In our family, Valentine's Day is not so much about romantic love as it is about love in general. We have always made it a fun holiday with special food and decorations and goofy, cheap gifts. It is also a great time in the middle of winter to do something fun. It's really a time for us to embrace the power of love in our lives. But even as I am grateful for the love of my family, I am acutely aware that not all people have this foundation.
I am part of the Class of 2016 Leadership Upper Valley. Once a month we meet for an entire day to discuss topics pertinent to our area like the arts, education or economy. In February, it was Justice Day. We spend the day literally locked up in the Springfield Vermont Correctional Facility. At the end of the day, three inmates, all due to be released fairly soon, spoke to us about their situations. One was a sexual offender, one a drug dealer and one
an arsonist. A common theme came to mind as they spoke: they had all sought love in all the wrong places, as the song goes. Why would they have to seek it out? Well, perhaps it was not embedded in their lives in the way many of us experience.
Here at TLC Family Resource Center we help parents learn how to embed love in their children's lives. The parents themselves may not have had that lov
e. That's why they need help in breaking the cycles that were placed down to them. It may be seem trite or maudlin to speak of love but it is the basic, the initial and powerful building block that makes all the difference.
Love is complicated and difficult. But lack of love is even more com
plicated and difficult...and VERY expensive. One of the statistics given to us at the prison was this: It costs the State of Vermont over $58,000 each year to hous
e an inmate.