today not only affects the present but the future as well. It lays the foundation for how my boys perceive this world. And my influence does not end there. EVERY single interaction I have with a boy, girl, adult, kid sets a filter on many levels of consciousness and the subconscious. Is our role modeling going to say that all men need to go to prison? Need to beat women? Be absent from the life of his children? Or does it change the narrative?
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