Friday, September 4, 2009

One for The Books - How a Young Man Beat the Odds and Built a New Life for Himself

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done it's always your choice."~ Wayne dyer

Dwayne Betts grew up in Suitland, Md, a mildly rough suburb of Washington DC, where for several of his teen years he walked the fine line between a honest life and one of crime – although he was a promising student, he hung around with the wrong crowd, experimented with light drugs even if he never sold them, rode in stolen cars but didn't steal them himself until a fateful night in 1996, when in a “moment of insanity”, as he calls it, he made the wrong decision and carjacked a man outside a mall.

He admitted his guilt, was charged as an adult and sentenced to nine years behind bars. He spent his time in prison reading everything he could put his hands on, and once he finished serving his sentence, he attended college, and earned a bachelor degree from the University of Maryland. He also started a reading club for young men and wrote a 237-page memoir entitled “A Question of Freedom”. His mission is to create reading programs for young inmates, hoping that the power of the written word will touch their lives as much as it touched his.

Dwayne Betts is seen as an inspiration for trouble youths, but on a larger scale he can be considered a role model for most of us. Regardless of individual circumstances, most of us have made poor choices at one time or another and engaged in acts we have regretted dearly, but few have actually used those consequences to better themselves.

Whenever reactions catch up with actions, we have one choice to make – we can allow past transgressions to get the best of us by knocking down our spirit and let us roll in a puddle of self-pity and guilt, or we can take stock of reality, and use the tools we have available to us to rise against all odds.

Dwayne Betts could have chosen to beat himself up for the poor choices he made - and could have continued to wallow in the pain he had inflicted on those who loved him and suffered because of his actions - but if he had done so he would be just another statistic, a repeat offender who can’t move from the stump because he doesn’t believe he has other options.

Instead, he never felt cornered because he saw his escape in books. He accepted he had done wrong, paid his price and found the silver lining in the cloud; now he is enjoying the rewards of his inner strength.

All situations, no matter how negative they appear, can be turned into positives – all it takes is to make a conscious choice to not be defeated.

1 comment:

CUZ said...

Life is a choice. You must decide what you can live with and what you carry until you die then die with it.

It is not luck that decides the future but right choices.