Friday, September 4, 2009

Mr. Paterson on Setting 'Em Straight

"Young people are much more aggressive toward a problem than we were. A lot of young kids are drugged out and they got a problem from something else and they snap at you. In my shop, I get all kinds, some of the roughest there is. But, what I do, I’m going say something to put a cap on him. When I say cap, I mean I am going to express concern for him just as I do about myself.

"Most of the time, I say something to kids who come with their pants down…I’m totally against it. I talk about it, but I’m going to do it in a proper way so he doesn’t get angry with me. I’m going to say, 'Hey young man, why don’t you pull your pants up? That don’t look right.' And I do it with a smile. I don’t want to make him angry because he probably already has a problem. So, I want to let this guy know that I’m not an enemy to you, I’m a friend. If I’m going to say something to you, it’s going to be of benefit to you.

"I’ve got em in here and say, 'Hey young man, you got a minute? Can I say something to you?' Then, I sit 'em down and show him a picture of himself….maybe he hasn’t seen it in a while. Life is too easy for you to want to take that route. What about yourself? Don’t you care about yourself man? I also go far enough to tell them if you don’t think that you have a better life than what you’re doing with your life I’ll take you up to one of the hospitals. These people would be glad to any of your parts…your arm, your leg, those kidneys, that liver, and here you are bruising that stuff. Come on, stop what you’re doing! These people would pay a million dollars to have a good kidney like yours, a good liver like yours, good legs like you got. Your eyes that can see and you want to destroy it.

"I’ll break that down to them…something like that. Some of them walk out the door and keep on and some of them come back and say they’ve changed their life and I’ll try and help them get a little job. Quite a few of them, I would say a hundred or better. I would imagine that’s part of the reason I’ve never had any trouble…except for one robbery."

To get involved with youth in DC, contact the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington

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