We had the privilege of graduating eleven men in the fourth class of Inside Out Dads in Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. Though this curriculum is not labeled as “Christian” due to the nature of the content, we have ample opportunity to share Christ and Biblical values. A lot of what we talk about is what it means to be a man in our gender-confused culture.
We start by going back and addressing what they experienced as a child. I hear many stories like, “When I was three, my dad left for cigarettes and lottery tickets. I didn’t see him again until I was grown, and he only returned for money to get another fix.” Some men have also stated they came from a good home and share stories like, “When I got caught shoplifting, my dad took me back to the store to apologize and reimburse what I stole, and I never stole again.”
Communication with their children is anywhere from “I talk with my kids every day” to “I haven’t had any contact with them in years.”
A big question we address is, “How can I break the cycle, not only the cycle of incarceration, but the cycle of abuse, and lack of fathers in the home.” We conclude that if we are not intentional, we will become just like our fathers.
In our last session, the question is, how have I changed due to this program? These are some of the answers I’ve received:
- I want to work on trust.
- Communicate with children about their future.
- Ask about their likes and dislikes.
- Recognizing that my actions have produced consequences.
- Desire to communicate in a healthy way with my children’s mom.
- Be empathetic (it’s not all about me)
- I realize how much I, as a father, have to do with my child’s self-worth.
- Stay away from bad labels.
Thank you to everyone for your prayers and financial support to allow me to continue taking the gospel into prison this way.
—Jim Swartzentruber, InsideOut Dad Teacher